When Project Gotham Racing was released for the Xbox a few years ago it really set the standards for all street racing titles to follow. The game hosted a wide array of exotic cars, courses, and some jaw dropping graphics. So when Microsoft and Bizarre announced they were doing a sequel to the popular racing title everyone got excited. And for good reason, Project Gotham Racing 2 hosts more cars, more courses, even better graphics, and now Xbox Live support. When you put it all together you get one heck of a racing title that is Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox.
Racing titles have been hit and miss over the past few years; it truly has been a while since we have seen some really good simulation style racing titles hit the console markets. Since the original Project Gotham and Grand Turismo 4 for the PS2 we have seen this gap without any good solid racing simulations. Now the gap has been filled with a sequel to Project Gotham, which really ups the ante again for the new standard for Xbox racers.
PGR2 hosts quite a long list of different modes to choose from and at first it can be a bit overwhelming. You have your single player and multiplayer categories, in the single player modes you have Kudos World Series (main mode), Arcade Racing, and Time Attack and in the multiplayer category you have Xbox Live Split Screen and System Link.
The Kudos World Series is basically the main mode of the game, where you are given different categories that are separated by car models. Within each of these sections you are given a certain number of races to take part in that you will have to beat in order to complete the specific category. As you get better and you unlock more and more of these races you also gain Kudos points, which enables you to purchase new cars. The one thing I did notice that is different about this mode compared to in the original is that the mode is a lot less tedious then the first. Where in the first it was nearly impossible to win races in the later part of the game, PGR2 is difficult but also possible! This really makes for a much more enjoyable, yet still challenging Kudos mode that works really well for the game. Bizarre did an excellent job of mixing things up so you wouldn’t feel like you were racing the same race over and over again which is a definite plus.
When it all comes down to it racing games are made for online play so the Xbox Live support for PGR2 was a must. In PGR2 you are given more of what Xbox Live is all about and that is competition and that’s really where the service is at its best. In PGR2 you can go up against seven other people from around the world and race them. Seeing there ranking also can be a motivation to really try and burn them on the streets, and this really plays out nicely online. Almost all of my experiences playing the game online were smooth and were free of lag, some were better then others, but for the most part they were all very smooth games. Along with the Live support includes downloadable content, which should mean more cars in the near future for owners of PGR2.
The modes are all there and accounted for but how does PGR2 play compared to the original. Well in a lot of ways the gameplay feels quite similar to the original, which isn’t really a bad thing. You can see that some things have been refined and tweaked to really give the game a more arcade style feel. With that being said you can really see the big differences in the way the different cars handle. When driving some of the older American muscle cars compared to the new Ferrari’s there is a big difference in the way the car feels on the road, and controlling the vehicles show that.
Overall the gameplay of PGR2 is right on the money, it really has done a nice job of making things feel a lot more smooth and forgiving compared to the original, and really leaves you with the sense that your playing a solid racing title.
When Project Gotham Racing was released it was really a solid graphically looking racing title that showed a lot of promise, and therefore people were really expecting a lot when it came to the sequels graphics.
PGR2 is just really a solid looking title all around the board and in a lot of ways goes up and beyond our expectations. When it comes right down to it, there are two things that you usually judge a racing titles graphics on - the vehicle models and the environments. The vehicles of PGR2 are just drop-dead gorgeous, with great lighting effects, and wonderful detail. You can tell there was a lot of time and effort spent on recreating each one of these vehicles, and they really look quite good.
The environments/tracks you race on are also right up there with the best of them. Each track has plenty of detail and no two tracks look alike, when you put those two things together you have a winning combination. The weather effects that go along with the tracks also look quite good.
Overall the graphics of PGR2 are just top notch all the way around, with very little to complain about you are really looking at one of the best looking titles on the Xbox.
Since Project Gotham Racing 2 is an arcade style racing title it was really made to be fun. This is where PGR was kind of hurting because in the later stages of the single player mode the gameplay just became frustrating. With this being fixed and the online play being added, you really have a quite fun game that will last you quite a while.
PGR2 fixes almost all of the problems that plagued original, and even manages to improve upon everything else. If you are looking for a top-notch racing title for your Xbox, look no further then PGR2, a great looking/playing arcade style racer.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.