"A clash of the titans is coming later this year"
In the Green Corner, representing Xbox and from Bizzare Creations we have Project Gotham Racing 2 and in the Blue corner representing Playstation 2 we have Gran Turismo 4. Let's get ready to rummmmbleeee. Those previous sentences basically sums up what is going to happen in November/December this year when these two titles are released. Gran Turismo 4 may have the history and fans but Project Gotham Racing 2 has enough up its sleeve to seriously challenge this formidable driving champion.
Project Gotham Racing 2 is being developed by Bizarre Creations who also developed the original game as well as Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast. Those previous titles are very much in the same vein as Project Gotham Racing 2 and it looks like third time lucky may ring true for the developers. Project Gotham Racing 2 relies on both driving skill and finesse. Winning races will progress drivers further into the game, but at some point they will have to use skills to earn kudos.
Kudos is gained by performing skilled manoeuvres such as 360 turns, and drifting around corners, one touch of a wall however and that Kudos is lost. It works very much like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Drivers can string tricks together and multiply their points. However the longer a set of manoeuvres goes for, the easier it will be to crash. Each track has bronze, silver and gold kudos levels. Bronze is usually required to progress to the next track but silver and gold may unlock extras such as brand new cars for players. There will be two new ways to gain Kudos over the original, keep your car squeaky clean and stay on the racing line.
Like the original title, Project Gotham Racing 2 will boast a bevy of exotic cars for players to use. For the first time since the car was released, the Ferrari Enzo will appear in Project Gotham Racing 2 in what we can only assume to be the pinnacle, the reward for basically completing the game. Other manufacturers include BMW (Z4), Porsche (GT2), Pontiac (GTO) and many others. One thing is for sure, there will be more cars then the original. More then 50 are set to be included.
As well as new cars there will be new cities. Gone are, New York, San Francisco and London. The new cities include Barcelona, Edinburgh, Florence, Chicago, Moscow and it was recently announced that Sydney will feature in the game. Each of these cities have been painstakingly recreated using photos and information about each city. Sydney is looking stunning featuring the two major landmarks; The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as well as other landmarks visitors to the city may remember such as Jacksons on George Street, and The Rocks. As you can see from the screens, the developers really are going to the nth degree in recreating these cities in all their glory. Sydney, as you can see, also features on the box art worldwide.
Whilst it wasn't featured in the original title (primarily because Xbox Live was just a twinkle in gamers eyes back at launch), online will heavily feature in the sequel. Players will be able to race each other online, download ghosts to try and beat the best times in the world, and leaderboards for all the single player game modes will also feature. For those without Live, system link will also be included as well as split screen racing.
Visually it looks like Project Gotham Racing 2 is set to up the ante for racing games on the Xbox. The aforementioned photo realistic cities as you can see from the screens are looking gorgeous and the cars replicated in every way possible. The game was originally a sixty frames per second title, but Bizarre recently disclosed that it has now dropped to thirty to keep the frame rate stable and constant.
Radio stations and custom soundtrack are again included. The radio stations featured are real stations located in the real cities featured in Project Gotham Racing 2. For those who would rather just listen to music rather then DJ's, custom soundtrack via the in game cd player makes a return from the original game.
Whilst Project Gotham Racing 2 probably won't knock Gran Turismo off its high perch, it will seriously challenge the game and offer Xbox gamers a great racing game both on and offline. Featuring real cities and real cars gamers will be able to truly enjoy the title, especially if they live in any of the cities featured. Project Gotham Racing 2 is currently scheduled for release on the 28th of November 2003 and is published by Microsoft. More information on this title soon.