So far the title of the fastest game I’ve played belongs to Wipeout 3 on the PSX. The fastest Phantom class is a pure madness. Heck, even Rapier class (one lower) can be really fast if your eyes are not adapted. While Burnout Revenge was close, it definitely isn’t faster than Wipeout 3. After years I’ve finally found my true need for speed fulfilled by a very cheap PS2 game. XG3: Extreme-G Racing is a futuristic racing game, where you race at speeds you’ve never seen before. Does it take the title of the fastest game? Hm… Hard to say.
In Extreme G Racing you ride a sonic speed bikes in a deadly races with use of weapons. You start a game with selecting a team. Each team has two riders for a reason. You can play campaign in coop mode with someone else and together gather points required for advancing. However, the beginnings aren’t that bright. First speed class, which is 250G is boring as hell. You will have only one, maybe two weapons, and now beat your opponents. It isn’t as slow as first class in Wipeout, but the tracks seems to be designed with high speeds in mind. They are long and twisted, some are really well designed, some are overcomplicated with asymmetric splits and invisible turns after a twist, fortunately these are minority and most tracks are clear and well made.
Your bike is equipped with weapons and a shield, which is once depleted causes your elimination. Shield is also used for turbo, which significantly speeds up your bike. This means you have to manage your shield reasonably and this is a kind of drawback I like in games. Weapons have a separate ammo bar and each weapon uses it differently. Here comes one controversial aspect of the game, a weapon system. Once you buy weapons you have all of them at once, making switching your weapons troublesome when you get more of them. If only two or three were possible to equip, it would add more depth to the game and make less confusion with weapon select during high speed races. I don’t feel like it is a good system for such a fast paced game. Moreover, it feels like railgun is much stronger than other available weapons. With a few accurate shots you can take down an enemy without recharging your ammo, unlike heat seekers, which devour ammo, while being similarly strong.
Both shield and ammunition can be recharged on special fields on sides of the tracks in different places. There is no drawback during recharge so feel free to use it every time you can, unless an AI decides to put mines there.
Once you complete all series you will advance to a higher class, which is 500G. Then comes 750G and with it comes the first difficulty spike. Enemy AI are getting access to more weapons and expect to be blown up at this point. Because everybody can have every weapon at the same time, expect a lot of mines on your road and rockets in your butt. This game gets tough here. Also at this point, if you hold your turbo long enough you will break the speed of sound resulting in a satisfying silence and blur around you.
Finally we arrive at 1000G and holy shit… the fun starts now. Every track is a challenge now and you can see how every one is made with 1000G in mind. Countless mines are a minor problem now, because you are so fast, you either avoid them before they land or most of them fall of the track because of the momentum. Enemies will hit you with heat seekers and railguns more frequently and every mistake can cost you a position, making this game extremely challenging at this point and thanks to it, satisfying. The sense of speed is incredible and you don’t slow down on turns a lot. This is the moment I really got into Extreme G Racing. Insane speed and challenging races, where 1st place really is satisfying, is something hard to find in racing games.
Graphically the game looks simplistic. There are no fireworks on the backgrounds and the roads are plain and simple. The only memorable designs are Oceania and Phion 6 tracks, where their localization made a positive impression on me. Other than that, there is nothing to keep your eye on, except smooth frame rate, which is mandatory in such games.
Music is something you’d expect from a futuristic racer. Electronic tunes are present on every track. Some more noticeable than others, but every one is fitting the game very well. Each track has its own music and even an author is named on a loading screen before every race. Nothing I will add to my playlist for sure but I like those tunes in game.
XG3: Extreme-G Racing after a very slow start (literally) surprised me positively. I didn’t expect a lot from this game, but later classes showed me the real value of the game. However, due to very bad weapon system and tracks made with a little thought I can’t say the game is better than Wipeout Fusion on the same console, but it ties if not wins in terms of speed. Extreme G Racing has the 1000G class which will make me come back whenever I feel a need for insane speed. Playing such a game has one major side effect. Every other normal game will feel sluggish.