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Game Profile
Bizarre Creations
GENRE: Racing
PLAYERS:   1-8
November 17, 2003
Project Gotham Racing 4

Project Gotham Racing 3

Project Gotham Racing

 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on February 19, 2003

First Impressions: I'm suing Microsoft. This is Project Gotham Racing, right? Well where the hell's my Bat Mobile?

Bizarre Creations started about in 1987 when a man by the name of Martyn Chudley created a company called Raising Hell Software. Despite the promising title the company had given itself, Raising Hell Software had trouble in its beginning years. Starting off with a virtually unknown Commodore 64 title as their first release, Raising Hell Software quickly moved to bigger and better things when they sent a demo out to a 10-person developing house called Psygnosis, which would later grow to become a little company called Sony Liverpool. This led to the release of the developer's first real games, entitled The Killing Game Show, Fatal Rewind, and Wiz ?n' Liz.

The development house moved into developing racing games when the Playstation came on the scene. Offered a contract to do a game based on the Formula 1 license, Bizarre Creations completed Formula 1 with 11 people in 14 months. The game was a complete success, becoming the best selling game in Europe in 1996, and the second best selling PSX game worldwide.

After following up Formula 1 with yearly-editions till 1998, Bizarre Creations shifted gears when they released Metropolis Street Racer in 2000 for the ill-fated Dreamcast. The game was appraised for the great racing gameplay Bizarre Creations was famous for in their F1 games, along with a little addition called the Kudos system.

The Kudos system is what differentiated Metropolis Street Racer from every other racing simulation on the market. What is the Kudos system? Basically the Kudos system is a method set up to award gamers for the style and finesse they display in their races, and to punish players who are rather sloppy behind the wheel. Take that last turn sliding? Here, have some kudos for your troubles. Slam into that wall when you took a turn too hard? Well, no problem, we'll just deduct some Kudos from your score.

MSR gained critical acclaim for its admirable attempt at blurring the lines between arcade and simulation racing games, but the game still needed some tuning. This was done with Bizarre Creation's Xbox launch game Project Gotham Racing. The game featured the same basic gameplay featured in MSR with a few adjustments made to the Kudos system (no more deducting Kudos for stupid moves), and a massive graphical overhaul. The game rose to success quickly, fetching the title of 2nd best selling game at the Xbox launch, and becoming a favorite title in many racing gamers library. Given the strong sales of Project Gotham Racing, it should come as no surprise the title's sequel, Project Gotham Racing 2, is one of the most eagerly awaited upcoming games on the big M's big black box. What changes does Bizarre Creations have in store for us? Read onward to find out.

The first item of business in PGR2 is the cities. The cities you raced in during the original Project Gotham were awesome to say the least, but there were only four. Bizarre Creations hopes to improve on this with PGR2, as they have promised that PGR2 will contain more than the four cities. An exact number of cities hasn't been specified yet, but three have all ready been confirmed, and from what's been seen from these three cities so far shows that Bizarre Creations knows what they are doing. The three cities confirmed so far are Moscow, Hong Kong, and Edinburgh (which is in Scotland for all of you who weren't geography scholars in school.) The screenshots of these three cities look, even at this early stage in the development cycle, absolutely stunning. Great attention to detail is paid toward each town, as every nook and cranny contained within the real-life city has been noted and implemented here in Project Gotham Racing 2.

The game's car list has also been revamped. Containing more vehicles than in the first game, PGR2 will come equipped with some 50 cars. Within this list of fifty cars will be the newest models from all the well-known car manufacturers, along with the prestigious Ferrari and Porsche licenses. Better yet, unlike in PGR's competitor series, Gran Turismo, PGR2 will actually allow you to destroy the cars you drive. Whether or not this car destruction will go beyond only the simple denting allowed in the original PGR still remains to be seen, however.

The car list isn't the only thing in the game that has received additions for the game's sequel, as the game's kudos system has also received a swift kick in the pants. Now, players will have more ways to gain Kudos, assuring even more stylish races than before.

Also, players will no longer be ranked officially by their amounts of Kudos alone, as Bizarre has promised to develop a new ratings system that will grade you according to other attributes in addition to Kudos amounts. Other than being ranked online, you will also be able to download new content via Xbox Live. What this content will be hasn't been announced yet, but hopefully it will be substantial enough to prolong our Gotham racing experiences. Another mode made courtesy of Xbox Live is head-to-head online multiplayer, which will certainly make PGR2 a lot more fun. Oh yeah, for you broke gamers out there, the title will also feature system link play, so you can get your full-screen multiplayer game on without having to pay for Xbox Live.

Like everything else in this sequel, the graphics have also gone under a massive overhaul. Environments now look photo-realistic, containing the awesome looking reflection and shadow effects found within the first. The car models also are of the highest quality, very closely resembling the cars they are depicting.

The amazing audio options available in the original Project Gotham Racing will return for the sequel, including the game's stellar radio system, which will still allow you to hear DJs from the city your racing in announce the next song on your playlist. As expected, the game will still allow you to put ripped songs from your Xbox hard drive onto your playlist.

Final Thoughts
Project Gotham Racing 2 looks like it will improve on the first game's formula with newer, better cars, enhanced graphics, and a better Kudos system. Let's just hope the game lives up to our expectations when it comes out 1st quarter, 2004.

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