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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Project Gotham Racing Series

John Marine | 9:21 PM | |
The Project Gotham Racing series is an arcadish racing game series that is all about style. Do you race to win? Or do you pull off cool driving maneuvers? You can do both- and look good doing both! This blog post takes a look at the PGR series from my own perspective. Believe it or not, this was a post I had lined up for "John's Blog Space," but never completed it. So I am making this blog post from JBS available for "John's Gran Turismo Space" for all of my racing game fans. It is a continuation of this new direction for JGTS.

About the Label: "Project Gotham Racing"

Posts about the Project Gotham Racing series is featured under this label. It may include things ranging from general commentary to a handful of resources. Fans of the PGR series are welcome to read posts regarding this series.

So let's begin!

--- Project Gotham Racing Series at a Glance ---

Project Gotham Racing has all about arcadish racing fun since its 2002 establishment. PGR comes from the group known as Bizarre Creations. The godfather of the PGR series is the Dreamcast-exclusive Metropolis Street Racer. The majority of racing action takes place on city streets in various world-class cities. Rather than just on silly exhibitions of speed or Hollywood-style theatrics, PGR attempted to reward players for making daring moves- such as drifting into corners (without crashing) and flying into the air after jumps. You are also rewarded for clean racing and great driving. The cars you can choose from are mostly sports cars. The alpha and omega of success in PGR is in Kudos. Performing these daring moves helps you earn Kudos. The more Kudos you earn, the more items you can unlock in a PGR game. If you want to really prove yourself, try to win the tougher medals by accomplishing various tasks during the events. They can be used to access more cars and more tracks. Here is a look at some of the different competitions you can take part in:

• Street Race - a straight-up race against other cars.
• One-on-One - a racing duel between you and another car. First to the finish wins.
• Cone Challenge - weave your way around a bunch of cones laid out around the course.

A unique aspect to "Metropolis Street Racer" was in how the music in each city is unique to each locale. The same can be said for cities in Project Gotham Racing titles. An extensive soundtrack accompanies Project Gotham Racing titles with many songs of many genres. Of course, an XBOX gamer can always load up his or her own songs rather than look to the in-game soundtrack for music. Unlike Metropolis Street Racer, however, there are songs from a variety of recording artists and a variety of genres. Artists such as the likes of the Chemical Brothers, the Herbaliser, Chevelle, Gorillaz, the Prodigy, Tyrese, Asuka, Dive, Simple Plan, Bif Naked, Iggy Pop, and more through the history of the franchise.

Project Gotham Racing Series vs. Gran Turismo Series?

How does the Project Gotham Racing series compare to Gran Turismo? Really, it is an unfair comparison. It is the proverbial apples and oranges. Gran Turismo is a simulation racing series while Project Gotham Racing is an arcade-type racer. It is an arcade racer that has a good deal of realism. Graphically, PGR games are quite impressive-looking. I would probably say PGR1 and PGR2 are a bit pale in graphics compared to Gran Turismo 4 as far as previous-gen games are concerned. There is outstanding detail in PGR3 and PGR4 as far as comparing them to Gran Turismo 5.

Many others would likely hand an edge to Project Gotham Racing on the vehicle front. Most of the high-profile makes have been featured in PGR since the first game. There is a bit more variety in PGR games than in GT. Even PGR2 featured vehicles such as the Porsche Cayenne.

Racing is certainly apples vs. oranges. Gran Turismo is more fixated on serious racing while Project Gotham Racing is more loose and expressive. You can tune cars in Gran Turismo to your liking while Project Gotham Racing is basically what-you-see-is-what-you-get. If there is one department where PGR towers over GT, it is definitely in the online department. I need only mention XBOX Live. Whichever is better to you is based on your tastes.

Now that you have a basic snapshot of the PGR series, it is time to take a brief look at each of the titles.

--- Project Gotham Racing: Game-by-Game ---

Now for a look at individual games in the series.

NOTE 1: Some information on the Project Gotham Racing series was provided through this Wikipedia entry: Project Gotham Racing series on Wikipedia.

NOTE 2: These games may appear in their own blog posts here on "John's Gran Turismo Space" in the future.

Here are my thoughts on each individual title:

Project Gotham Racing.

Project Gotham Racing 1
^ from: - The original Project Gotham Racing for the XBOX.

Project Gotham Racing was one of the first titles for the original XBOX. Four cities are yours to lay rubber on in a world tour:

• San Francisco, California, USA
• New York City, New York, USA
• London, England
• Tokyo, Japan

A number of cars can be used in this game. Among others, the car lineup include cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, the BMW Z3, and the Ferrari F50. The cars are primarily sports car heavy as well as a handful of exotic cars. I have no experience of playing PGR1 in any sort of way.

Project Gotham Racing 2.

Project Gotham Racing 2
^ from: - Blowing XBOX racers' minds was Project Gotham Racing 2 and its much deep gameplay.

