“Get ready, get wet and take to your watercraft on various missions through eight massive exotic racing environments including a swamp, the Arctic, a canyon and the legendary city of Atlantis. Providing intense watercraft racing in a fast-paced, arcade style format, this game gives players more than 30 intense motocross-style tricks as well as player specific tricks to perform in various race modes. With eight highly stylized concept watercrafts to choose from, players will be challenged with water and terrain of all sorts. From raging rivers, turbulent rapids, massive waterfalls and hair-pin turns, players not only have to worry about their own watercraft stability, but also the competitors racing aggressively around them. On each course, players will also come across various environmental conditions that will randomly affect each race.” This is the premise behind Sony Computer Entertainment’s new action, racing game for the PlayStation 2 called Jet X2O.
You might think of Jet X2O as just another extreme racing game, but it provides enough twists to make it repeatedly playable. You begin by choosing a racing mode: Single Event, World Tour, or Big Wave. Single Event allows one or two players to compete in a single race, trick competition or combination of both in any unlocked venue. World Tour lets you race through different exotic locales on the planet with single, trick, or combination challenges. You can also choose Amateur, Pro, and Expert difficulty levels. And Big Wave is sort of like a practice mode that provides a closed course and lets you perform tricks without having to worry about race time. In addition to racing modes, you can also choose your rider. There are eight riders to choose from and each has a different nationality as well as different characteristics and racing skills.
After you’ve chosen a racing mode and rider, you begin the game. During strict racing games or strict trick games, your score relies solely on racing time or tricks performed, respectively. During a combination game, however, both your time and your tricks are combined to give you a final score. Getting a handle on driving your Jet Ski can be difficult at first, but that’s part of what makes this game enjoyable. You’ll really need to learn how to handle the machine before you can run a good race. Performing tricks can also be difficult but rewarding as well. Tricks are performed using the L1, L2, R1 and R2 buttons on your PlayStation 2 controller. You can perform multiple tricks or combinations of tricks depending on how much air time you have. To get the most air time, you need to be moving pretty fast when a ramp comes up, but you can get added speed by passing through gates to boost your Turbo Power Gauge. Turbo Power can help you gain more air time as well as finish a race faster, and is usually essential for winning. And as you win races, you can unlock additional features of the game such as craft decals, new personal watercrafts, new riders, new wetsuits, and craft attributes. This can only be done in World Tour mode, though.
World Tour mode also allows you to unlock additional racing venues, of which there are eight in all: SlicStream, DeltaFaktor, Hyperion Gorge, PermaFrost, MesoTec, Aquatica, NeoTropic, and Metro Nox. What is really nice about these venues is that they are one-way, down-river races. The scenery is always new and refreshing, rather than the same old thing as in other racing games that provide venues that simply go around and around in the same circle. Of course, if you play the game enough, you will eventually get to know each venue pretty well, but Jet X2O alleviates this problem by providing shortcuts and alternate routes so that the racing can remain fresh for quite a while. On top of that, you’ll find that different racing modes will change each venue’s aspects. For example, in race mode all the ramps for performing tricks are removed except those ramps needed to access a shortcut. Suffice it to say, you’ll find plenty of variety here to keep you busy racing for quite some time.
In addition to the great game play, you’ll find that the superb graphics provided by Jet X2O will also keep you firmly interested. It seems a bit strange that a game of this type would focus so much on the graphics quality, but I think you’ll find that Jet X2O actually provides some of best quality you’ll see on the PlayStation 2. The animation is smooth and speedy, making the gaming that much more exciting. And the environments as so well crafted that some of the time you may want to stop racing just so you can take a look around. One of the most spectacular settings is at night when the lights are reflecting off of the water. The voiceovers and background music, on the other hand, can probably be rated as good, but not great. Still, they provide a level of quality that doesn’t take away from the game, which is nice.
There’s no gory violence or any other kind of adult material found in Jet X2O, making it rated E, which means it is accessible to everyone. Jet Ski fans, racing fans, and extreme sports fans will definitely take a liking to this game. It may take a bit of time to master the driving skills needed to win races, but it’s well worth the effort. And even during that time, you can still play around, perform tricks, and just have a whole lot of fun facing the raging waters of the different venues. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Jet X2O definitely provides intense watercraft racing in a fast-paced, arcade style format with enough variety that will let you get your trick on and have a blast.