Monday, January 07, 2008

New driving games heat up virtual track

Few video games can provide the pure thrill of road racing.

THQ's "MX vs. ATV" (available for most gaming systems) pretty much succeeds.

About my only complaint was the sound of the thing -- the engines were too car-like.

This was my first go-round with this series, which has won acclaim for its "Rhythm Racing" physics engine. I can say it's smart.

When you're trying to jump over things, you can't take a heavy vehicle over an area only a small motorbike would cross.

Driving and turning, the little things, seemed real. The vehicles seemed very real.

I didn't get the feeling that I get from many racing games, after about five minutes, that I'm moving an object across a screen from the right to the left and back again. I was engaged with this one, which allows you to take real-life riders from the MX and ATV circuits and go head-to-head.

The terrain looks good and the tricks you can pull off are pretty fun, too, but for me, this game came down to the racing and the driving.

Grade: B; rated E for everyone.

Review: Indianapolis 500 Legends

I put this one into the Wii and instantly I was thrown back to the '60s, one of the most revolutionary Indy 500 eras ever.You play as one of 15 famous drivers. The cars made me nostalgic; there are 34 to choose from. Tom Carnegie, who has called the Indy 500 for 61 years, handles play-by-play.

The attention to detail was dramatic, as was the racing itself. You get 33 cars on the track at one time. I got to race as old favorite A.J. Foyt in a 500-lap race. You can even pick which year you want to race in, from 1961 to 1971. You can choose "mission mode" and race in real-life situations that came up in past Indy 500s.

This is one of the best in this genre of the past two years.

Grade: A; rated E for everyone.

Review: Game Show

A cool online sports trivia game that I've enjoyed watching as much as playing. It's easy to join in. Sign up at and find out when the next game goes live.

You create a logo for yourself and play and unlock tokens to access equipment to create more personalized logos. (It's cooler to do than read about.)

There are leader boards where you can see how well you're doing against players nationally and regionally, answering the sports trivia questions. There are also raffles where you can use your tokens to win prizes.

Grade: B.

Review: Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice

I think the PSP is the best handheld game mainly because it comes the closest to re-creating the console and TV experience in the family living room.That allows you to play a complex fight game like this and not be left with crude action or crude graphics.

You're part of Capital City's special police force, the Pursuit Force, and you're trying to rid your city of crime, mainly five notorious gangs, including three new ones.

These gang bangers will have you chasing them over land, air and sea in 50 criminal cases covering seven district environments. I counted 12 vehicles to use. Sony claims 20 hours of game play. I wouldn't doubt it.

It'll take you awhile, even with 30 weapons, to clean up your city. Each gang has its own stronghold and one of them is a rogue police group.

Grade: B; rated T for teen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The majority of people seem to disagree with you on the whole PSP being the best portable philosophy. The DS has been destroying it for a while now, and personally I find the outdated 3D graphics on the PSP hard to deal with. It's obviously the more graphically capable system, that however creates the problem of it trying to create console ported games which is not what handhelds are for. People who buy handhelds aren't necessarily looking for a console-on-the-go experience, they want something completely different.