IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix - PS2 - Preview 2
In the future, everyone will "drive" a mobile suit. When someone cuts you off in traffic, people will no longer flip the bird – they'll flip over other suits using the large, mechanical arms attached to everyone's "vehicle." NASCAR will be a thing of the past, replaced by a new racing league that incorporates six mobile suits. High-speed racing plus high-speed road rage = one serious, ultra-deadly fight. Can you defeat your opponents, or at the very least, last long enough to cross the finish line?
IGPX attempts to dip into that futuristic vision. Set in the year 2049, the game revolves around the Immortal Grand Prix – a 3-on-3 battle race between powerful mobile suits.
At this stage in the game's development, courses are simple and do not have that many twists and turns. They look like they do, but the game more or less glides your mobile suit for you. The reason is because, up until the final lap, being in first place is not the primary goal. Everyone seems to have an equal amount of racing power, turbo boosts and other features. You can catch up just as fast as you can lose ground. With nowhere to run and no way to hold a lead, there's only one thing to do: stay and fight.
Battles are almost like a fighting game that takes place on a fast-moving track. The difference is that you're the one who's moving – the track stays perfectly still. The camera shifts semi-cinematically to adjust the view when necessary. For example, when you begin hitting your opponent multiple times, a combo begins to form. To make the game easier to understand (and more fun to watch), the view leaves behind its standard behind-the-suit perspective, taking in all the action from the left or right side. Now the game is more like a traditional fighter – one that moves at 350+ miles per hour!
Of course, you don't necessarily feel the speed, at least not yet. It's unclear as to how much of this aspect of the game is still being worked on. Right now the game moves fast enough to provide some thrills but slow enough to keep you focused on the battles.
If you or your opponent pulls away during close combat, the camera shifts to another view, typically the base perspective. It may zoom in closer, depending on the situation. Players can also choose to control part of the camera on their own, shifting the view from behind to in front of your mobile suit. How can you steer while watching the rear? Like I said – the game does most of that for you. For now. This feature seems to be where the developers want it, so I do not expect it to change.
Joint attacks allow you to link yourself with a friendly mobile suit and unleash a more powerful attack. These are not instantly easy to do, and require you to take yourself away for a few seconds to grab onto a fellow suit. This leaves both of you open for enemy assaults.
Strong fighters (and/or gamers who are really lucky) might find themselves in the position of mobile suit destroyer should be able to strike your opponent until his/her health is depleted. I'm referring to the health of the suit – no permanent harm is implied toward the pilots.
Once an enemy or ally suit has been destroyed, that pilot gets ousted from the match. Destroy all three of your opponents and the race is immediately won. All points are given to the surviving team.
Failing to destroy an opponent or two is a big risk. It's not like you say to yourself, "I don't want to destroy my opponents this time!" But if you don't, the race comes down to the final lap. It's at that point that your opponents push their hardest. If they get the top two spots, your team is screwed. You won't be able to earn enough points to make up for the loss. They'll have won the race, regardless of how badly they performed during the combat portion.
IGPX's music falls in line with the quality of other anime games. Players will not be disappointed by the voice acting and character interactions that take place before battle, both of which are coming along great. A picture of their face pops up above each mobile suit, letting you see exactly who's talking.
Due this fall, IGPX is revving to be the immortal grand prix racer. You definitely haven't experienced anything quite like it before – not in Mario Kart, Twisted Metal, Wipeout, or any other game that came to mind when you heard the words "battle racer." IGPX is different. It's a very unique idea that's well on its way to achieving special status as a one-of-a-kind racer.