We made sure to get our hands on XGRA when we stopped by Acclaim's E3 booth, since we've always enjoyed the raw intensity of the Extreme-G series. Though somewhat reminiscent of other futuristic racing games, Extreme-G has always gone out of its way to give you an unparalleled sense of speed. XGRA is no exception, for the most part, though the pacing is slower in parts so as to allow for more-skillful and more-strategic racing--as well as armed combat between the futuristic bikers on the course. In short, we had a good time playing with the game's new features and racing around its roller-coaster-like courses.
XGRA is approximately 85 percent complete, and it is scheduled to ship this summer. Indeed, the game looks pretty complete already, and it offers responsive gameplay and the incredible sense of speed that's made the Extreme-G series popular. The weapons include a missile launcher, a defensive shield, and a close-range energy blade for ramming. Because of the game's fast pace, hitting your opponents won't be easy, but the fact that all the bikes move at approximately the same speed helps matters.
The game's courses bend and weave in all directions, creating a sensation of vertigo and forcing you to constantly scan the horizon for where you'll have to turn next. Speed boosters line the courses as well, and rolling over these lets you rocket forward even faster than normal, so you'll have to race precisely to get the best times and beat your rivals.
The Xbox version of XGRA looked noticeably smoother and sharper than the GameCube version that was on display--though, as mentioned, neither game is finished yet. A PS2 version is also planned, but regardless of platform, you should expect an action-packed and very, very fast racing experience from XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association. We enjoyed our brief time playing the game at the show, and look forward to seeing how it finally shapes up.