XBOX REVIEW: PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 2

PGR had its fans and others that did not like the game. It was one that required the player to use more than speed to win. You needed all the skills of a pro racer in order to win. The game also had a unique point system called "Kudos" awarded for power sliding, drifting techniques and making the perfect line just to name a few. The game was the number 1 racing game for the Xbox in sales. After playing the game, people soon learn the game was more than a simple racing game. It offered fast racing yet focused more on the realistic ways of real life racing. PGR 2 takes the same approach and really delivers a game that is more than a sequel with just a few more cars and tracks added to it. PGR 2 is a game that is made for those who love to race but also like the real aspects included. If you're simply into the arcade style of racing and hitting the gas and going, then the game will seem very hard. In fact the game is made to teach you the finer points of the sport while offering some great things and hours of fun.

PGR 2 is loaded with levels and different classes of cars. The game supports 4-player's offline or 8 by linking up two systems. There are 14 different classes alone and over 100 Cars. It also includes over 100 tracks from all over the world. They also included night and daytime races; in short the game has something for everyone. Learning the game will challenge you until you go through the first few levels and learn the way the points are awarded. Basically it teaches you how to handle any situation in a real race. Over slide a turn and start to loose control and you will learn how to get the car back under control. When the first game came out, a lot of people asked how to get the points needed in certain challenges in the game. You will learn that you can combine combos and chain them together. This multiplies the points. In many ways think of Tony Hawk and the way you earn trick points. It's not that different just another sport. The game is certainly geared for those who want to enjoy a more realistic racing game.

Bizarre should be really proud of PGR 2. They managed to add so many things into this game and it still looks great. Also with the added Xbox live support and downloadable content even more options, cars and modes of play will be available this certainly adds to the replay value. The cars look great until you smack one against a rail or another car and it will show the damage. Does it affect the cars performance? It depends on who you ask. In a way it does and in a way it's just for show. However, with a game that looks and plays this great, who cares? The game has some great graphics and the frame rate is great. The locations were modeled after the real places and the details really help the game stand out. Like any racing game there are times where you will have to learn the tracks before being able to beat the challenge or earn those big points. They did a great job making the game playable in many different ways. You can try and just win or beat the challenge or go for the record and really work on your skills.

The game plays as well online as it does off line. Although the lobby could be a little better since you will have to do a search a few times to find a mode your looking for. As far as the way the game plays while online its very smooth and I noticed no lag. Something I was surprised at with up to 7 other players all going at it. When you're playing the single player mode and have the Xbox connected to live, you will also have help in the way of a ghost car in certain levels, another great feature. After you complete a race or challenge, it will show you how you compare to others via Live. You will need to start with the little cars and work your way up but that's part of the fun of the game. While doing the cone challenge, you can score big points by pulling off the prefect 360 while trying to finish the challenge. They really left it wide open for the players. As you improve, so will the AI and it can get hard even for those who think they rule at racing games.

PGR 2 has excellent controls. The only thing that might get a little frustrating is the fact they placed the camera button (The White Button) too close to the hand brake (The A Button). This at times can mess you up a little if you hit the camera button during a race. Nothing major and after some time you will learn how to avoid this from happening. You also have the choice of steering with the D pad or the left joystick. The gear shifting buttons and everything else are placed for easy access. If you want, you can even change them. The game has some impressive graphics and even a few neat effects like the sun hitting the back taillights and causing a reflection, small things that really make the game feel real. There are a few blind areas in the game. That is common for any racing game. Other than that the game really shows off some great graphics.

The sound effects are great and they included a wide range of music in the game over 200 songs. If you want more then switch to your custom soundtrack and play to the tunes that you want. You can even play online while listening to your own tunes. The game also features some very realistic sounds. From the engines to the shifting, they all sound incredible. The tires squealing and the sound of the car sliding are all top-notch. This is another example of a well-made game.

PGR 2 is a game that will take a long time to master and to beat. You have the option of playing each challenge or race on easy all the way to the hardest setting. The higher the setting the more Kudos you get. There will be a few challenges that may take several times to beat. If you get frustrated, just take a break. There is always a way to finish the challenge or beat the other racers. Now with the option of taking the game online you can see how you measure up to others who own the game. Every time a new racing game comes out the famous line from Cole comes to mind. "Does the world really need another racing game?" The answer to Cole is if it is as good as this one than most certainly! PGR 2 is a game that is fun and looks great and proves that a sequel can be worth every Penny!

Project Gotham Racing 2 Preview By Vaughn

One of the highlights of the Xbox launch, Project Gotham Racing was one of those racing games you either loved or didn't quite love so much. Due to it's pinpoint accuracy requirements for such things as, oh, turning a corner, PGR separated the men from the boys when it came down to sheer video game driving prowess. Personally we kinda dug it around these parts - but not everyone around here was a big fan.

PGR2 is under development and not only can you expect more cars, more tracks and more cities, but Xbox Live support this time around. That alone has got to be worth the price of admission. We don't know much at this time and Bizarre Creations isn't exactly talking. So, check out the screens!

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System: Xbox
Dev: Bizzare Creations
Pub: Microsoft
Release: Nov 2003
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
5.0
ONLINE
4.5
VALUE
5.0