Does Project Gotham Racing stand up to Playstation
2 racing giant, Gran Turismo 3? Answers lie ahead in our full review.
The question that has been ringing through everyone's mind
about Project Gotham Racing is whether or not the game can compete with
Gran Turismo 3 for the Playstation 2. After bearing witness of the awesome
power of the Xbox, we can safely say that PGR stands up to Sony's giant
and comes damn close to toppling it. Bizarre Creations went above
and beyond the call of duty and completely rectified their image after
a slight mishap with Metropolis Street Racer for the Dreamcast. With
a very nicely put together kudos reward system, and a solid scheme to
keep the game moving along as quickly as possible, Project Gotham Racing
is a worthy addition to the stellar Xbox launch.
We usually don't travel at 150 miles per hour down the streets
of New York, or go peeling out on the metropolitan areas of downtown
Tokyo, so when Microsoft announced PGR for the Xbox launch, many gamers
(including several here at GamerWeb) were already lined up waiting for
The first thing that must be addressed is are the visuals.
The game looks stupendous. The mere fact that Bizarre Creations even
thought of having the driver turn the wheel at the appropriate times
is amazing in itself. Throw in the addition of watching his/her hand
go down to shift the car into the correct gear and you've got yourself
a stunning amount of detail. The car's reflections and lighting are also
something to marvel. As you go scorching down the streets of your selected
city, whether it be London, New York City, Japan, or San Francisco you'll
be able to pick out trees… on your cars hood. Everything in this game
comes off as a very clean reflection and really shows how hard the development
team worked to fine tune the game's visual splendor.
Another testament to the level of detail is the streets
of each city. Bizarre Creations actually went out and modeled the in
game cities exactly like their true-life counterparts. (At one point
during the game I slammed on the breaks and just said, "Holy hell I've
been in that store.")
However despite the games visuals there are a few drawbacks.
Anti-aliasing wasn't implemented due to the fact that upon putting the
feature into the game, the frame rate dropped to about 15 fps. Due to
that small infidelity some of the game's scenes come off as looking a
bit rough and jagged. But who has time to mock when they go zooming by
at 150+ mph? Another small quarrel that I have with this game's visuals
is in regard to the environments. They tend to come off a bit drab and
lifeless. The lack of color on some locations is a bit disturbing and
the flatness of some of the buildings is disappointing.
Despite those small problems, the game still runs by at
an awesome 60 frames per second, and looks very very nice throughout
every race. Overall, Bizarre Creations made this game look as good as
possible considering the first generation nature.
The controls featured in the game are also very well done.
Bizarre went out of their way to give you the option of using the triggers
for breaking and acceleration or using the analog stick. From there on
in the standard buttons apply: Y looks behind you to take a glimpse at
your competition as you leave them in your dust, X and B down shift and
up shift respectively, A is the hand brake, white and black are used
to manipulate the camera either forward or backward respectively. All
in all, the game handles quite nicely.
As with that other racer developed by Bizarre Creations,
the Kudos reward system is the basis for the progression in the game.
Whether it's attaining a certain number of Kudos in a certain race or
accumulating them over time, if you want to play through Project Gotham
Racing, then Kudos is the only way to do it.
For those rookies out there (feel free to raise your hands),
Kudos are style points that you obtain by performing certain maneuvers.
Power slides are the obvious choice as they are both tactically sound,
and provide you with tons of Kudos if performed correctly. You can also
catch air, go onto two wheels, and perform other extravagant stunts to
attain some sizable Kudos (going through the finish line backwards being
my personal favorite).
The game is largely based around its Kudos system, as all
play modes are centered around attaining them. Quick Race, Arcade Race,
Time Attack, Kudos Challenge, Multiplayer and your standard set of options
round out the starting menu. The meat of the game is found in the kudos
challenge. You'll be able to play in one-on-one, hot lap, single race,
overtake, and a few other modes all within the Kudos Challenge.
Quite possibly the most impressive aspect of the game is
its audio. The features that this game brings to the table are amazing.
The pack-in audio that you can elect to listen to is quite amusing. You'll
hear radio DJ's giving away concert tickets on actual radio stations
from each city. That's all well and good, but the truly amazing aspect
of Gotham is the ability to select a few of your own tunes for use on
the Xbox. Being able to play your tunes would be impressive enough, but
actually hearing radio DJ's spouting off some chatter in between each
song is absolutely scary.
Yeah, kinda like Racer X, only without the upstart little brother.
Project Gotham Racing: The Scores
There is no question about it - the Xbox launch was amazing.
With Halo, DOA3, Munch's Oddysee, and this amazing game,
Project Gotham Racing, Xbox has got one of the most successful
launches in the history of gaming. Does Project Gotham
Racing topple the PS2 giant? Not quite, but it's still
one hell of a game. If racing is your thing, you need