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The PGR series – the game with the odd name

February 21, 2016

A racing game I ever wanted to play, but never did till yet was PGR4. Here is a mini review and series overview:

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The origin of the PGR series was Metropolis Street Racer (MSR), a Dreamcast exclusive. In the past I played MSR (DC), PGR2 (XBox) and PGR3 (360) … but missed PGR1 (XBox) and PGR4 (360). Especially MSR and PGR2 I loved … PGR3 was part of the bundle of the 360 wheel I purchased at the Forza Motorsports 2 release. And it was really good too, but I wasn’t hooked as I was with MSR or PGR2.

Can PGR4 bring the francise back to the old level?

PGR – the game with the odd name:

PGR … what does that mean … PGR? I asked myself as I heard it the first time reading a video game magazine back the time. Literally it means – no joking … Project Gotham Racing!

??? … ??? … ???

Project Gotham Racing!!

*silence*

The first thing I asked myself was: “what does that mean? … Where is the reference to cars or racing? … … Or even to the game??”

What the heck, the developers must be drunk!1

Yeah – what the heck they were thinking??1 The first imagination is, that they had no clue about a good new name after MSR … and then named it … wired! And that’s not far from reality!!

The origin: Metropolis Street Racer

First the game-series was under the license of SEGA. The series was born as an exclusive for SEGAs last console, the Dreamcast and came under the far proper name MSR – Metropolis Street Racer November 2000. This name matches the game perfectly as what it is. A racing game in urban environment.

Maybe today it is usual to drive through real urban 3D environment. But back the day in the year 2000 it was not. It was spectacular how real the cities were modeled and how spectacular they looked … added to that there was the next gen effect, cause the Dreamcast was the first next gen console, with a huge step forward in graphics in comparison to PSX, Saturn and N64.

The game was a cooperation of Bizarre Creation and SEGA. Sega financed the whole project and was the owner of the license. Bizarre Creation became a sort of a 1.5 party of SEGA while the Dreamcast era.

After the Dreamcast, the appearance of SEGA as a hardware manufacturer found to an end and the series went over to the newcomer in the console-business. Bizarre Creation became a first party under the leadership of Microsoft and their new console brand called XBox.

… o.k. … now we are back …. the odd name … game … 😉

The resumption: Project Gotham Racing

Therefore MSR was a game under license of SEGA – they had to look for a new name. All the rights for MSR stayed by SEGA, but there was no dispute between SEGA and MS about the series. The move-over of the series was amicably. So the series stayed an exclusive for one console … the XBox.

Between SEGA an MS there was a special relationship while that time. Rumors say that MS payed SEGA a lot of money to remove the Dreamcast a fast as possible from the market, to assure the new XBox brand a smother chance in the business. While this negotiations Bizarre Creation and the MSR/PGR brand moved over to MS. SEGA withdrawed from the market to give the XBox a better starting-point … with one competitor less.

Regrettebly this negotiations were confidential, so we don’t know the exact agreements.

… o.k. … the odd name …

As I heard first the new name PGR – Project Gotham Racing – I thougth really *WTF!1*

I wondered about the odd name – and the explanation I read in a magazine back the time was even more bizarre. I have read that the developers were big Batman fans – and so they decided to give the game in the early development stage the project-name Project Gotham Racing. So it was in my opinion at first more a fun project name … nothing serious … but they didn’t change it!!! I don’t know why, it sound imo absolute ridiculous – and fits in NO WAY to a racing game. It sounds stupid and inappropriate. I think this name was for a racing game kind of a marketing disaster … and maybe a bad omen for the future of the series. Cause despite of the undoupted high quality of the series, it never sold as good to be able to hang with the big boys of the genre – finally MS canceled the series after PGR4.

PGR on XBox & 360 – short overview:

The first game on the original XBox I missed and don’t know nothing about it 😀 I started with the successor PGR2. This game was outstanding great in everything – graphic and gameplay. Still today I can recommend to play it. Like MSR, PGR2 was the best of the best at its time!

