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Tycho / on Fri, Oct 3 2003 at 1:13 am


When we saw Scott’s Tuesday strip over at PvP, I must tell you - we were overjoyed.  A couple months ago, I told Scott that we were waiting with much enthusiasm for the day he would act against us, and he has not disappointed in the slightest.  We’ve always felt that Scott is at his best when he is at his most aggressive, and we relish this opportunity to return fire in what we hope will be a long-lived feud.  Scott is the only one we ever let draw Penny Arcade, so having a foe we can actually respect is a real thrill.  Also, we hope he enjoys the traffic.  Helping out the little guy just feels good.

I said that I would talk about PGR2 in Wednesday’s post, and it is now my pleasure to do so.  Gabe enjoyed Links, we both enjoyed Top Spin, but if I could have taken one of the games home with me that day I would certainly have made it Project Gotham Racing 2

Gabe could not bring himself to like it, and having been like him once I understand where he was coming from.  I might never have played the first one if it had not been given to me as a gift, as I did not routinely procure games in the racing genre, and also, I thought it had a stupid name - but the original Project Gotham invested me with an affection for racing games that remains to this day.  It was a beautiful game, with real-time reflections and sensuously modeled automobiles - to put it plainly, you won’t be disappointed with the sequel in this regard, either.  Each manifestation of racing for a console re-invents the control scheme, and while I wouldn’t call PGR2 simmy, manipulating these vehicles presents a rewarding challenge.  You earn points - a.k.a. “Kudos” - for flashy driving and not hitting things.  Think of it like a Combo in Tony Hawk, for example:  from the first fancy thing you do, might be a nice turn or something, you’ll start to rack up Kudos.  You can use them to unlock new classes of car.  In the first one, you’d lose all the Kudos in the current “combo” if you suffered a collision, whereas in the sequel you’re simply docked a percentage based on how badly you screwed up.  Considering how hard I typically hit a wall, I have a feeling I won’t be keeping a lot of Kudos - benevolent new system or no.  Let’s just move on.

Project Gotham Racing 2 isn’t a part of the XSN, Online Sportsy thing.  I thought it was, but it’s not.  They’re sort of doing it on their own, with a lot of features that are of interest to a casual racer like myself - features I think will be a fascination for more serious drivers.  Obviously, you’ll be able to compete against seven other people online, either for Kudos or in a regular-old timed race.  You can determine anything you want to about the race you set up, maybe you want only muscle cars or something, time of day, weather, whatever.  You can determine whether or not you want collisions on.  If somebody decides they want to ruin the race for everybody and drive backwards through the track, collisions for that car are automatically turned off - that’s a good idea!  The ten best times for every track in the game - every track - are stored as Ghosts on the server, and you can grab one of these Ghosts any time you want to and learn from it by racing against it.  I saw a guy racing an online ghost in his first lap, and then in his second lap he was racing against his ghost from the first lap and the ghost he downloaded, so on and so forth.  Even when you’re playing on your own, it’s uploading your best times and Kudos rankings to a server, expanding even the single player portion out just a bit into the online realm.  Unique challenges presented online every couple weeks will allow people to compete, perhaps racing through cones on this particular track with this particular car, with the scores updated in real time.  Also, same as Top Spin and Links, two people can race online using the same account - one just joins as a guest.  That’s how it should work. 

It basically does everything a sequel should do.  Then, after it does all that stuff, it does some more.

(CW)TB out.

spent all night practicing the wrong game

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