Project Gotham Racing 4 (Xbox 360)

Endo in St Petersburg

I’ve been playing Project Gotham Racing 4 over the weekend. It’s good – good enough to take my attention away from Sega Rally, although I was torn over which game to play.

It’s taking cues from Halo in building a community to support it, and delivers online stats and media via an in-game browser and a web service. It looks like the web site isn’t quite done yet – my statistics are not correct at all and the way it only displays five of your latest photos isn’t too convincing.

As with Halo 3, taking photographs is something I’ve spent a lot of time with already. You can set the exposure, focal depth and whatnot, not quite knowing how it will turn out until you hit the shutter. It is really quite easy to take impressive “photographs”; it was my intention to share a bunch with you guys tonight, but the ones above and below are the only good ones the web service selected for display. Oh well, I’ll see if I can work around it.

Triple air in St Petersburg

The motorbikes are the game’s New Thing, and they’re fun. They’re also twitchy and in replays and photos often seem… floaty, like they weren’t quite aligned with the road. They do feel good to drive, though. The dynamic weather also produces some stunning environments to race in – racing some 275 KPH down the strip in a thunderstorm in Las Vegas really brought a smile to my face. Add to that the accomplished soundtrack with plenty of original touches, like the very appropriate Indian rhythms, and you really have a winning feeling.

I also realized that it would be a poorer experience if there was no rumble. You’re really relying on the rumble to tell you when you’re in the sweet spot when cornering, for instance. We’ll see how Gran Turismo handles without it. Sega Rally doesn’t suffer so much, I think, but maybe it’s these more realistic racers which really need that tactile feedback.

The Achievements are the most inspired I’ve seen. Some of my favorites are “knock off the wing mirrors of all your opponents in a race” and “have eight vehicles airborne at the same time”.






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