Preview By: Andrew Joy
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Updated 10/23/05: We've added 12 gorgeous new screenshots of Project Gotham Racing 3 in action. Check them out using the links to the right.
As the Xbox 360 prepares to be the first of the next-generation systems out of the starting gate, Microsoft is making sure it is going to be backed by its software every step of the way. One such game, Project Gotham Racing 3, being helmed by independent developer Bizarre Creations, looks to forever change the way people look at games...literally. Taking full advantage of everything the XBOX 360 has to offer, the latest installment in the PGR series has it all. From high-definition viewing to online modes galore, it is taking a no-man-left-behind approach to functionality.
The high-def compatibility is really nothing new; it has been a term tossed around ever since the last generation of consoles was released. However, the way in which PGR3 aims to utilize it still makes it worth the mentioning. Working with the hardware capabilities of the Xbox 360, PGR3 will allow players to race through the lush and digitally-rendered streets of New York, Tokyo and many more behind the wheel of over 80 licensed cars - including the ever popular Lamborghinis and Ferraris - also brought to life with startling clarity. And, as you vie for position, motion-captured crowds will watch on from the sidelines and stands, hoping to break away from the stilted audiences that plague most sport games.
In addition to HDTV, PGR3 will also support Dolby 5.1. Set to wow players with its attention to detail, the effects include individually recorded engine sounds and the ambient noise that can bring a game to life. To add to the aural delight, PGR3 will also feature over 90 licensed tracks spread across nine different genres.
In racing as in any sport, the players are nothing without fans, a fact the PGR series has well understood. Returning for PGR3, the Kudos system makes a revamped appearance, allowing players with all the right moves to get as far as their skills can take them. Players will earn points for not only placement and skill, but also for style, rewarded for a power slide, 360 and getting your car in the air or on two wheels. Once again you will know just how good you are, but now your skills can translate into real-life, living, breathing fans.
That's right, GothamTV, a feature new to the series, allows Xbox Live players to watch fellow racers from around the world and get an update when a friend breaks a record. You can now challenge almost anyone, at anytime, making for an unprecedented level of interaction between gamers. Of course, Xbox Live wouldn't be complete without clans, so expect to create the ultimate racing team and take the PGR world by storm.
Perhaps the best part of this is that everything, from the tracks to the cars, is available to you from the moment you turn on the game. Go anywhere, race anything, the choice is yours now and the ability to forego those hours of grueling racing in order to unlock it all means that even the most casual of gamers should be able to pick up and play PGR3 and have fun!
Built around the idea of attracting and pleasing a more varied audience, taking you around the world for your racing events and giving you the keys to some the most desired and fastest vehicles, one could easily say that Project Gotham Racing 3 is the driving force behind the launch of the Xbox 360.
Posted: 2005-09-30 21:23:40PST