Sunday, July 26, 2009

Games Played 07/06/2009

Chibi-Robo! - GameCube
Demigod - PC
Gley Lancer - Wii
Rhtyhm Heaven - NDS


XGRA: Extreme G Racing Association (2003)
Developer: Acclaim Studios Cheltenham
Platform: X-Box
Purchase Date: 12/17/2003

The association needs to be disbanded so that we can have our old XG Racing back.

After the huge success of XGIII in 2001, it was extremely disappointing to discover that XGRA failed to live up to the high standards set by its predecessor. The first downgrade that's noticeable in this game is the graphics. Though it supports more complex background architectures and a higher number of polygons, everything looks washed out compared to the previous game. The razor sharp clarity of XGIII is replaced with muddy textures and dull colors. Even the futuristic bike looks like a blocky mess and the game has definitely lost the pretty glow effects that were found previously. I know that graphics isn't everything but unfortunately, the gameplay here is lacking as well. The controls are now less responsive and the weapon system simply doesn't work. Your primary weapon's strength is tied to the number of enemies you can destroy during a race and this makes the game too combat focus when the series has always been primarily about racing instead of combat. Your secondary weapon on the other hand depends on your ability to collect power-ups during the race. Unlike games like WipEout or even Mario Kart, these power-ups are scattered sparsely across the entire length of the race and only one will be available at a spot at a time. This means that sometimes, you can never get to the highest weapon tier because it's somewhat impossible to get to these power-ups quickly. Even the track designs are less inspired this time around and though they are truly dramatic in their scopes, they tend to get too complicated for their own good. The cheesy announcers don't help either - what makes Acclaim think that these life-or-death races should be a tongue-in-cheek sort of affair? The game is most certainly playable but it should have been so much more.

LIBRARY STATUS: 2 out of 5

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