Much like its name (it’s pronounced Bah-hah, if you didn’t know), we think Baja: Edge of Control is likely to be misunderstood… Off-road games, with the exception of a few notable rally titles, generally fall into the ‘over-the-top, “whoa dude” extreme sport’ mould, where realism takes a back seat to outlandish arcade racing. But Baja bucks this trend and would like to think of itself as the Gran Turismo of off-road racing. And, while the visuals might not back that up, the claim isn’t completely unfounded.
Rather than the ability to perform outlandish jumps and tricks, Baja has a punishing physics and handling model; your speed can be reduced to a crawl if you forget to slip the clutch on a tight corner, while misjudging a turn can’t be corrected with a power slide. Sadly, there’s so little feedback from the car or the controls that judging the weight of the vehicle on different surfaces is difficult; something that severely hinders your ability to adjust to the unnatural feeling of driving up a ruddy great mountain without a road.
We like working our way up through the ranks from battered Bug to elite Trophy Trucks by modifying and tuning our vehicle. We also like undertaking grueling hill-climbs, circuit and rally races in a sim rather than arcade style. But the lacklustre visuals and awkward handling ensure that Baja will probably be consigned to the corners of our minds.
Oct 6, 2008