19th Sep2017

‘Baja: Edge of Control HD’ Review (PS4)

by Phil Wheat

baja-hd-ps4

A remastered version of the original off-road racer from 2008 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Baja: Edge of Control HD once again gives players the opportunity to race a myriad of off-raod vehicles around the globe on 100 tracks, nine open worlds and 1000 miles of drive-to-horizon landscape…

I’ll admit, as someone who counts arcade racers as one of their go-to video game genres, I wasn’t prepared for the sheer insanity that Baja: Edge of Control brings to the table (and yes, I did pass this game over on its initial release nearly 10 years ago). How insane? Well for those completists out there, prepare for 3-hours plus endurance races (who the hell has time to spend 3 hours on one race?!?) and such a steep learning curve that you might be gagging to throw your controller out the window at times!

Graphically you have to admit that Baja in HD does look good, especially when your vehicle is throwing up dust and you can almost see ever speck. Though how much of an improvement over the original the upgrade is remains to be seen – literally. The last gen’s graphics were already pretty decent, and racers always tended to make the most of the PS3 and Xbox 360 capabilities. But an extra high-definition flourish isn’t going to hurt anyone. Well except for maybe your wallet if you previously bought this game.

Speaking of hurt, the one thing that may hurt after playing Baja: Edge of Control HD are your fingers and thumbs! I don’t think I’ve ever played a racing game where you can constantly hold down the accelerator and still pull off all the twists, turns and corners without ever letting go (speak about finger ache!). Which is odd given that this game purports to be an almost simulation-like racing experience… Though how “simulation” like is is also depends on the players choice of settings etc. Me? I’ll stick with a more fun, if just as gruelling, arcade experience. Though even then I still found myself frustrated with Baja HD.

Noew I’ve read complaints regarding the button-mapping in this game, and in particular the problems it has created for gamers that like to play with steering wheel controller; however a much bigger issue for me was collision detection as it pertaints to the water hazards in the game. Let me explain:

On a number of maps there are water hazards which will, and do, slow down your vehicle – as it would in real life. However on stages that feature a rather large lake or beach front if you hit the water and go too far in (as in your vehicles wheels don’t touch the ground and you’re floating) you’re essentially screwed… You see this happened to me not once, not twice, but THREE times on the same map! Rallying round the same bend, with the beach to my left, I was slammed multiple times by other AI-controlled cars into the same piece of water. What did the game do? Did the game realise I was going in the wrong direction and reset me back on track (which is DOES do on land)? Was I able to turn my vehicle around and head back to land? Or was I able – more importantly, was I even aware – that you can call in a repair helicopter to help?

The answer to all those questions was a resounding no. Instead I floated there like a lemon until I got bored and either waited for the race to be over OR quit the race and started over. It might seem like a small isue in the grand scheeme of such a HUGE game, but when you’re on the fourth lap of a five-lap race? That’s going to frustrate you immensely. It did me. So much so that, honestly, I’ll find it hard to revisit Baja: Edge of Control HD too often…

Baja: Edge of Control HD is available now on PS4 and Xbox One, RRP £24.99

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