NEWS - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gamers Are Unhappy With PGR 3

Bizarre Creations’ official community website suffers deluge of criticisms from fans of the next-gen racing game. But are they valid? We’ve all been expecting Project Gotham Racing 3 to be one of the Xbox 360’s hottest games at launch, but a blizzard of forum posts on developer Bizarre Creations’ official community website has led to worries that the racer isn’t quite as souped-up as we hoped. Xbox 360 owners in North America – who have been playing Gotham 3 since the console launched there last week – have been posting on the forums at with a number of problems and concerns. The main grumbles are that the single-player game is too easy and consequently much shorter than that in PGR2, and that players are restricted to certain classes of cars in ranked online races. But other issues – like the Ferrari F50 being so powerful that it unbalances online games and the fact that races are not timed – are also causing grumbles. The problem with the single-player difficulty level is a particularly important issue for those Xbox 360 gamers who won’t have Xbox Live. “In short the game is a bit easier, but doesn’t make it much less fun,” says forum poster McLarenF1God, before explaining that he’s more interested in the online mode anyway: “I wouldn’t like it to be too long again, I have online races to play!” And Bizarre’s decision to restrict gamers to certain classes of cars depending on the circuit in ranked online modes has caused conflicting opinions. For example, on short, fast courses you’re restricted to the slower Class E cars, while on the sprawling Nurburgring circuit you can only use Class B cars. “There are a lot of courses you’ll miss out driving on unless you stick to certain classes that are pre-chosen,” explains McLarenF1God. But other forum posters point out that this feature helps to balance the online experience. “One of my largest gripes about PGR2 was that people would almost always choose the Ultimate Class on Live which kept me from driving my beloved Viper too often,” says Jaws, explaining that restricting the car class takes the choice out of players’ hands. And you can choose any car from any class in the unranked Playtime mode. One problem that has caused everyone to get upset, however, is the total lack of a race-timing clock. It seems Gotham is completely without any sort of on-screen timer, meaning you can’t measure your lap times. “It seems a bit weird not having one. Its fun bragging about who got the best laps to your mates, etc,” says poster Takeshi Kitano, while Mr Herer gets straight to the point: “No clock? In a racing game? Sounds a bit mentalistic to me.” Other posters gripe that the Ferarri F50 is too powerful and ruins online races, but that’s largely because the real Ferrari F50 goes like stink off jobbies. Then there’s the accusation that it’s too easy to spin out other racers (making those annoyingly aggressive drivers on Live even more powerful) but it should be pointed out that nudging a car’s arse at 100mph will usually send it spinning into the ditch. We’ve been in touch with Microsoft and Bizarre Creations to get their reaction to these criticisms and are currently awaiting comment. While it’s worrying to hear such negative feedback on one of the Xbox 360’s biggest and most eagerly-awaited games, it’s worth mentioning that most of the forum posters have also pointed out that the game is still great. But the criticisms prove that if you want the definitive verdict on Gotham 3 you’ll have to pick up the next issue of Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine, on sale December 9, for our huge Gotham 3 review and an exclusive driving masterclass from Adam Plumb, the UK’s official Forza Motorsport champion. PGR3 is an Xbox 360 launch game in Europe, so you’ll be able to get it on Friday when the console launches.

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