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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Extreme Racing

 

Publisher

Acclaim

 

Developer

Acclaim Studioís Cheltenham

 

ESRB

Teen (T)

 

Released

Q3 2003  

 

 

- Excellent track design

- Good weapon variation

- Nice weather effects

- Multiplayer

- Slick Presentation

 

 

- Irritating auto targeting system

- Annoying character voices

- Multiple objective races

- Horrible soundtrack

- Not much to go back for

 

 

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XGRA

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

With the recent release of F-Zero X on the Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 2 owners were left in the dark when it came to extreme racing titles. XGRA (Extreme G Racing Association) certainly doesnít have a lot of games to compete against. The most notable game that comes to mind is BAMís Wipeout Fusion, which still rules as the king of extreme racing titles on the Playstation 2. 

 

xgra ps2 review          xgra ps2 review

 

XGRA takes place in the near future at a time when Extreme G Racing has become an international craze. A sports network, SiNN (Sports Interactive News Network) has been created to cover the events, and its with this style that XGR is presented -- complete with commentators.

 

XGRA offers new types of game play enhancements not seen in many other games. In most racing games the goal is to always win. XGRA offers a twist, as there are now multiple objectives in some races. You have primary and secondary goals. Winning the race is always the primary goal, while you secondary goals involve destroying opponents. This brings me to my first problem with the game. Destroying enemies can be extremely difficult and frustrating. To add insult to injury itís even more difficult when trying to get first. Itís certainly nice to see XGRA presenting a challenge, but this addition does more harm than good.

 

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The track designs, modeled after real world locations, concentrate on providing you opportunity for speed, but still include plenty of extras like loops and shortcuts.

 

The weapons and combat upgrades are a major plus in the game play department. Your vehicle is equipped with an unlimted-ammo machine gun with a targeting system that doesn't always work.  Often during the races youíll have multiple opponents in front of you at one time and your target system constantly 

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switches back and fourth between opponents, which makes it extremely difficult to keep focused on one person. The targeting system becomes an even bigger pain when there is an opponent directly in front of you: the auto targeting will not lock onto them. Thankfully the AI plays fair for the most part. There are other types of weapons in the form of pickups, including invincible shields, vampires (kind of a tractor beam), accelerators, and mineís.

 

xgra ps2 review          xgra ps2 review

 

There are three modes of play, which include Season 2080 (career mode), Arcade Mode, and a Time Trial.

 

The Season 2080 mode is where most of the game lies. At the beginning of the mode you choose a bike and do different races. Winning races will reward you with new bikes and more races in the career mode. Itís disappointing not to see a bike shop or money system implemented in the game. It certainly would be a lot nicer to choose the type of bike you would like to purchase, rather than having the computer give you one. At least you have the ability to customize and alter your ride. The arcade mode includes single races and multiplayer races as well. XGRA supports up to two players split screen. Multiplayer is one of XGRAís strengths. The multiplayer is a blast to play with a friend. Itís made even better by the fact that you are also racing against computer opponents. 

 

The graphics are slick and the lighting effects are excellent. The frame rate is pushed to the limit with minimal slow down. The details on the background, especially in the cities look excellent. The weather effects added to some courses are nicely done and add icing on the cake for already great looking courses.

 

The sound is where the game really suffers. There are only two types of music you can listen to during the game. These include Rock and Techno. Both are horrible, and to make matterís worse they brag about the different soundtracks you can listen to on the back of the game cover. The character voices and taunts are annoying and lame. On a plus side the SiNN talents do an excellent job, but too bad you donít hear them during the races, instead of the lame music.

 

XGRA is a hard game to recommend to everyone, but those who are fans of extreme racing games should give XGRA a shot but Wipeout Fusion still remains the leader of extreme racing games on the Playstation 2.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(November 2, 2003)

 

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