Whenever a new console is unveiled, two genres almost without fails make it in the launch title. You have your every day sports games, and then some sort of racing game. We have seen great ones like the Gran Turismo series on the PlayStation, or Project Gotham Racing on the Xbox, and then of course we have seen not so great. Today we are going to talk about one of the more anticipated racing launch titles, this one for the Xbox 360. The game is Project Gotham Racing 3 and attempts to drive its way into your 360 library. Should you pick it up? Read our full review to find out!
I would not consider myself the biggest racing guru out there, in fact when it comes to my preference I would not say that racing games are anywhere near the top of the list. However, throughout Bizarre Creation’s run with the Project Gotham series, I have always found their work to be very entertaining. Both PGR 1 & 2 were games that I actually spent extensive time after reviewing enjoying, which is not a typical routine for me. When I heard PGR3 was coming to the 360, I can easily say I was excited, but was it worth the wait?
One of the big differences in PGR3 from the previous games are the cars in PGR 3, which doesn’t even bother with any normal car, but instead goes into what I would consider the "elite cars". I feel that they want to distinguish themselves from Gran Turismo’s burgeoning list of cars, and just concentrate on the top-tier ones. This may put some fans off, but it is one that still worked for the game nevertheless.
Well let’s first talk about the racing, then we will jump into the different ways of playing the game. In PGR3 you basically have the same style of racing that we have seen in the previous games, which is somewhere between a serious simulator and fast-paced arcade racer. The main focus however is not only to win races, but win them in style by collecting the all-famous Kudos points. Learning how to rack up these style points is an essential for success in this game, but is also not that challenging. The game’s driving mechanics are solid like they have always been. Like I mentioned earlier, the style of racing in this game is something that I have always enjoyed, and found that the developers have enhanced this great racing.
The single player portion of PGR has never been overly complex, and unfortunately it remains that way in this game. The game basically gives you some objectives to complete and rack up both kudos and credits in the process. Racking up credits of course make it possible to purchase new cars, which are something that all PGR fans are very accustomed to. The single player portion of the game is not what I would call the meat and potatoes of the game, but rather they just give you something to do when you go away from the true greatness of PGR3 - the Xbox Live support.
You can see that Bizarre Creations spent a lot of time on is the just that, the Live support. You start off with the system prearranging you in a race with people of the same sort of caliber. So depending on how you race offline will in turn depend on who the system races you against. This feature alone was just a truly amazing accomplishment, because of how right on the system was. Most of my races were held against people of my same caliber, which made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. Another neat feature is that the great racers online get features on what Bizarre Creations calls Gotham TV Live, and this is where you can sit back and watch some of the best racers around duke it out.
The overall gameplay of PGR3 is just a great experience, especially since the game is a launch title. You can see already right out of the gate PGR3 uses a lot of the great new abilities of the 360’s Live support, and really uses them beautifully. There are still some things that could have been made better, like some of the single player bits. But if you love racing and want to test your skills online, this is just a perfect game to go do that in.
There are only two games on the Xbox 360 at its launch that I would consider really breaking into the "next generation" category - Call of Duty 2 and now Project Gotham Racing 3. What is so great about the visual quality in PGR 3 are both the environments and the car models. Starting with the car models, you can see there has been so much work put into the cars with plenty of detail, and just a beautiful coat of paint that just shines in the day’s sun. The environments too are just extremely detailed and just beautifully portray the great cities, which make up your racing track. The developers also you can see spent a ton of time mapping out these cities and just really making them a beautiful bit of scenery.
The game also does a fantastic job of keeping a very smooth frame rate both online and offline. Although online doesn’t always bring about the best results with lag and such, the game just shines beautifully as one of the best looking launch titles on the Xbox 360.
I have to say that although this game doesn’t really add a whole lot new offline, the new online features are just really an amazing feature. PGR3 does a fantastic job of really bringing a very nice and clean community feel together that really just works really well in this game. I really liked getting thrown into matches that were right around my level, which brought competition and more of a chance for someone who isn’t great at racing games. I just had a lot of fun with this game. The gameplay wasn’t overly hard to get the hang of, and the visuals were just plain amazing.
In the end, Project Gotham Racing 3 is just a downright beautiful game that plays just as well as it looks. PGR3 is going to be a game that really pleases the previous fans of the series, and maybe even those who bought a 360 but haven’t had a chance to enjoy one of these games. If you are in either of these two boats, then I would highly recommend going for a ride in PGR3. It is definitely worth a shot with the solid and challenging gameplay and extreme visuals, this is one of the best games on the 360 launch lineup.
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.