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reviews >> playstation 2
XG3 : Xtreme G Racing

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Acclaim
Year Released: 2001
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Visuals 8.5
The courses are pretty cool, and has a great futuristic art direction that rivals San Francisco Rush 2049. Excellent sense of speed and smooth framerate. I could do without all of the motion blurring.
Audio 8.75
The music is good and the sound effects are pretty damn loud.
Gameplay 8
It's not the tightest handling racer, and I lose way too much energy on hitting the walls. I understand that tying in your boost to your energy supply increases the demand on strategy, but it makes winning races quite difficult.
Replay Value 7.75
There's only 10 main courses to race on, and they're recycled throughout each championship.
Reviewer's Impression 8
XG3 is a nice fix over XG2, but what the latter lacked in framerate consitency and fluidity, it made up for in courses. Here, we have the right visuals, but lacking a big chunk of depth. Acclaim can never really strike a balance between the two. However, this is a very thrilling an exciting racer the first few times you go through the courses, some stages are just insane. I just would have liked to have seen more.
Overall 8
XG3 nails the sense of speed and rollercoaster-like thrills perfectly, it's just too bad there wasn't enough of it.

*The PS2 and GC versions of XG3 are very similar, so that's why the review may look the same. There are some PS2 specific-details in this review. And yes, I've played both versions (rented the PS2 version, then bought the GC version).

The Extreme G(XG) series was never a revolutionary series, but one that tried to improve on the genre. When XG came out in 1997 on the N64, it was a great ride. The courses were cool, it had a fairly good sense of speed, and it was different enough to seperate itself from WipeOut or F-Zero. Of course seeing the limitations of the N64, the framerate was never smooth, since Acclaim favored detail over fluidity. Also, the control was very stiff, almost imposible to bank complex curves. Then a year later, XG2 was released. It had a lot more courses and vehicles, as well as more detailed courses. But the framerate was just unbearable. Trying to convey a sense of 500 mph with a framerate hanging around the late teens is just not right. Even though they threw in every effect the console did, it was sorely overlooked by the poo-poo framerate.

Then after a 3 year hiatus, XG3 is released. Finally, the game reaches it's full potential in terms of design, but it leaves us wanting more. Why would you finally fix a game in the series to the way it was meant to be played, and not give you a whole lot to do? On paper, 10 courses sounds like a lot, especially when compared to other racers that may only have 6 or 8. But these courses go by so quickly, and always have the same feel to them, that you really get bored after ahwile. While the championship mode does have a bit of depth to it, earning cash to upgrade your cycle, the same courses keep repeating, and in the same order. Too bad that they didn't randomize, or better yet, let you pick the next course you wish to do next, like in Wave Race Blue Storm on GCN. For a racing game, it feels very linear.

Aside from the championship, you have a time trial mode, a practice mode, and a multiplayer mode. All good in short bursts, but really doesn't make the game all that different. Speaking of multiplayer, if you wish to play with more than two people, pick up the GCN version.

The graphics are good, but recently we've seen better. XG3 does have an excuse, it was one of the first games for the system. XG3 moves faster and smoother than any other game in the series to date, which is a good thing. The framerate is a near - solid 60 FPS, while the speed is fast, and the graphics are sharp. While most of the textures are about on par with the Dreamcast version of Rush 2049, they look fine, and you really won't notice that often with all the motion blur and speed. I would have like to have seen a little more background detail on some stages, they were just too sparse. But the city ones are top notch. My only real gripe is with the motion blur: there's too much of it. And if you're wondering which version of XG3 has the better graphics, the Gamecube version wins over the PS2 version with an even smoother framerate and no aliasing. It's a slightly better looking package.

The sound is great. The soundtrack is by Ministry of Sound (electronic music), and really keeps the theme of the game. The sound effects aren't too bad, either. I can't find any real problems with sound. And it also runs in Dolby Surround. It would have been cool to have a Soundtrack CD packed in with this, but oh well!

The gameplay is fairly simple, race really fast and don't blow up. You can use weapons you buy to stall opponents, which may buy you time and space. The control is fine at first. A little sketchy, but not impossible. It does become harder later on however, since the speed becomes so overwhelming, it's difficult to turn.

XG3 is great as a $20 game, which is pretty much how much it goes for most places now. There's just enough to keep you satisfied until the next racing game that comes out. Don't expect a lot of depth, just expect a lot of speed. And while the PS2 and GCN versions of the game are almost the same straight across, the GCN is slightly better with sharper graphics, smoother framerate and more players for the multiplayer mode, as well as more time for the time trial.