Extreme G3 Review
Having rarely gotten a chance to play the first two original Extreme G games, I always thought of them as mind-blowing games. That thought of course being directed to the sickening speed that those motos can go up to! I admit it, I'm a speed freak, and I admit it as soon as I see a wide-open road I'll put the pedal to the medal. I love the 'G' what else can I say? This is sometimes why I question my favorite genre; is it RPG or Racing? Deep down inside I feel that my devilish side gets the best of me and I'd have to call Racing as my favorite genre, but then again I am an RPG freak, so I guess it's a question I'll never be able to answer. Just this past July came the granddaddy of all racing games, Gran Turismo 3. It wowed millions who purchased it, and the dozens of critics whom hailed it as one of the finest examples of gaming. Now it seems almost doubtful that another racing game will be able to re-create the fame and glamour that Sony's super-sim racer did. While to this day it remains to be so, how about we don't overlook what is easily the second to best racing title of the year so far. Extreme G returns with a vengeance on the PS2, and after having completed the game numerous amount of times, I bare nothing but the truth, the warm, fuzzy, honest truth...this game "rulez!"
I remember seeing XG3 initially earlier in the year and being thoroughly impressed with the eye-candy, but the final product is everything that and then some. I honestly don't know where to start first; background detail, special effects or bike detail. Let me start off with the big and work my way down. In XG3 the gamer is given a total of ten enormously detailed courses --which must be accumulated through the career mode--, but the vast size doesn't come from the road, not necessarily. Instead the detail is shown in the backgrounds, which are every bit as immense as you could imagine. Individually designed buildings and various other structures omit any redundancy in the backgrounds of every single stage. You'd better believe that fellow gamers. The stages are detailed with the up most attention to detail. The visuals displayed in XG3 are surely of next-gen status, bar none! I suggest you take a look at the eye-candy screens. Notice the pop-up free game engine, as well the amazing backgrounds.
In addition to creating some of the most attractive backgrounds in a videogame to date, XG3's bike detail flourishes. Spots of cleverly placed chroming are noticeable when taking a look at the pretty replays. The bikes themselves are made up of many polygons and look fabulous. Everything is smooth, free of jaggies and is a prime example of how many PS2 games should look like in their second generation. The bikes move fluidly, thanks to the constant 60 frames per second engine that Acclaim has boldly implemented, and when I say 'constant' I mean it. Because of the frame rate, Acclaim's title has been set up for an even sicker sense of speed feeling, which is a "huge" plus in my book and makes the game even more enjoyable. Throughout the ten courses, half of them feature some splendid weather effects such as rain and snow. The rain looks absolutely stunning, and incredibly realistic. It hits the screen and creates a 'water ring' effect that you typically see when driving (real life) in rain. What helps define the sense of speed even further in XG3 is the 'sonic boom whoosh' effect that occurs as soon as you reach the 740 MPH mark and laugh at the sound barrier. The awesome effect faints the sounds in the background, and emits a "whoosh" noise, as you see the side of your screen blur to create a sensation that everything around you is indeed nothing but that for a moment. What I have just spoken of is the definition of an adrenaline rush. This game did in fact give me one and will do so for everyone else who purchases this game.
As you can pre-maturely tell, this game is awesome, especially because of the visuals and the sense of speed. XG3 is one of those few games where visuals do matter in the overall quality of the game. The title features a good amount of replay, most of which comes from the game's addictive factor. Because of the sense of speed, this game is like sweet, sweet candy and I can't get enough of it! The modes include, Season, Time-Trial, Arcade, and XG Mall (shop weapons and engines), all of which are found within the Career mode. In addition the game features an incredibly fun two-player mode, where two XG bikes can go head to head. The bikes that can be used are allowed to be loaded off the memory card, so if you have an upgraded bike, go ahead and use it against your opponent. Earning money comes from winning races in the Season mode, by finishing anywhere within the required qualifying position. As you progress though the season the qualifying position will be lowered, so you'll see it go from 7 to 5, to 3 and then to 1. Each series of races features 3 stages that must be raced, each course has its various routes, few of which are shortcuts, but the course designs in general are like your wildest imagination of the sickest roller coaster possible. Loops, sudden death drops, jumps, smooth curves, figure 8s, and straightway are responsible for creating that adrenaline rush, especially the loops, straightways and drops.
I don't know if I could stress the adrenaline factor enough; this game is just that amazing! Granted, it's not perfect; but it comes close. The selection of weapons, upgrades, and accessories is pretty vast; you've got everything from heat seeking missiles, to rockets, to proximity mines, to mini-guns, to rear blasters, and etc. When you select an accessory, you will see that accessory to the rear or side of your bike. There are a total of 12 bikes, spread through 6 teams; each bike is capable of reaching speeds of up to 800 MPH, thanks to the turbo boosts. The tracks in XG3 range from a 22nd century city, to a desert, to a rain forest, to an ocean, to a canyon, to an arctic background and more. I honestly don't know how much longer I can go on; Extreme G3's gameplay is priceless. This game mixes combat with furiously addictive speeds, and track design that leaves nothing to the imagination. My one and only complaint, there should've been a 4-player mode.
For quite some time, the PS2's library of titles has featured excellent soundtracks; whether they were launch titles such as Ridge Racer V, Tekken Tag, Midnight Club, Sky Odyssey, SSX, FIFA 2001, or later titles such as Gran Turismo 3, ESPN X-Games Skateboarding, and so on. Soundtracks in today's titles have never been better, and in many games that particular field seems to be of very strong attention. Acclaim has definitely raised the bar with their racing title. The futuristic ambiance is well represented by the amazing techno soundtrack, which was done by the UK's 'Ministry of Sound.' The tracks total 5, and fit well in with the intense action. Make no mistake about it, the soundtrack does not mute out the accelerating sounds of the engine whining as you hit that turbo button. It's a feeling that will leave you in awe. Acclaim has also wisely implemented Dolby Surround Sound support for those with an audio set-up, and if in fact you have a set up in your room, I highly recommend using it. Overall, great sound!
Controlling XG3 is no problem, but it's not cake either. Yes, XG3 is all about speed, but moving solely on a straight pathway is quite redundant and leaves a lot to be desired in a game. Thankfully XG3 does have its share of turns, not quite 90-degree sudden turns, but don't get cocky because going 600MPH you are bound to hit a wall sooner or later. To assist your turning, there are air-brakes (air-brake right or left), which decrease your speed slightly but help you tremendously in accomplishing a turn. Both of the analog sticks work masterfully with the game, everything is in synch with everything else, which makes the game that much more enjoyable. For those who always love to fiddle around with their control setups (such as I) there is an option that allows you to customize the layout to your preference. No problems with the controls, as everything is very simple and extremely comfortable.
In the end, as you can see I couldn't stop boasting about Extreme G3 at all, and as you can also see this game left me completely in awe. Everything about this game got to me; the visuals, the sense of speed, the addictive gameplay, the replay value (which is contributed to by the sense of speed) and the absolutely fantastic sound. Extreme G3 is one of the MUST own games of 2001. If you're in the market for an accelerating game that is bound to rush your adrenaline, go get XG3! You won't regret it. If you're looking for a great game in general, you owe it to yourself to get Extreme G3. This game is like no other racer I've played. I highly recommend this as a purchase to every PS2 owner out there. Racing titles such as XG3 don't come along much; remember that.
9/12/2001 Arnold Katayev