PGR3 was a launch title for the 360 – I played it as mentioned while it was delivered in the 360 steering wheel bundle I bought for Forza Motorsports 2. Forza 2 was great to play with the wheel … … but PGR3 to be honest … I liked it more to play with the 360 standard controller. The game was really good – not my favourate in the series (that’s MSR/PGR2/PGR4) but a really good arcade racing game.

PGR4 – the brillant final of a great series!

PGR4 is simply stunning and one of the best arcade racer of the PS360 era. Even 2016 this game is great to play … and to look at. Of course technically the game is a bit old 2016 (released October 2007) – but the game has a sort of a comic style – this makes it still good looking even today imo. Especially the colorful stages at night still lookin’ famous.

The carhandling ist simply the best you can get in an western style arcade racer and the most fun to drive. The game is outstanding fun!!

I love Japanese style arcade racer like OutRun 2006 C2C too … but they are completely different … … I think I only want to mention that I like OR 2006 a lot … but that does not really belong in here ;D

… … o.k. back to PGR4: for a western arcade racing game, PGR4 has simply the best and most fun car handing ever created!!! Ever in history!!1!!!1

Btw. the puddles in the wetraces are great implemented in the game! The aquaplaning feels absolutely gorgeous!1

… review finished 😀

If you haven’t done it till yet -> buy it now!! You get it for cheap for a couple of bugs and even if you have NextGen consoles (I have meanwhile a PS4) and still a 360 -> buy it, there is no arcade racing game on PS4one which brings you so much fun!! Word!1

Some general PGR4 infos:

Game modes (main): Single play, Online Multiplayer, XBox Live Marketplace

Single play: Arcade Mode, Gotham Career, Time Attack, Costum Match

Racing types: Street Race, One one One, Elemination, Cone Challenge, Elemination, Breakthrough, Kudos vs. Time, Star…

Weather: Sunny, light to heavy rain, puddles/aquaplaning, dusty, snow.

Daytimes: Day, night, dawn.

9 different cities/locations: Las Vegas, London, Macau, New York, Quebec, Shanhai, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, Nürburgring (GP-track and Nordschleife).

Ratings of the whole game series from Videogame magazines back the time:

MSRMetropolis Street Racer (Dreamcast)

IGN                             Jan 19, 2001        9.1 out of 10   rating 91%

Eurogamer.net           Dec 06, 2000      9.0 out of 10   rating 90%

Jexvideo.com            Oct. 31, 2000      18 out of 20     rating 90%

Video Games             Nov. 31, 2000      82 out of 100  rating 82%

 

PGR – Project Gotham Racing (XBox)

Gamesmania.de           Mar 08. 2002      88 out of 100   rating 88%

IGN                               Nov 09, 2001      8.8 out of 10    rating 88%

Game Informer             Dec, 2001             8.5 out of 10    rating 85%

4Players.de                  Mar 12, 2002      85 out of 100    rating 85%

GameSpy                     Nov 14, 2001       84 out of 100   rating 84%

Gamespot                    Nov 13, 2001       8.1 out of 10    rating 81%

Eurogamer.net(UK) Mar 25, 2002      8 out of 10             rating 80%

 

PGR 2 – Project Gotham Racing 2 (XBox)

IC-Games                    Nov 11, 2003           95 out of 100     rating 95%

VideoGamesDaily       Nov 13, 2003       9.2 out of 10        rating 92%

Gamers.at                   Nov 26, 2003          92 out of 100     rating 92%

Extreme Gamer          Nov 24, 2003         9 out of 10          rating 90%

 

PGR 3 – Project Gotham Racing 3 (360)

GameZone                  Nov 28, 2005          9 out of 10          rating 90%

Game Chronicles        Dec 29, 2005          8.6 out of 10       rating 86%

Eurogamer.net(UK)    Nov 22, 2005         8 out of 10           rating 80%

Maniac                       Januar 2006                                     rating 92%

 

PGR 4 – Project Gotham Racing 4 (360)

Eurogamer.net(UK)     Oct 12, 2007       9 out of 10          rating 90%

Maniac                        November 2007                             rating 91%

MSRPGR

 

 

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