ESRB Rating ? E for Everyone (Mild lyrics) Number of players ? 1-4 via split-screen, 1-8 via Xbox Live or LAN
The Project Gotham Racing franchise began on the Sega DreamCast in the form of ?Metropolis Street Racer.? It brought a new twist on the racing genre by forcing the players to not only drive fast, but with style. You earn points called ?Kudos? at the end of each race by finishing fast and performing slides around corners. These are used to unlock cars and pass levels. To this day, MSR remains a highly acclaimed game by DreamCast owners. After the DreamCast was no more, the series found a new home on the Microsoft Xbox, with the new name ?Project Gotham Racing.? With its unique gameplay and stunning visuals, it quickly became a must-have game for racing fans who owned an Xbox. PGR2 is the latest and greatest in the series, and we will talk about it now.
PGR2 takes all the great aspects from the original and adds a whole bunch more. The kudos system remains pretty much the same. Every time you slide, catch air, draft behind cars, etc., your kudos start to build up. Keep up with the cool maneuvering, and you can get some great combos packing on even more kudos. Just be careful not to crash ? if you do, you will lose the combo, and all those lovely kudos you had building up. ?What are the kudos for??, you may ask. They determine your overall score and ranking, which can be posted on online scoreboards via Xbox Live. When you get enough kudos, you can use them to unlock new cars and classes. Speaking of cars, there is a pretty good variety of them. The first PGR only had a handful of cars, while PGR2 has over 100, spanning 14 different classes. You start with the Compact class, with cars like the Mini Cooper S, and later move on to the Ultimate class, with much faster ones such as the Saleen S7.
The single player portion of the game consists of 3 main modes ? Kudos World Series, Arcade Racing, and Time Attack. Arcade racing lets you earn kudos while racing in all the different car classes. Time Attack lets you post your best lap time on the Xbox Live scoreboards. Kudos World Series, however, is where you?re bound to spend most of your time when you?re not playing with friends or on Live. In it you must go through the different car classes winning races and earning kudos to receive medals. There are four main game types therein:
- It puts you up against a number of other cars in a standard race.
? You race one-on-one with another car.
? Cross the finish line at high speed.
? Drive through an obstacle-filled coarse within the speed limit, racking up as many kudos as possible. As you can see, there?s plenty to do. There?s even the ability to walk around your garage in first-person view, and a retro-style arcade shooter Easter egg. There?s no car tuning here, so some racing fans will be disappointed. Keep in mind that this is a pure arcade racer, despite its realistic physics. To unlock every single car, you will need to beat all of the challenges on Expert to get platinum medals. That?s not a very easy task, mind you. I?m not a very highly skilled gamer, but I have only managed to obtain a few platinum medals. Heh, I haven?t even gotten all gold yet. Overall, the game is still much easier and welcoming to new players than its predecessors. There?s still a lot to unlock after beating it on the easier difficulties, and it?s fun enough to go back and play through on harder difficulties later on. If you?re good enough, you could just play on expert from the beginning to unlock everything quicker.
PGR2 certainly doesn?t slouch in terms of multiplayer either. 2 to 4-player split-screen racing remains in the game, but unfortunately there are no kudos to be found here this time around. Personally, I love playing split-screen with friends, and I?m glad they didn?t crop it out when they made the new additions.
New additions? Oh yeah, they rock!
8-players can race each other via LAN or Xbox Live. On Xbox Live, you and a guest can join or host a game with the press of a button. Like most Live games, you can randomly join a quickmatch, or an optimatch game, which lets you choose a game from a list. If you host a game, you have all the standard options. You can choose the minimum/maximum number of players, the track, number of laps, which car classes can be used, etc. You can even invite all your friends from your buddy list to come play. Racing online is usually very smooth and pleasant, aside from the annoying guys talking trash. It just makes it that much more pleasing when you leave them in your dust. I can?t say I recall experiencing any lag or glitches at all.
There\'s so much to Live for...
Not only can you race against others online, but you can also be signed on to Xbox Live when you?re playing the single player part of the game. PGR2 was one of the first games to use this feature, and to use it in such a cool way. It is used to keep track of online scoreboards and even players? ghosts. That?s right, by default the game will automatically upload your scores and ghosts from each race for others to download and compete against! Likewise, you can download other people?s ghosts to race against. There are also some new cars and tracks currently available as premium downloads. This means that they will cost a small fee (usually about $5 per pack) to download.
It may not be as visually stunning as it was when it came out, but PGR2 is certainly not lacking in the graphics department. Everything looks very smooth and shiny. I was blown away when I first played the OXM demo. Cars damage is visible, and pretty realistic. The way the car is damaged depends on the angle at which the collision occurs, and at what speed. It is not as present as it is in Burnout, but then again, it is not PGR2?s main focus.
As the box says, there are ?Over 200 songs from real artists and DJ?s.? There?s a variety of music styles to choose from, and you can choose a radio station that best fits your preferences. What?s more is that you can even choose the game?s tracks that you do and do not want to hear, and import your own music stored on the Xbox?s HDD.
Nothing to really worry about here. There are some mild lyrics in some of the music, but it is easy to turn any inappropriate music off. That?s all I can think of that would be even the slightest bit offensive on the game?s part. You will most likely hear some offensive language from people if you intend to play online, but I can?t blame that on the game. PGR2 a great game for people of all ages.
Project Gotham Racing 2 is a great racing game that continues to implement great new features never before seen in the genre. To top it off, it can be found for about $20 now. It?s a must-have for any Xbox owner looking for a great racing experience.