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June 25, 2008
Fatal Inertia EX - Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
Q'3 2008KoeiKoeiKoei Canada
Offline Players Online players Price Download Size
1-22$TBA906Mb

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Powered by Unreal Engine 3.0 Koei's Fatal Inertia EX looks pretty stunning.
As one of the first Playstation 3 titles unveiled to the world Fatal Inertia was a title that captured the hearts of millions of gamers. A high-speed, action-packed thrill ride with a resemblance to SCEE's own Wipeout franchise, and the critically panned, but still entertaining Star Wars: Pod Racer seemed like an ideal launch title for the PS3. This game was a big departure for a company which is known for it's historical action and strategy games, but all indications were that the developers are on track to deliver a solid launch title.

Unfortunately though despite claims the game would be a launch title in the (aborted) March 2006 PS3 launch, and a no-show at November 2006 launch in Japan and America, and then a no-show for Europe in March 2007 Koei then targeted the game for June 2007. That came and went, but in September the game was released on the XBox 360. The PS3 version remained a no-show with developers citing issues with the Unreal Engine 3.0 on the PS3. Now, in June 2008 the game has just been released in Japan and America on the Playstation Store. This isn't a retail game any more, only downloadable. That extra development time may have done some good though... Read on...

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That water is simply stunning.
Fatal Inertia is set on Earth in the mid-23rd century, where a new sport has emerged. It's an evolutionary mix of street racing, rally racing, and demolition derbies, where vibrant, futuristic vehicles battle and race at around 300km/hour in a variety of beautiful, natural environments. Koei have included six different environments in the game split int 51 different courses. The PS3 version get a bonus training area called the "Fatal Inertia Proving Grounds Facility" which consists of a further 8 tracks. Each of the tracks includes multiple racing paths within each location. The tracks themselves are quite a bit wider then the very linear ones in Sony's Wipeout series.

Besides the training area other tweaks to the PS3 version include more balancing of the difficulty level, the weapons and physics which will hopefully provide a bit more balance and consistency over the XBox 360 title which received average reviews. Furthermore the developers are including a "Master" difficulty level for those hardcore gamers up for a challenge.

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Certainly a Pod Racer look/feel!
Fatal Inertia EX includes several types of weapons, many of which can be fired forwards, or dropped behind your craft should someone be on your tail. Some of these weapons include Magnets (which attach to enemies, slow them down and then explode), Rockets, Smoke Bombs, Force Blasts, Cables, EMP's and Time Dilator (which slows down time in the game!).

The game includes 4 vehicle classes including Phoenix, Aurora, Mercury and Titan each of which has its own strengths, although the craft can be upgraded to you liking within each class.

Multiplayer is supported within the game with 8-player online racing as well as a 2-player split screen mode in Fatal Inertia EX. We would hope for at least 8-player racing, but stay tuned for details.

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Trust me, this game is bloody fast!
What you really can't see from these screenshots is the pace at which the game runs at. If you think about Wipeout or Star Wars Pod Racer then you're on the right track - although this game is slightly slower in pace. The game uses Unreal Engine 3.0 to power the graphics (which was the cause of the delay) while the game runs at 720p.

Fatal Inertia has always looked nice. Claims that it was to be a launch title were wildly off the mark, but almost two years later the game is almost here for download, and it should be worth the price. Hopefully PAL gamers won't be waiting too much longer to get their hands on this release.