Project Gotham Racing 1 was one of the more popular titles when the XBox originally released a couple of years ago. Many people were frustrated, however, with the curve of difficulty that you went through in the final stages of the game. More often than not gamers were much too frustrated trying to obtain ridiculous top scores and driving in new cars where performance was completely negligible.
This time around, Project Gotham Racing 2 has some new features with an extremely robust XBox Live integration that makes the game much more fun to play and offers a much nicer curve with top cars.
Dynamics / story
This game isn’t mission based through a story or anything like that. Basically you create a driver and go through the various challenges and races. There’s several types of races and challenges to compete, each with five difficultly levels. The point is to earn the most “Kudos” possible – points for turning out amazing tricks, slides, and accomplishing race/challenge goals. The more kudos, the more points you earn (increasing your rank which you can view on XBox Live) and the more tracks, cars, and other goodies you unlock during the game.
The different challenges are quite fun, and the races themselves offer excitement and joy when you cross the finish line. This is a great game for both multiplayer and for single player, and the fact that you can immediately see how well you did, even if you’re just in the single player mode, against everyone on XBox Live, is absolutely awesome. The physics/dynamics are a little more arcade than they are realistic, but if they were any more realistic, it’d wouldn’t be fun to race because your car would be so thrashed that it wouldn’t offer any hope of completing a given challenge or race.
graphics / sound
The last offering of PGR was great, and Project Gotham Racing 2 is no exception. The tracks and scenery in the game are absolutely jaw dropping, and the rendering they’ve done for buildings, tracks, and most importantly the vehicles in the game are top notch. This is definitely a dazzling game when it comes to the visuals. The sounds are equally impressive, as the Dolby Digital surround sound offers some fantastic auditory effects when you have cars zooming by and sometimes crashing all around you. Both the graphics and the sound of the game earn top marks.
If showing up your friends is a regular habit of yours, you’ll be very happy with the on-line aspect of this game. You can play the game in single player or you go through the entire XBox Live portion which offers various races that earn you Kudos. The Kudos, just like with the single player, are saved and matched up against others on the server so your overall rank can be immediately tabulated. This type of instant gratification is exactly what gamers demand. I found the races to be extremely fun – a great way to augment the game’s replayability.
There is no doubt in my mind that Project Gotham Racing 2 is the best racing game for the XBox console to date. The fun is definitely in trying to beat your old times and unlocking new portions of the game. The instant gratification of knowing where you rank out of all the players who have XBox Live, whether you’re playing in the XBox Live circuit or the single player Kudos World Circuit is spectacular.
The visuals and the audio of the game are awesome. The graphics are top notch and the cars are rendered so well you’ll want to show off this game to all your friends so they can drool with envy. The soundtrack of over 200 songs is a pretty nice addition too.
Overall, Project Gotham Racing 2 is a huge winner, and the replayability make it one to buy because it’ll be one you’ll be giving time to for many months to come. The game is highlighted by its intense action-paced gameplay, fantastic graphics, and on-line capabilities. If you’re looking for a strong title to satisfy that XBox thirst, this is the title to get this holiday season.
FINAL SCORE: 94%