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Review: PGR4

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Project Gotham Racing, the game that started it all on the Dreamcast several years ago has returned. It’s made a wonderful transition from the Dreamcast to the Xbox and finally to the Xbox 360. With every version of this game it just gets better and better. PGR4 takes the series into the 2nd generation of the Xbox 360. It combines arcade racing, photo realistic graphics and a robust online community into one superb package.

There’s been an ongoing debate about the graphics of PGR4 versus Gran Turismo HD. While GT5 may be the best looking racer to date when it gets released, right now PGR4 takes the title with ease. It’s amazingly photo-realistic thanks to the lighting and accurate car details. You can see reflections off of puddles, droplets of rain water on the car and beautiful back drops on each track. The game flies by at 60fps on and offline. Even with the tremendous amount of detail in the beautiful vistas of each track, PGR4 never even hiccups.

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Gameplay hasn’t changed much at all. This time around however, you can race using motorcycles as well as cars. Motorcycles are fast and can take better corners than cars. The car versus bike matches are great. You’ll have to gain some Kudos to unlock some of the better vehicles. Kudos can be gained doing a variety of power slides, perfect runs, wheelies, jumps and other things you shouldn’t be doing at home kids. With Kudos you can also unlock other tracks and helmets.

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The online features are very robust. There’s a picture mode just like in Forza 2. You can take photos and upload them to the PGR community website for all to view. People can also see your pictures in game in their garage. You can cast votes on the pictures you like or not vote at all. The garage stores all of your vehicles. As you move up in rank in career mode, you can unlock other garages. Oh and if you didn’t know already, there’s an arcade machine in your garage. It’s the full version of Geometry Wars Waves. This is a special version of the game just for PGR4 owners. No points needed to play!

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Playing online is a blast. You can chat while flying down busy streets in some of the fastest cars in the game. While it can get really competitive online, it’s always fun whether you win or lose. There’s little to no car damage in the game, so you don’t have to worry about not finishing a race. All your stats are recorded online via Xbox Live. You can view other online races that have been saved to PGR On Demand. You can also race against other players ghosts to test your skills.

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PGR4 is definitive of what a next generation racer should look and play like. It is currently the best arcade racer on the market. Graphically it blows everything else away, including Forza 2. Now if Forza had PGR4’s graphics, it would seriously give GT5 a run for it’s money. I can’t wait to see what Turn 10 is planning next. Now that Bizarre is owned by Activision, we may see a multi-platform PGR type game in the future. This is good for all gamers.

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