Project Gotham Racing
It looks to me that Playstation 2′s Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec has just got itself a competitor called Project Gotham Racing. Although the GT series are all focused on just driving, a real simulation, PGR focuses on simulation combined with arcade-elements: earning points (kudos as defined in PGR) by slick & stylish driving which includes slides, aerial jumps, two-wheel driving, perfect runs, speed gates, perfect driving, …
The detail of the cars is amazing, compared to the current car-sims on the market; I can say that this one rules them all. Alas, the environment is disappointing as the lack of detail on the sideways, such as trees, sideway buildings, but the offer of over 200 tracks makes it all a-okay. Back to the cars’ detail: the car-damage is far-out the best I’ve seen in any racing game, not the most impressive car-disfigurations, but scratches, broken taillights and minor body-damage are very well pictured.
There are three types of gameplay you can choose between: arcade, street race and kudos challenge, where arcade is driving a race by passing by ‘checkpoints’ in time, you get my point, street racing is racing against AI drivers and kudos challenge is a combination between al possible styles of driving: style-driving, one-on-one racing (you can earn the other guy’s car) street racing … hours of fun, if not months.
What I like about games, I think everyone does, is the possibility to alter about everything ingame. Such as HUD displays, car-color (you have to earn the cars with the more exotic colors though), sounds (since I have a Dolby surround sound system I configured my Xbox that way and PGR really appeals my woofer and rear speakers … feels like sitting in the driver’s seat), making the game a joy to play with except for the people who liked GT’s garage-option, which I did but is now left out, making PGR a racing game with standard, non-customizable speed demons (except for the mini-cooper).Since I watched Con-Air lately, I change my plate name to AZZ KIKR, couldn’t resist to do so.
What about those kudos points? Well, basically you can earn them in different ways. You can earn them by the higher explained “slick & stylish driving”, adding kudos to your total score, able to double that score using jokers, by that earning bronze/silver/gold medals which gives you again extra bonuses. By altering the difficulty you can earn some more extra kudos, it’s a really mathematical well thought-out system. You might not get that kudos because of the delay the points will add to your total score. When you just mad a super slick slide (you even want to save the replay of it) and earn 65kudos, which is a lot for a slide, but hit a wall after the perfect maneuver, you still will lose those points, actually, you won’t lose them from your total score, they won’t be added. You could still outrun your gold medal because of it.
In this era of multiplayer games, the option of up to 4 players at a time is bliss. This is where the racer-spirit really comes to life, being able to show your buddies who’s the best adds that extra + to the game. The graphics certainly don’t tend to slow down in split screen mode, but make it an unplayable game on a 36cm screen. Since the AI in PGR isn’t ingenious, multiplayer mode brings a wave of relief. Talking about the ingame AI, the other cars will most likely ignore you all the time, making their ways through a curve, not noticing you where actually besides them, I would have expected more AI, bummer.
The one thing that needs just that extra comment, are the sound options. I mentioned some options at the start of the article, but this is just too nice not to mention. As you might all know, the Xbox offers users the possibility to rip audio cd’s to its hard disk and use those songs in games, PGR is one of those games. Your songs will not merely be played one after another but announced by a DJ, a detail you might say, but it certainly adds a spark of realism to it all. Racing down Los Angeles with Fear Factory resounding through the radio … I couldn’t wish for more.
Final thoughts: PGR is die-hard racing gamers only, I’m not stating that only these gamers will like the game, but PGR is a time-consuming game, based on a player’s profile. I would recommend the gamers who like the smell of mud and tarmac to buy rallysport challenge as launch game. Nevertheless, PGR remains a nice game and will please a lot of gamers.