Home - Forums - Review - Preview - Screenshots - Wallpapers - Videos - [Visit the Official PGR3 site] - [Visit the Official Xbox 360 site]

Project Gotham Racing 3 Review

Written by: Brandon W.

Following the amazing success of the first two Xbox-exclusive racing titles in the series, there was simply no doubt that there would be a third entry in the famed Project Gotham Racing series. From its announcement, Microsoft and Bizarre Creations set their aim high with Project Gotham Racing 3, a game they had intended to include in the Xbox 360ís launch titles all along. Now that the stylish and powerful next-gen console from Microsoft is upon us, gamers are now able to enjoy all that Project Gotham Racing 3 has to offer.

Itís obvious that Microsoft intended Project Gotham Racing 3 to be the main focus of its launch titles. Although the best game among these can be debated, there is no doubt that Project Gotham Racing 3 was meant to be one of the workhorses in making a name for the Xbox 360. This is apparent initially in both how Microsoft has publicized this highly anticipated sequel as well as in how the game is presented: a mixture of unique style, personality, and plenty of visual candy to satisfy the eyes.

Beginning with the menus, they were designed to look slick while being easy to navigate. Gamers will have no problem quickly jumping into a race, beginning the single player mode, or jumping into some Xbox Live goodness. But the sleek menu is only an appetizer for the main course: the cars. Project Gotham Racing 3 simply has the most beautiful and realistic car models to ever grace a video game. They have each been given an incredible amount of attention and each car looks nearly identical to its real-life counterpart. The designers obviously put a lot of time into making every groove and curve as accurate as possible.

These car models are further supported by the game showing off quite a bit of graphical muscle that the Xbox 360 can easily put forth. The colors are vibrant and enthralling, the textures are all smooth and detailed, and the lighting effects make the models absolutely shine. Every shadow along the grooves of the car models accentuates the realistic look of the vehicles and every light glistening off the smooth car surfaces really brings the game to life and helps to prove that the Xbox 360 is indeed a hardware powerhouse packed into a stylish design.

The vehicles can be driven and enjoyed in such places as Tokyo and New York, hot spots that are typical of the Project Gotham titles. Gamers can proudly view the graphical prowess of the game and lavish in the sweet car models and lighting as they race through authentic representations of real life locations such as the Brooklyn Bridge. Gamers will find themselves racing through environments that not only accurately represent their real-life counterparts in most respects, but that also have been excellently designed themselves. The buildings arenít just paper machete in the background, they have each been designed to look authentic and provide a realistic backdrop for the racing. This excellent level design really helps to make Project Gotham Racing 3 look that much better.

The only real complaint with the car models is that this game definitely isnít a Burnout. Unlike that popular game from Electronic Arts, Project Gotham Racing 3, similar to the previous iterations in the franchise, features very little in the form of damage modeling. Simply put, gamers can crash into a wall at 140 mph and the car might only receive a small dent and a broken headlight. Even at that, this damage wonít affect the performance of the vehicle whatsoever, and will only result in a loss of valuable time as a result of the sudden slowdown caused by such a crash. This is indeed a bit disappointing, and it would have been nice if the developers would have put some more attention to damage in the game so as to heighten the realistic feel that it presents.

But how does that game actually play, you ask? Like a charm, indeed! The Project Gotham Racing titles are all well-known for their solid racing mechanics, and PGR3 is no different than its predecessors. The controls are tight and responsive, and gamers will quickly be able to learn how to whiz around corners and race down straight-a-ways with ease. All of this is improved by the designers having implemented a true sense of speed, a sense that was missing from previous installments and that was instead captured by the Need for Speed: Underground titles.

This ďsenseĒ of speed is in how the game feels once high speeds have been met. The background begins to blur, the green of the trees and grass begins to blend with the harsh grays and browns of buildings, and the broken lines in the roads begin to appear as if they are all one solid line due to the incredible pace at which the vehicles are moving. Gravity also has been implemented and it quickly becomes obvious that forces are at work on the vehicle as it takes corners are neck-breaking speeds, forcing the car to pull to the side rather than accelerate forward. Additionally, the very structure of the car will begin shake and shudder as it races down the city streets.

All of this can be enjoyed in a variety of modes. In the single player mode, veterans of the series will find themselves right at home as they compete in similar racing events including head-to-head matches to a checkered flag as well as lengthy multi-lap races that will require concentration and focus through each and every turn. Earning medals in these courses allows gamers to earn money, or kudos, which they can then use to purchase new vehicles and race on new tracks, amongst other things.

Of course, style plays a heavy role in Project Gotham Racing 3. Although getting the gold is important, how a player gets that coveted medal is equally, if not more, important. Sliding through a curve, getting on two wheels, gaining some air, and other feats all earn bonus kudos throughout the race. Gamers who learn how to race with style will be able to get the most out of the game.

The single player mode definitely isnít the primary appeal of the game. It does offer a good length, 10-12 hours for most gamers who stay interested, but it doesnít last forever. The multiplayer component, however, is the true lasting appeal of Project Gotham Racing 3. Xbox Live play was implemented in amazing fashion, and gamers will find it easy to go online, find races, and compete in a variety of modes. Online play is seamless and lag is almost non-existent. Even with many racers competing, most gamers will find the experience to occur without a hitch.

With solid gameplay mechanics, amazing visuals, the usual great selection of music tracks, plenty of style, and almost unlimited hours of replay value in multiplayer modes, Project Gotham Racing 3 does the series justice. It is an amazing first installment of the franchise on next-gen and it appears that the transition to the Xbox 360 has been done extremely well. Kudos to Microsoft and the developers at Bizarre Creations for producing yet another racing title that fans can be proud of.