Project Gotham Racing
If the PS2 has finally known success, it's doubtless due in part to the game Gran Turismo 3. As often happens, a flagship title is often necessary to really help a new console get off the ground. And so, since its launch, Xbox has offered a title that shouldn't be ashamed next to GT3: Project Gotham. The philosophy of this racing game is relatively the opposite, however. It's a pure arcade game, but one that flirts with a touch of simulation to produce the pleasure of precision driving.
It all has to do with navigating a series of diverse and varied cars in competition. There's the Mini Cooper, the BMW Boxter, and even a Ford Focus WRC, in no particular order. Each car has distinctive features that are clearly present while driving. The BM skids in every direction, while the Focus holds tight to its four driving wheels. For the background, you maneuver in famous cities like London, San Francisco, and Tokyo. The courses are generally short and twisty with bends and especially right angles, and frankly even hairpin turns. The game developed by Bizarre Creations doesn't deny its close connections to MCR on Dreamcast. The system of Kudos, reward money, gives an original touch to the game because there are several ways of advancing in the competition. You must occasionally beat your adversaries, but you also make stylistic devices or take care in driving so that you earn these famous Kudos. The difficulty is frankly well proportioned, and you are pleased to advance into adventure mode.
The graphic design inspires varied commentary, but for a launch game, there's nothing to say. The cars are sumptuous, more beautiful than in GT3 and the depiction of damages is especially realistic. Likewise, the surroundings are reflected on the car with a hallucinatory realism. However, the backgrounds are more moderate. The field depth is excellent, and the ambiance is replete with objects. It's regrettable that there are too many textures and not enough polygons, but overall it's rather pretty. Without anti-aliasing really being used, the lines are even straighter than in GT3. Especially, the timer is vaguely round, which is not the case in GT3. The rain, fog, and sunshine are rendered well, no doubt thanks to the use of shaders. The smoothness remains continuously exemplary. The sound is nice with very thick muffler noises for lack of being realistic. Finally, in 5.1, the sound proves to be well spatialized. You hear cars arriving from behind you and you can perfectly locate numerous minor accidents.
Familiarization is immediate, and for lack of being realistic, the somewhat awkward handling of the cars is really pleasant. Moreover, in this type of game, it's the fun that counts more than anything else. You want to play, you want to advance, and you want to win the races. The layouts are beautifully vicious with, for example, banked and sloped right angle turns in San Francisco, and nothing but that. The multi-player mode allows four people to play on the same screen, while still maintaining the views and smoothness, which is a true demonstration of the console's capabilities. Of course, you must have a large television for a four-player game, but it's great fun. The vibrations are excellent, and I liked them better than GT3's force feedback.
In summary, Gotham is a very fun video game, but also one that requires finesse in navigating. The game is captivating, and you always want to continue, which is a good sign. If you like car games, don't hesitate.