Saturday, 1 October 2005

Project Gotham Racing 3 videos

Some shakycam footage of a presentation of Project Gotham Racing 3.

Xbox360 News has six videos. They link to another which is still downloading as I write this.

I have to admit that graphically, it’s very, very good. There’s no substitute for actually playing it though. Looking at these videos does make me think that the game may well actually be ready for launch day – for an idea of software manufacturing schedules, note that Visual Studio 2005 is due to RTM on 14 October with physical product supposedly available on 7 November. In both cases the manuals and boxes can be pre-prepared, with only the DVD duplication required. Bizarre Creations still have probably a month to fine-tune the game.

There’s something worrying me. In the first video (actually the fifth link, named ‘pgr3gp1.wmv’) the menu has ‘Buy A New Car’ and ‘Sell Car’. I’ve played many games where you have to earn money to buy new cars and they’re universally a pain – you can never, ever afford a decent car, and the sale price is a small fraction of what you paid to buy it. It doesn’t look like PGR3 will have ‘repair’ requirements though, where you have to pay to repair your car. This was one of the many, many things that made Sega GT (a freebie with my Xbox) completely annoying and unplayable (on the other hand, the other freebie game, Jet Set Radio Future, is one of my all-time favourites and one of the major reasons I bought the console).

I recall that PGR2 has ‘Kudos Tokens’ which you earn by gaining a level, which you do simply by earning Kudos (basically by racing well or doing tricks like sliding the back end out or doing donuts, although I hope that’s easier on the new game). You unlock cars by exchanging Kudos Tokens, and in PGR2 you can’t sell a pony that you’ve bought. Having said that in PGR2 it’s rare that you’ll buy a complete dud because the car stats are pretty accurate (indicating that the Porsche Cayenne Turbo is by far the best SUV for example). As long as you’re not penalised too heavily for making a bad car choice, I’m happy. PGR2 also had a test drive feature but I’ll confess I never used it! PGR3 is meant to have much more level car sets, so there isn’t one ‘right’ car to use for a section of the game.

Here’s hoping they skip the American Muscle section this time. Last time out you’d got used to the nice-handling-but-a-little-slow cars in the early stages of the game, only to suddenly encounter cars which accelerate fast but lurch all over the place, and have no brakes to speak of. These cars were uniformly awful, there was no good one in the bunch. Making it through this section was a tedious slog, and it was a definite relief when I finished that section and could move onto some cars which, you know, handled.

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