Though it was the final PGR for the original XBOX, this game only enhanced what PGR1 brought. More game modes, more locales, and more cars were available for gamers to enjoy. I have only played the demo to PGR2. I remember doing racing around Yokohama and slalom competition in beautiful Florence. These are only two of the many locales in PGR2. Where do you do your racing? Here are the locales of PGR2:

• Barcelona, Spain
• Chicago, Illinois, USA
• Edinburgh, Scotland
• Florence, Italy
• Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China
• Moscow, Russia
• the Nürburgring
• Stockholm, Sweden
• Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
• Yokohama, Japan
• Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Long Beach, California, USA (downloadable content)
Paris, France (downloadable content)

I have only played the demo to PGR2. The Ferrari Enzo Ferrari is one of many different cars in the game. Other cars include the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen New Beetle RSi, Pontiac Formula 440, Ferrari 246 GTS, and the Nissan Skyline/GT-R R-34 among other cars. The cities are all designed beautifully. Some of these cities are some of my personal favorite cities in the world. It can be great to drive around beautiful cities like Florence and Sydney. Even more so to drive wildly and gain loads of Kudos. If you want to challenge yourself, try to go for the Platinum Medals in this game. You'll need to be absolutely adept to win those Platinum Medals. Even more so if you want to get ALL of the Platinum medals.

The graphics are lovely even for the original XBOX. The cars all sound sweet, ranging from roars and growls of various engines. You can look at this game right now and still admire its beautiful graphics. So what if it lacks the next-gen appeal of today's games? It is still a beautiful game to me.

Project Gotham Racing 3.

Project Gotham Racing 3
^ from: - Project Gotham Racing 3 was one of the first titles for the XBOX 360. It also delivered one of the most beautiful gaming experiences for its time.

Project Gotham Racing 3 was one of the first titles for the (then) new XBOX 360. It delivered much more beautiful graphics and much more intense play than either PGR on the original XBOX. New locales to this game include Las Vegas and London.

• Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
• London, England
• New York City, New York, USA
• Tokyo, Japan
• the Nürburgring

Cars include the likes of the Radical SR3, the beautiful Ferrari F430, the Aston Martin DBR9, and others. Each car and every location is styled beautifully. Cars have amazing detail both inside and out. Players could even watch races through Gotham TV. The racing action flows beautifully and is very fast. Fluid graphics and intense gameplay make PGR3 a joy to play or watch. My only experience with PGR3 is with the kiosk demo I played a long time ago. I think there was a two-lap race around part of downtown Tokyo, but also a time trial around another part of Tokyo. That is my only experience with PGR3.

Project Gotham Racing 4.

Project Gotham Racing 4
^ from: - PGR4 is easily the most visually-enticing PGR title in the series, and it also debuted motorcycles as part of the PGR fun.

The final chapter of the PGR series came with PGR4. Among two of the most enticing elements of this game are the debut of motorcycles and the outstanding rain effects.

• Tokyo, Japan
• New York City, New York, USA
• the Nürburgring
• London, England
• Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
• Shanghai, China
• St. Petersburg, Russia
• Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
• Macau, Special Administrative Region, China
• Michelin Test Track

I mentioned that this game includes both cars and motorcycles. Some of the many cars include the Toyota GT-One, the Toyota 2000GT, the Honda NSX-R, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V, the Lotus Cortina, and many more cars. The motorcycle front features machines like the expensive and fast MV Augusta F4 Senna. I have NEVER played PGR4 as of this post. Some people whom actually played this game mostly say that this game wasn't as good as any of the previous titles. The graphics look amazing with the cars and the environments. The sounds are also very good.

There is no doubt that this series offers fun action. Just find a car and go either race or rack up the Kudos.

--- Project Gotham Racing: Final Thoughts ---

The Project Gotham Racing series was truly one of the last few racing/driving game franchises purely about the joy of driving. Enjoying drifting and all-out racing has never been so much fun than when the Project Gotham Racing series was established. What began with Metropolis Street Racer has turned out to be one of the best racing/driving game franchises of all time. The detail on the cars as well as the detailed locales make the PGR series one of the most fun racing game series ever created. For what Bizarre Creations was able to bring to racing gaming through not only PGR but also Metropolis Street Racer, it is a great shame PGR couldn't continue.

There was speculation that Lucid- a company featuring ex-Bizarre Creations staff would make a project for the XBOX One that could create a fifth installment of Project Gotham Racing. Lucid would make a racing game. Sadly, it is a game called "2K Drive" for the iPad published by 2K (you know- the ones behind the 2K Sports games). So we may never see a Project Gotham Racing 5. Enjoy the PGR series if you are any sort of racing game fan and aren't biased in any sort regarding console racers.

If you enjoyed my post on the PGR series, I invite you to show your support for my work by taking a look at these items below. That is... if you don't mind.

• Project Gotham Racing - XBOX
• Project Gotham Racing 2 - XBOX
• Project Gotham Racing 3 - XBOX 360
• Project Gotham Racing 4 - XBOX 360

If you don't have either the XBOX or XBOX 360 but want to get one, have a look at these:

• Microsoft XBOX.
• Microsoft XBOX 360 (multiple versions available on Amazon, including bundles).

Alternatively, you may also get PGR titles from GameSpot ("Project Gotham Racing" search results).

If you don't have the old XBOX or the XBOX 360, here are some links to help you out:

XBOX console (Amazon) or XBOX 360 console (Amazon)
Microsoft XBOX (eBay) or XBOX 360 (eBay) on eBay

Or if you're interested in reading my own look at past gaming consoles, check out this "John's Blog Space" blog post: "John's Gaming History Tour" (John's Blog Space).

What do you think about the Project Gotham Racing series? Remember that this blog is still about Gran Turismo and Tourist Trophy; but in the new direction of "John's Gran Turismo Space," this blog post includes discussion of other racing games and other things regarding racing games in addition to Gran Turismo and Tourist Trophy. This is just the evolution of this blog. I hope you enjoy my efforts. Thank you for reading!

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