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This review is for Baja - Edge of Control, an off-road driving game for the Playstation III.
The concept of the game is easy, drive your vehicle around tracks as quickly as possibly, win races, progress through the game, try different tracks and win more trophies. It's a well worn style of gaming and so there's a lot of similar games in this genre. You start the game driving in the desert, but you progress through to other backgrounds such as woodlands and frozen lands.
The first problem with this game, especially for a games players such as myself who are not the most natural players in the world, is that it is just too difficult. Normally games ease you into the game play so that you can make some progress early on, learn the game and gradually get better. In this game however, you really need to drive around the track in a near perfect way to be able to win the race.
The problem with the game is that you need to be very good to be able to make initial progress, and for some, it may be too much. Once you're able to make progress, then it does become a bit easier to keep making progress, but it's more frustrating than fun to reach this stage. Given the amount of vehicles and parts in the game, there's lot to do, but the actual games play is important.
It's this game play which in my view really does let the game down. The precision that is required is frustrating as the computer opponents can knock you off the track and that you can perform moves which seem fine sometimes, but which on others again can knock you of the track. When it's difficult to understand why a game does this, frustration can soon creep in.
The graphics and sound in the game are satisfactory, but not really much more than this. There are lots of different backgrounds in the game and lots of different vehicles, but they aren't the best graphics that I've seen in the game. The sound effects are quite good, but the range of background music isn't very varied. Overall the graphics and sound don't really much to the general atmosphere of the game, but they do the job sufficiently well.
There is a multi player mode, either using the four player split screen option or on-line racing with eight people. Given the complexities of playing the game itself against computer opponents, the multi player option is actually more realistic and more fun.
The game retails for 29.99 pounds but is available at the time of writing for 13.49 pounds on Amazon. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available currently for around six to eight pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
In summary, this really is a game for those that like a challenge, as it's a difficult game to be able to make progress in. There's lots of variety in the game, but for me the game play just isn't solid enough to have a lot of long-term interest.The multi player options are though much better, as you are able to compete equally with friends and other players, and this is a big advantage to the game. If you can pick up the game cheaply, it's worth a look, but there are other racing games to consider before purchasing this.
In Baja, players will conquer more than 100 square miles of the toughest terrain Mother Nature has to offer, including the steepest mountains, thickest mud and deepest canyons ever created. With more than 40 vehicles in eight classes, including Trophy Trucks, 4x4s and buggies, Baja features a full array of upgradeable options with hundreds of authentic parts that affect each vehicle's performance. Players will put their off-road machines to the test in near-vertical Hill Climb challenges, head-to-head Open Class races, circuit races and the ultimate off-road endurance challenge: the Baja.