Acclaim's latest in its futuristic racing series is looking great.
Remember when people were saying that XGRA would be focused more on combat instead of racing and the sense of speed? They weren't kidding. That's not to say that the other two factors have been sacrificed in order to make for a good game, because it doesn't look like they have been.
The version available for the GameCube only has one track and three opponents, but it still gives a great idea as to how the game will work. Something that's noticeable right away is that there is no boost-on-the-fly feature, and that you can fire your primary weapons almost immediately from the starting line. What this does is make the first few moments of a race very action-packed, since you'll have plenty of time to try to shoot away at those in front of you. There's even a firing cursor on the HUD to help you aim your weapon, which can be manipulated up and down with the control stick as you drive.
The secondary weapons system is a bit strange, but works a lot better than it did in XG3. You start with set weapons, but instead of selecting them immediately, you collect weapon power-ups on-track. Each one you collect activates the next special weapon in line, which in this case were the leech, a speed boost, mines, and the rapier side-firing weapon. Once you collect enough to get the weapon you want, you lock it in with X, then fire it with X again. This system turns out to work rather well, because the track power-ups are plentiful, and your primary weapon is more than enough to fend for yourself until you get more useful weapon power-ups.
The track featured is wide enough to navigate through without much wall-scraping. Bikes now powerslide through the tighter turns, which almost gives them a Wipeout hovercraft sort of feel. The sense of speed isn't too terribly terrific during normal play, but the bikes were only going at 500 mph or so. However, once you hit that sound barrier, the effect is awesome. It's as if the picture on the TV screen is about to be torn straight off. Once that starts, blinking isn't a good idea.
The game is said to be about 80% complete. It's a bit strange that a game that far along would only have a one-track demo, but if that's all Acclaim wants to show off, so be it.