I want to be up front and admit that this is one of the better licensed games that I've played in recent memory. That being said the game has some issues where I feel the game didn't fully utilize the license.
The game doesn't really explain the story of IGPX at all. The game basically focuses on your team competing to become the IG-1 Champs 2 seasons in a row. While this covers the main focus of the anime it doesn't really work to help someone who has never seen the show to understand the characters are want to watch it. On the other hand, this game was meant for fans of the show in the first place. So the lack of an emphasis on this area may be more acceptable.
The characters feel highly under utilized in this game. In fact, the most we get out of the characters are a few repeated audio snippets from the show. There are a few snippets that hint at stuff in the show, but they are so far and few between that they tend to annoy you with their presence. And, if they don't annoy you it frustrates you and how few of the characters get any audio snippet anyway. There are a few lines from team Sledge Mama, Skylark, Rocket G, Velshtein, White Snow, and Satomi. Outside of that the characters aren't used at all.
The game does work rather well on this end in my opinion. Though, the game largely focuses on combat rather then racing which is a bit disappointing. I found the controls rather easy to work with. Though, you may want to watch the tutorials in the GP mode if you don't have an instruction manual since they cover all of the basics. Moving on to the combat side of things I have a few complaints.
Combat in the game at times feels rather simplistic. Most of the bets parts in the game don't have special abilities which can be rather frustrating. I imagine this is to prevent an imbalance issue between the enemy AI and the AI for your team mates, but there seems to be an issue anyway. Certain teams like White Snow and Velshtein have abilities or attacks that can easily devastate your team or cut your HP in half. Another issue is that certain teams are given tracks that are extremely in there favor. Since, certain teams have abilities that make ringing out an opponent exceptionally easy and the AI for your team will tend to rush into powerful attacks or traps rather frequently. This often forces you to battle 1 on 3 against opponents that tend to be more then a match for you in a 1 on 1 battle. Though, the lack of powerful offensive parts with special abilities means you'll largely rely on mashing on X during combat to send your enemies reeling which can grow a bit old after a while. You also have the opinion of grabbing an opponent with the O button, but your team mates will largely interfere with your plans for dragging an enemies unit for several hundred feet down the track which can annoy you to no end.
On the other hand you can control what your team mates will do somewhat, by using the directional buttons to assign combat strategies. Sadly, you can only assign strategies to both units at the same time. So, you can't make one unit focus on defending and the other one focus on attacking at the same time.
Another slight issue is the lack of focus on racing in the game. Even, if yous end an enemy pilot reeling backwards and watch them fall over and roll on the ground for several hundred feet they can easily catch back up to you even if you use the boost ability. This means that its near impossible to get any distance from your enemies. On the other hand this means you don't have to worry about falling behind for long if the enemy knocks you down. Though, this does present it own problems if you want to keep some distance from your enemies. This can be a major focus of your strategy if you are competing in the battle royal later on and have to take on five opponent's at once. You may just want to sit back for a bit and allow your opponent's to weaken each other so you can rush in for the finishing blow.
On the bright side the customization in the game feels rather well done. The game offers numerous arm and leg parts to customize your team with if you have the points available to buy the parts. Some of the parts also grant you special abilities which are operated with the trigger buttons.
The graphics for the game feel a bit on the average side, but they do successfully get the job done. And, not every game is going to be a visual master piece like Final Fantasy XII.
I do like the soundtrack for this game. The tracks appear to be an assortment of techno tracks which feels appropriate for a game that takes place in the future and features mechs that are racing and battling against each other at speeds upwards of 300 mph.
The game does offer some powerful parts to obtain after you beat the main story of the game, but on the other hand the game also starts to grow old after a while since you'll largely rely on the same tactic no matter who you are racing against for the most part. Though, the game doesn't manage to outlive its welcome since it is only takes around 6 to 10 hours to beat the game. Though, you may spend additional time with the game if you're a completionist that wants to get an AA rating for every race, unlock every track and mech for vs. mode, and purchase every available part.
Lasting Appeal: 9
Stuck in between
Pros = great adaptation, fun and original, difficult setting, multiplayer
Cons = customization, combat, and racing is a little weak, short
Worth = unless you plan on playing with friends just rent it, fans of the series should have preorder this
This game is one of those examples that adaptations (especially anime) can be good if done right even though this one could have done much better. This game is based of the 26 anime episode called "IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix" aired on cartoon network and stays true to the series. The main problem of this game is that it does several things like fighting, mech customization, and racing all in one, but does it mediocre instead of great fashion. It still turns out to be very original, unique, and fun.
The racing aspect of the game is more about avoiding and stalling until you get to that final stretch of the 3rd lap to do a super boost. In which at that point you go into speed mode. Lap 1 consists of you setting your race style for racing or battle with the 3 pilots. You can utilize a regular boost throughout, but it isn't that effective especially when all mechs have the ability to catch right up with a skating motion.
The battling aspect consists of melee attack, boost attack, block with timed counterattack function, recover, rotating attack, various graps, and special attacks, but everything varies depending on what parts are equipped. You can switch between the 3 pilots and also perform combo attacks.
When you customize your mech you can change its right arm, left arm, legs, and extra. This will effect your offense, defense, agility, and stability stats.
The length of the game is okay for a racing game I guess and it does have a difficulty setting. It will take you about 6 to 15 hours max to beat it on normal mode. There are 4 league games each consisting of 6 races. You can challenge individual teams, train, simulations, and do special events within each league. If you get bored with that you can challenge your friends adding some amount of replay value.
a good game for mecha racers of all ages
IGPX is a good game for all ages form the tv to the console ps2 was a good console for all ages giving a library of good games and great. The mecha racers were shund to a corner not any game was until the year of 2006 where a anime mecha racer was born form bandai namco but bandai namco over the years beyond has failed in both anime and normal games.The game both balances out defense and offense in a small package.