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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

THQ

 

Developer

2XL Games

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

September 22, 2008

 

 

- Plentiful Vehicles
- Lengthy Races
- Vehicle Debris

 

 

- No Motorcycles
- Drab Graphics
- Frustrating Controls

 

 

Review: Pure (360)

Review: DiRT (360)

Review: Forza MotorSport 2 (360)

 

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Baja: The Edge of Control

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

As tempting as it would be to simply state that Baja: Edge of Control is a racing game you’ve seen, heard, and probably played dozens of times in the past and call it a day, it wouldn’t be fair to you readers, my employers, or the game itself, which isn’t all that bad.

 

baja edge of control         baja edge of control


Developed by THQ, Baja: Edge of Control is a racing game (in case you didn’t grasp that the first time) centered around the Baja 1000 off-road races in Mexico, featuring four wheeled vehicles and motorcycles competing across various dirt-laden mountains, beaches and hills. The Xbox 360 adaption features similar locations and four wheelers, but inexplicably leaves out the motorcycles.


As disappointing as that omission may prove for fans of two wheelers and unrealistic ragdoll physics, Baja still offers plenty of the alternative with its list of

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licensed trucks, VWs and 4x4s, with Mini Rails and Trophy Carts as bonus class vehicles that require unlocking through successful racing.


It remains up to the diehard fan if these varieties in vehicles make any difference, however, since they all pretty much control the same given the hazardous circumstances. Baja is an off-road racing game, after all, which

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means driving across roads formed with rain-slick dirt and mud. If the idea of steering a two ton vehicle across such slippery terrain appeals to you, then rejoice as Edge of Control replicates this challenge to the best of my judgment.


Players might as well get their challenge from the controls, because they won’t find it in the AI racers, which pretty much keep to themselves no matter how much ramming or ‘taunting’ (honking the horn) you inflict on them. If nothing else, they serve as traffic hazards, as they also tend to veer off the road and flip over due to the slippery road; Should you find yourself flying off the track during a race (and you will), pressing both LB and RB on the 360 controller will instantly zap you back on the road, though the delay will usually put you in last place.


Fortunately, races are quite lengthy, with long winding roads and each Circuit Race lasting 5 laps, which should give players a good chance to catch up and gun it for the finish line. Aside from Circuit Race, there’s also Rally Race, Baja Mode, Multiplayer over LAN and Xbox Live, and Career Mode, which lets you purchase parts for your vehicle of choice, or just buy a brand new vehicle with the money accumulated from races. You can also earn some extra money by decorating your car with sponsor stickers, but should the labels vanish as a result of vehicle damage, the company won’t pay you for that race.

 

baja edge of control          baja edge of control

 

On the visual side, Baja features a dazzling palette of brown, light brown, and some samples of green and blue for good measure. Limited colors aside, the vehicles animated well enough, especially when car doors, loose tires and other debris scatter and fly across the race track, but the barren locations leave little room for graphical variety; Here and there you’ll catch some moving trains, rollercoasters, and sunny beaches in the distance, but ultimately there’s nothing that stands out from bigger budget racing games. As for the soundtrack, aside from a couple of Mexican inspired tunes played in the title screen and options, music is virtually nonexistent, so make sure to have a custom playlist handy.


Baja: Edge of Control is a decent off-road racer with a healthy amount of vehicles, tracks, and options to keep racer fans happy, but ultimately it offers nothing that hasn’t been seen or perfected in other racing games, past or present. Had the game been released as a downloadable XBLA title, it may have proven a more tempting purchase, but with the surge of holiday blockbusters hitting store shelves, this game may find a cult audience once it loses control of its shelf life and veers right into the bargain bin ditch.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(November 10, 2008)

 

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