To create your free account, please enter your email address and password below. Please ensure your email is correct as you will recieve a validation email before you can login.
To log in to your account, please enter your email address and password below:
To reset your password, please enter your email address below and we will send you a link to reset it.
Can Bizarre's final PGR leave a lasting impression as the series heads into an uncertain future...
- Stunning visuals.
- Exhilerating handling.
- Strong off and online modes.
- It's the last PGR from Bizarre.
- The bikes aren't as much fun as cars.
- It won't change your mind if you don't like PGR.
Following Activision's surprising recent acquisition of the talented UK studio, Bizarre Creations' fourth title in the popular PGR series is something of a bittersweet experience. Undeniably the highlight of the series and a return to the splendour of PGR2, the irresistible success of PGR4 is somewhat countered by the fact it's going to be the last true title in the series before it's farmed of to another studio.
While we wait to see whom Microsoft has in store (odds on Turn 10) for the somewhat inevitable PGR5, the last title from Bizarre stays predictably close to the winning formula established since the 2003 release of PGR2. The same compelling blend between arcade racer and something slightly more serious; coupled with a clever kudos system, a rewarding career mode, and exciting online action ensures PGR continues to stand out in a crowd of heavyweight opponents.
Without the pressures of a system launch to rush for, PGR4 features a significantly expanded set of cities and vehicles compared to its predecessor. Joining London, Las Vegas, Tokyo, New York City and Nurburgring is Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Macau, and Quebec, whilst the removal of the 170mph+ restriction opens up the list of vehicles considerably.
PGR4 All Year Round
PGR4's most immediate quality is the variety and quick-paced nature of the career mode. Based around the calendar, with various events becoming available on certain days of the month, PGR4 replaces the typically slow and repetitive, race-after-race grind, of previous versions (and racers in general) with something quick, varied, and deeply satisfying. Beginning at the bottom of the leaderboard, the career mode challenges players to rise through the four ranks of Amateur, Pro, Hotshot, and Master on the way to the top. With many of PGR3's events returning alongside a handful of new types, PGR4 continues the series' legacy of providing the variety and instant gratification required from an arcade racer.
Geared around a championship structure with points awarded based on the combination of position and kudos points scored on the track, the change brings an end to choices of bronze, silver, gold and platinum difficulty and the need to constantly repeat failed events. Each championship pits the player against three similarly placed rivals across a series of events, instilling a sense of personality that was missing in previous titles and a more pronounced sense of rivalry.
Throughout the year, Invitational and Major Tournaments expand upon the standard selection of events. Invitational events are the key to unlocking some of the unique vehicles found in the game by competing in some of the more creative challenges PGR4 has to offer, such as 'Electric vs. Petrol' that pits the groundbreaking Tesla Roadster against a Ferrari Testarossa. Major Tournaments initially require a qualifying lap to enter, but provide vast kudos rewards if you can emerge victorious.
Kudos For The Bikes & Bad Weather
With the final attempt at stylish racing perfection and in-line with the streamlined approach adopted for PGR4, Bizarre Creations have once again tinkered with the kudos system. Replacing the likes of the 360 and the Overtake Draft with the useful combo-stringing High Speed technique, PGR4 ditches the unnecessarily complex Combo Bonus for Kudos Stars to string together techniques and rack up the kudos points. Represented by a ring that increases on a 1-5 point scale as the Kudos points roll in, the change is easier to understand and compliments the actual racing action more naturally than before.
The appearance of bikes is one of PGR4's most striking new features. Not so much in their inclusion, but the fact it's two-wheels takes on four in most cases, a mix that is brought to the screen with forceful impact and a satisfyingly bad attitude. Although the overall implementation is unlikely to concern slightly more serious two-wheeled racers such as MotoGP and Polyphony's poorly received Tourist Trophy, the attitude of PGR coupled with the well-tuned balance between cars and bikes creates an adrenaline-pumping match.
With a range of unique kudos tricks such as the obligatory wheelies and endos, racing on a bike is made that little more enjoyable with the range of gestures at the touch of the B button. Nothing characterises PGR4 more than watching a biker pass by and waving his fist in fury from the dramatic in-car view, although pulling the splits whilst bursting past the finishing line comes pretty close.
The trademark PGR handling coupled with the dramatic sense of weight transfer continues to create a visceral driving experience that few can rival, but PGR fans probably need little reminding of this fact given it's become the staple ingredient of the series to date. Although bike handling feels suitably different to the cars, it's purposely not as intricate as the more serious bike sims available.
Another casualty of PGR3's rushed development, weather makes a welcome and dramatic comeback with PGR4. Splashing across the windscreen whilst the wipers are spurred into action, reducing visibility to just in front of the bonnet, or sliding across a plane of ice; weather is not only brought to the series with stunning visual quality and considerable gameplay impact, but also elevates the feature due to its dynamic nature. Opening the possibilities to an endless combination of possibilities, PGR4 ramps the difficulty by changing the weather frequently mid-race but done with such a high level of quality and subtlety that you'll often finish a race in the rain but forgotten that it had started dry.
Online Career Hits The Curb
Extra vehicles, tracks, and other goodies appear in Marketplace-friendly packs unlocked with kudos points at the PGR Shop. Grouping multiple cars, bikes, tracks, and modes provides a more rewarding sense of progress and a faster pace more suitable to an arcade racer, along with the ultimate challenge for the GamerScore obsessed to acquire the 'Buy An Achievement' Gamer Pic for one million kudos points.
Establishing a strong reputation on Xbox Live since PGR2 launched the online service several years ago, PGR4 looks to continues the trend with multiplayer modes that will keep PGR4 in your 360 for months to come. Replacing the convoluted on/offline career format, PGR4 makes it easy enough to get a game going with your mates on Race, Eliminator, Cat & Dog, and the all-new unlockable Bulldog mode. Ranked matches cover a range of single and team events and championships, using the TrueSkill based matchmaking and party setup similar to Halo 3. Providing PGR4 achieves the popularity of previous versions, Team Championship and Bulldog should be firm fixtures on the Xbox Live Most Played lists for some time to come.
Away from the online and career, the arcade mode provides 10 chapters of six bike and car challenges. With the option of platinum, gold, silver, and bronze medals dictating the difficulty of the challenge, the arcade mode feels a lost closer to previous PGRs and adds a further layer of long-term replay value to a game that's already heavy with content.
TVG Store - Finding you the cheapest price for:
Project Gotham Racing 4
Gameseek £16.74 In Stock Buy From Here Simply Games £17.85 Temporarily out of stock Buy From Here