Publisher: Microsoft Developer: Bizarre Creations Released: 23rd March 2006 Players: 1 / online www: microsoft.com/games Rating: G
A visual tour de force, the Project Gotham titles have always dazzled the senses, while at the same time providing an incredibly well thought out and realistic racing game that people have grown to respect with each passing sequel. Like “simulator” racing titles, you can’t simply hit the accelerator and tear up and down the road like a bat out of hell. Project Gotham Racing 3 is a serious racing game, designed to emulate the realism of actual driving. While some are quick to jump on the “If I wanted a realistic driving game, I’d get in my car and drive to the store” bandwagon, I hasten to remind them that the situations found within the game are a far cry from anything they’ve ever done or will ever do. There are no missions in the game that require you to maintain a speed between thirty five and forty five miles per hour in an effort to get to the local Wal-Mart before they close for the evening for example. Every car handles differently and will react realistically to any given situation. Should you take a corner too fast, you’ll either hit the wall or attempt to drift through the corner, possibly overcompensating for the speed with which you’ve taken the turn and fishtailing out of control only to strike the next wall. As you unlock different vehicles, you’ll have to suss them out in order to truly take advantage of their little intricacies.
There are a number of modes available to you in Project Gotham Racing 3, so those looking for a great single player experience will be thrilled, as will those looking for a fantastic online competition. Though the single player mode is certainly well developed and thought out with plenty of gameplay, it seems apparent to me that the real emphasis placed on PGR3 would is on the Live aspect. Single player Career Mode is exciting and fun, but taking to the online streets is far more entertaining and easily the highlight of the game. That doesn’t mean you need Live to enjoy the experience, it simply means that you should have Live if you want to fully appreciate all that the game has to offer. In many ways, the single player game is similar to the second installment in the series, which is most certainly not a bad thing. Playing the game is a lot of fun, but you can definitely see aspects of the second game here.
Graphically the game is pure eye-candy. The car models are near perfect and the reflections on the cars has to be seen to be believed, the locations are literally stocked with ambience, and the whole experience feels so real, so intense that you actually feel as if you’re there.