First off I have to comment on the graphics. They're beautiful. If this is the first efforts on the PS3 I can't wait for a year or twos time. And I only have a basic TV. The surrounding rock faces look really good, the mud and especially the water once you've dug up some of the mud looks so realistic, and let me just say when you see the mud with water lying on top of it, go inside the vehicles (this is not an option if your on a bike by the way).
You start off with 7 types of vehicles to choose from (bike, ATV, buggy, mud plugger, racing truck, rally car, and big rig), and there are 2 vehicles in those categories with 3 paint jobs per vehicle. Several more vehicles can be unlocked when you complete races and there are a few you can purchase in the playstation shop too. There are 21 tickets to complete each with between 1 and 4 races on. All ticket races have set tracks and most will determine what vehicle you're racing but there are a few races where you can select a type of vehicle. In the early tickets all computer opponents will drive what you driving but this will get more challenging (like putting you on a bike in the mudpool against a big rig which is better in the mud).
The competition in this game is great. Several of these ticket races have seen all the other vehicles finish within 1 or 2 seconds of each other. The AI is really competitive, and if you're in a smaller vehicle or a bike and the computer opponents are in big rigs or trucks, the AI will slam you with its bigger vehicles.
The on-line options are great. You can create or join a game and they all count to your stats. In create a game you select the track, what vehicles are allowed, how many laps etc. This gives the game even more challenge and other people in the lobby can view this detail before joining. There are plenty of good drivers on-line to race against too. Plus, through the playstation shop you can purchase new tracks when they are available. These contain races on the new track you download plus new races on the existing tracks. The revenge weekend download also contains an event called eliminator where the person in last at the end of the time limit or lap is eliminated until there is a winner. There's a free time trial mode where you can race your ghost car or the best times from those who have registered times on the leaderboard, and a few new vehicles, a few you can unlock with the downloaded tracks, others you can buy from the shop.
There are only 2 downsides to this game. The first is that sometimes the computer AI will take you both out, it doesn't seam to realise that when trying to pass you, causing you both to crash is not a good race strategy. The second is sometimes you will crash at the start of a ramp just like you've hit an invisible wall (it very rarely happens but it's extremely frustrating).
This game is a real quality racing title where selecting the right vehicle and path is as crucial as driving skill and is worthy of your time and money. And the on-line competitions are great.