PC

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Switch
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

Baja: Edge of Control HD

Score: 74%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: 2XL Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1, 1 - 4
Genre: Sports (Racing)/ Arcade/ Classic/Retro

Graphics & Sound:

2XL Gamesí Baja: Edge of Control is a racing title that looks good and plays terrifically. Originally published in 2008, this is a remastered version for 2017. The game has you competing in a wide variety of off-road environments, with clearly defined tracks that still allow the ability to draw outside the lines a bit. The environments look great and have enough wear and tear on the track to help guide the way, while also providing enough visual eye candy to enjoy as you do laps through each of the courses. Of course, the visuals are, generally speaking, not up to par by todayís standards, but still are pleasing to the eyes.

Vehicle models are pretty good too, and although not on par with games like Gran Turismo, they still work well for the style of game Baja: Edge of Control brings to the screen. There is a wide variety of vehicle types in the game and each has a fair amount of skins to choose from. One of the main takeaways from the vehicle models and gameplay is that damage can and does occur frequently. The visual representation is that doors and panels will fly off or even dangle along as your drive down the course.

The gameís music and sound effects are equally good. Whether in the menu system or in-game, the background music is catchy and doesnít get annoying like many other games. That said, it can be turned down easily if you decide to listen to something else instead while still enjoying the revving of engines and the grinding of gears. The in-game sound effects help drive the fast-paced nature of the game. The scraping of paint and collisions with other drivers put you right into the middle of the action.


Gameplay:

Baja: Edge of Control HD is a fun racer that literally can have you on the edge or your seat. The tracks range from short off-road distorted loops to longer, multi-path adventures that allow you, your friends, and the computer-controlled opponents to split from the pack and find the best way to the finish line. In fact, one could argue that the gameplay itself is quite basic, but at the same time really enjoyably fun.

Edge of Controlís core gameplay hands down is the Baja Career. There are a host of different vehicle types that you will work your way up through as you gain XP and Credits from competing in races. As you boot up the game, the Career is limited to the smallest of cars. As you begin to place, and especially as you win, youíll see your ability to unlock more vehicles and competitions unfold. Thereís a pretty good balance here too. The game really doesnít allow you to unlock too many things without first working your way through the ranks, from Baja Bugs and Open Wheels all the way up to the granddaddy of all off-road Leagues, Trophy Trucks.

Each set of vehicles drives with its own set of rules. From engine and braking to suspension and tires, you can also upgrade your equipment as needed to help get better torque, speed, and a sense of victory. That said, you may not need to upgrade at all, or only do so in the later rounds of each series you race. The tracks allow for some forgiveness, but each also poses its own set of challenges. Depending on the track, you may want to have a vehicle with a bit more hill-climbing power or another with quick acceleration for lots of turns.

The game also has single races available, as well as multiplayer both online and split screen. Unfortunately, despite trying to connect multiple times with some online opponents, Baja: Edge of Control fell flat and I was unable to find a single opponent. I donít know if this is due to people not connecting or some other technical detail, but the feature unfortunately did not appear to work. It should also be noted that you will receive some Invitational race opportunities during the Career as well.


Difficulty:

There are basically two difficulty settings in Baja: Edge of Control HD that can be selected within the settings for the game. I spent most of my time of the default (lower) setting, and it ranged from downright easy up to a decent challenge, but not one that would leave you in the dust. Turning up to the Hard (higher) setting caused my races to be chaos. You see, the lower difficulty clearly has stability control on the vehicles and it is off when bumped up to Hard. This makes for an extremely difficult experience with a gamepad (worse with a keyboard).

Most of the difficulty in the game comes from the layout of the tracks and jumping from one vehicle type to another, and getting used to its settings. From a track standpoint, there is great variety within the game and each poses its unique challenges. One of the main things that separate you from the pack is the ability to learn where you can cut corners without being penalized and reset on the track. For the tracks that have multiple pathways, learning which are the fastest doesnít always mean they are the shortest, as you have to take grade and other factors into account.

The computer-controlled racers sometimes also pose a problem. It seems that they tend to try hugging a certain path along the track even if you are in the way. The result is often a frustrating experience where they scrape and angle their way back toward you, slowing you both down. Unfortunately, this is the one area where the AI could be a bit better and as you navigate it needs to be factored in.


Game Mechanics:

Baja: Edge of Control HD is pretty straightforward from a controls standpoint. I highly suggest using a gamepad at the least, and a steering wheel if you have access to one (disclaimer: I assume steering wheels work, but they have not been tried). Using a gamepad, the triggers act as the accelerator and brake while the analog stick helps steer. That alone will get the job done, but you can also quickly e-brake as needed to help slide around tight corners. Overall, the control scheme can be kept pretty basic, yet remain effective.

The game offers some fun gameplay with a bit of a challenge here and there. The upgrading and purchasing of vehicles offers a reward system that will keep you engaged for the multitude of races within. There is definitely a lot of content, even if repetitive to a degree, that makes Baja: Edge of Control worth a play if you like off-road style racing titles. The remaster doesnít make the game sparkle with a new, shiny modern coat of paint, but it nonetheless looks good in its own right and still plays very well. It was unfortunate that I never was able to connect online (decided to discount the score by 10 points) to see what other competition is out there, so donít expect a different result if you typically buy racing games for the online experience.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 7/8/10 (32 or 64 bit); Intel Core 2 Quad (2.84 GHz) or AMD equivalent; 2GB RAM; DirectX 11 compatible like GeForce GT 730 1GB VRAM; DirectX 11; 5GB HDD Space
 

Test System:



Windows 10 Pro 64-bit; Intel Core i7-5930K CPU @ 3.50GHz (12 CPUs); 32GB RAM; nVidia GeForce GTX 980; Xbox One Controller

Related Links:



Windows Last Day of June

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated