Kudos: A singular Greek word meaning praise or flattering comments. There, bet you didn’t know that? I thought it would be good to start the review with a definition of what Kudos means, in the hope that one or two of you didn’t know that and you can go away from this review saying, “Well, at least I learnt something new”, because lets face it, anyone who hasn’t been sitting under a rock for the last four months knows what Project Gotham Racing 3 (PGR3) is all about; they’ve seen every video, drooled at every screenshot and read every preview. For those of you that haven’t, you are in for a serious treat!
PGR3 is obviously the sequel to the hugely successful PGR2 on the original Xbox, but this time, it’s on the 360! As soon as you turn the game on, one thing that will instantly jump out at you is the immensely crisp and detailed graphics. Each and every track is crafted with an expert eye, blessing you with some truly fantastic scenery. And the cars, oh the cars! 80 full speed, 80,000 polygon supercars are at your disposal. Unlike previous versions, you can play the whole single player career through with just your favourite car, instead of being forced to play the ugly faster sporty ones. That leaves you with a lot of freedom to play around with whatever you want to drive in.
The main game consists of a single player career, with you starting off in a mediocre car (compared to the others). You’re confronted with a line of tournaments, which each comprise of a set of single races or challenges. These vary depending on the tournament, from single race, to cone challenges, to eliminator races and even one-on-ones. It’s pretty simple to jump straight in, get in your car and start drifting the Kudos, however it will take a long time to master each track and get the chart topping times and scores you want. Single player has a range of difficulty levels, depending on how confident you feel. If you think you are The Stig from Top Gear (UK) or Michael Schumacher then you’ll instantly pick the platinum level. Once that has humbled you and you realise that you’re not as good as you thought, Gold, Silver and Bronze all await you. If you complete the event on a higher medal colour, you’ll be rewarded more credits, which can be used to buy better cars.
“Kudos” as mentioned at the beginning, is a form of reward for when you do mind-numbing drifts and stunts in your car. Every powerslide, every 4-wheel leap and every draft will reward you with Kudos. You will then start to bump up the Kudos rakings, eventually leading you to the number one spot, officially branding you a PGR3 legend. Kudos however, isn’t used to purchase new cars; that is left to “credits”, which are rewarded when you complete an event. A nice touch to each event is that after you complete it, PGR3 logs your score onto Live, and shows you where about in the world you ranked, on that track — based on your Kudos score.
Once you’re bored of smashing AI opponents into the walls, you can hit the online scene. As with almost every Xbox 360 game, this is where PGR3 really starts to shine. A numerous amounts of different events are available depending on what you feel like. You then get to select your car (depending on what you purchase in single player) and race against other legends from around the world. Some of the races are absolute mayhem, as you’ll find all 8 cars smashing into the wall of the first corner, and then hear a bunch of foreigners complain about how crap everyone is. It’s all good fun and hours of entertainment. You even get rewarded for your multi-player efforts, pushing up the Live rankings, unlocking new rewards for your gamercard, and even being rewards Kudos and Credits to use within the game to buy new cars and move up the Kudos rankings.
Gotham TV is a new addition this year, and to be quite honest — it’s nothing overly special. Gotham TV allows you to spectate on multi-player races in a “replay” style. However, it soon gets dull, and makes you want to get back into racing again very quickly. A nice touch though for when online tournaments arrive, allowing thousands of spectators watch the two best players in the world race in the finals.
You even have the opportunity to play 2-8 players on a system link or 2 player split-screen, if you feel that your best mate is a far easier target. This allows a lot more freedom, with every track unlocked, and every car available. This is a great touch compared to PGR2, which forced you to unlock the tracks and cars in single player before you could race them in Multi-player.
If designing is more your thing, you can use the route creator. This little device lets you create and design your own custom tracks and routes to play. According to PGR3’s in-game tool tips, there are over 100 million combinations of track. Whether that is true or not, we can’t say, but there sure is a lot of customisation to be had, causing you to come back to PGR3 even more!
It seems Bizarre have catered for everything this year. There is an in-game photo mode available. By simply pausing the game during a race at any time, and clicking on “photo mode” you’ll be able to screenshot from any angle, and height and any distance. You could zoom right into the headlight of your car and take a shot, or zoom out, catch the scenery and the car. You can even change the lighting, focus and lens. This is a great opportunity to really take in the environment around you. I found myself looking at my car, then turning the camera away from the car, and moving around the edge, looking at each crowd members excited face, the huge buildings and the superb track detail.
All-in-all PGR3 is amazing. I could bash on about how graphically stunning the game is, the superb tracks (including Nurburgring, you know, the massive 10-minute long track from Gran Turismo 4!), the massive LIVE playability, the awesome attention to detail and even the different modes, but let’s be honest — we all have lives. And besides, I’d rather go back to playing it! Let me put it simply for you all: PGR3 is a must have launch title!