[Publisher's note: Meet our new previews editor, Tara Long. On her first day at the job, she already filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Destructoid. Please join us in giving her an inappropriate welcome. -Niero]
Ever since I was old enough to play Cruis’n USA in the waiting room of my dentist’s office, I have fond memories of crashing my Chevy Camaro though a line of school buses and watching it erupt into flames in front of a beautiful Arizona sunset. Yep, 1996 and I had some good times together. And yet, it may surprise you to learn that I’ve never been a huge fan of racing games. Maybe it’s the lack of a Y chromosome, but lurking somewhere deep within my genetics is a natural propensity to suck at driving. It’s science. And up until a week ago, I’d made peace with this fact.
Nail’d (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Still not getting it? No problem, let’s put on our brainstorming underwear and suspend reality for a moment. You’re flying through the Andes Mountains at 140 miles an hour, snow-covered trees racing past either side of you in a blur. A thousand feet ahead lies a ramp, immediately behind which is a 2000-foot drop-off. Two seconds later, your wheels leave the platform and you’re suspended in thin air, free-falling over a giant lake half a mile below. The front wheels of your ATV just barely graze the edge of the cliff as you escape certain death by mere fractions of a second. You stabilize yourself and get back on the road just in time to slide past the finish line, as flocks of women approach you offering congratulatory blowjobs on your crushing victory. I may have made that last part up, but you get my point. To put it bluntly, this game takes the word 'extreme' to the XTREME.
The only obvious omission is the lack of character customization features, which the developers promise will be added before the release date. Apart from that, Techland’s Chrome4 engine did a great job of creating surprisingly realistic terrain with 16 tracks to choose from, spread out among four different locales: Arizona, The Andes, Yosemite National Park, and Greece. All 16 tracks are available from the get-go so you don’t have to unlock them and Techland does plan to release DLC tracks in the future. The incentive to keep your score up lies in unlocking new customization features for your bike, allowing you to one-up your opponents with something other than sheer force of will.
Players also have the option of choosing between custom bikes or ATVS, the latter of which provides a marginal increase in control at the expense of a slightly slower speed. It looks intimidating at first, but is surprisingly easy to grasp once you throw yourself into the game. And because logic doesn’t exist in this world, speed is the number one priority for players. Your success in this game hinges not on points, but on your ability to harness the power of the turbo boost, which replenishes itself when players complete various obstacles like popping wheelies or flying through rings of fire.
The game even has something called Boost Madness mode, wherein each player has an infinite supply of “boost juice,” as I call it. Add on top of that a bitchin' soundtrack and you've got a solid game in the works. Perhaps the most appealing quality, however, which Jim Sterling also favored in his hands-on time at E3, is the surprising amount of control you have over your vehicle, even while flying through the air. Steering in this game appears to be far less sensitive than that in similar style racers, allowing you to focus on something other than not bursting into flames every time you round a corner.
(That’s what she said.)