Review: Initial D Extreme Stage

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Racing along the roads of Japan, all over you will go and many a foe that will try to put you down. Drifting, drift, drifting on each corner while trying to cut off your opponent and reaching the finish line. Drive fast, drift swiftly, show no mercy. In the racing world of Initial D, the weak stay behind while the strong and legendary play at night. Welcome to the casual driving that will give you a new definition of “putting the pedal to the metal”.

Before I go on about the game, let me say this, thank you SEGA for allowing us to import this game that comes with an ENGLISH instruction manual. Again, I thank you, because God knows how many times I’ve been frustrated with the purpose I’m supposed to accomplish in most of these imports. So, with that said, let’s get with the game!

It’s not your GT5 or FORZA Motor Sports, in fact this would be considered as a “casual” driving game with player friendly controls. The graphics and modeling is pleasing to the eye, but the style of the characters is so different. You’d say that they were taken out of a manga and then placed in the game. They don’t move very much, it’s more of them just standing there and talking with minimal hand movement. Also, they speak in Japanese (duh), so knowing what they’re saying could help with understanding the story line.

The cars are your average Japanese owned vehicle, Nissan, Suzuki, Toyota, etc, and each with a unique owner. Your owner is someone you can create when you start up a new profile, be it male or female. This doesn’t affect the game, but it’s a nice touch. The types of cars vary on the maker of the cars, and how they perform on the road. You have Front Drive, which the car will under steer during acceleration, but cuts the corners in a powerful way. Then there’s the Four Wheel Drive, heavy on the parts, but has great acceleration and strong corner cutting.

Controlling each car does take time to get used to, and that can be said about any driving game. With the tracks varying from smooth turning and simple curved roads to sharp turning and night-time bumpy roads, the difficulty progresses slowly but in a good way. Meaning that you will have time to practice each level if you want to before you take on the Story Mode. Trust me when I say this, ALWAYS go into Practice mode before taking on a new level of racers in the Story mode, because you’ll need to get used to the lay out of the map.

The music is another standout, being that it’s a mix of J-Pop and J-Rock (Japanese Pop and Japanese Rock). Very little does it get annyoning, but you’ll already be immersed in the game that you will barely feel distracted. Hitting those drifts, getting to the finish line, having the opponent in your dust trails, all of this goes great with those crazy J-Rock/Pop beats. You can always decide what track you want to listen to before heading off, and there’s a wide variety to choose from.

The features in game consist of a few that I’m going to mention, which is when you beat a racer in Story mode, you will obtain new “parts” or looks for your character. Now, I’m not too sure that you can do it straight away on changing the look of him/her, but I think you can only add in those new looks when you create a new character. Why do that? Dunno, but it’s there. As I mentioned before, this isn’t a top notch racing game that we Americans are known to love. Yes, I did say “WE”.

I’m not much of a racing fan, but this is a solid, good game with potential to come out here state side. I truly wish it would, being made by SEGA. As we all should know by now, they NEED to bring more of their games over here. back to the game! It’s fun, can be addictive, and a must for those who love racing games or Japanese games in general.

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