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XBox Reviews: Project Gotham Racing 2


Project Gotham Racing 2 Screenshots


The Final Say!

Project Gotham Racing 2
- reviewed by Andrew B (Nov 2003)
Review Score: 9.1/10 
Distributed By: Microsoft

"It's just one step off from racing for real!"


The sequel to one of the best racing games on the XBox finally returns in Project Gotham Racing 2 by Microsoft Game Studios and developers Bizarre Creations that contains some of the most realistic and nicest looking graphics to have ever graced the XBox gaming console. The premise behind Project Gotham Racing 2 is simple... become the world's greatest street racer. Although this may sound easy, I can kindly assure you that it involves more than just pressing the foot to the metal and in order to progress in the world of racing, you must first earn kudos that are not only rewarded for your driving prowess but also allows to progress to more powerful cars and different scenarios.


Kudos points are awarded to the player for achieving certain objectives in a race such as driving on two wheels, sliding around corners, drafting behind cars and for completing a race in the top three. Unfortunately kudos points can be taken away as easily as you achieve them by hitting another car or crashing into a wall at high speeds. These kudos points are then used to unlock new cars and tracks within Project Gotham Racing 2.


Those that loved the first title in the series will appreciate the improved gameplay of the current incarnation and the game boasts over 14 different car classes and gives the gamer access to hundreds of different cars from the new sleek and well handled Mini S Cooper to the powerful M50 Ferrari. As with Gran Turismo on the PlayStation 2, all the cars handle differently from each other and all players will acquire their favourites whether it is the Mercedes ML55 or the Honda Civic Type-R. As with the varied cars, the game also contains a variety of different gaming locales that range from Sydney Australia to Yokohama Japan, with a total of 10 different cities available.


The game also caters for a variety of gamers, from the occasional novice to the high speed professional with five different difficulty levels that range from novice to expert. Those that want their racing careers to be spiced with excitement will be pleasantly surprised to know that the game supports a Kudos World Series, Arcade Mode, Instant Action and of course XBox Live races that is quite exhilarating but more on this later.


The control system of the game is perfect and uses a combination of the analog controller to control your vehicles movement while the shoulder buttons are used to accelerate and decelerate your high performance road car. Be warned though, as you progress through the game, the artificial intelligence of your opponents also increases that throw a variety of tricks at you to stop you from winning the race.


When I first saw Project Gotham Racing 2, I was quite simply amazed at how clean, sharp and brilliant the graphics were. Unlike its predecessor, the contrast level was quite high and you didn't have to fiddle with your television settings to tweak the graphics. The car models in the title contain a ludicrously amount of polygons to make these cars the most realistic vehicles on any home gaming system. Stick on some realistic real-world textures such as metallic paint and reflective surfaces and you truly have a match made in gaming heaven.


The gaming world of Project Gotham Racing has also been professionally designed and the cities have been spectacularly recreated that almost make you feel like you are really racing through the streets of Florence Italy or Moscow Russia. Apart from the amazing car models and city backgrounds, there are also some brilliant lighting effects such as reflective surfaces from the metallic car textures and realistic shadow effects that help you immerse in the fast paced world of street racing. My only complaint with the real-world graphics of the game is that something is seriously missing from the cities themselves. The cities are deadly quiet and there is not one living creature in the entire game thus making the title a little sterile at the best of times.


The musical score of Project Gotham Racing 2 uses a variety of different styles of music to help keep your adrenaline pumping throughout the game. The game boasts over 240 different pieces of music from just about every genre of music humanly imaginable. You can change the radio station during your races to something more your liking with even a talkback station of your host country. The sound effects of the game have also been professionally implemented from the realistic engine sounds, the screech of tyres sliding on the bitumen and the sounds of cars impacting objects at over 100 kilometres an hour.


As mentioned earlier, Project Gotham Racing 2 supports XBox live and it allows you to race other players from around the world and not only beat them in kudos points but also be the best damn racer there is. Once you have connected to XBox live, it is only a matter of seconds before you are transported the lobby to begin your online racing career. The beauty of the online racing kudos system is that if you beat a more professional player, you are awarded more points for beating them. Those that don't have access to XBox Live will be pleased to know that the game supports 1 - 4 players and with a system link, you can add up to eight different players.


Project Gotham Racing 2 isn't the best car racing game out there but it does come damn close. With amazing graphics, a sturdy gaming engine that allows for awesome playability and the option to play online, this game is guaranteed to find fans around the world. Racing on the XBox has just got better and this is one game that you must own! Check it out!


- Andrew B

Copyright 2004 www.impulsegamer.com