*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
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