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Behind the Game:

Full-Throttle Evolution


By Keith Procter

Whether you’re talking about Mother Nature, technology, or your own offspring, the next generation of anything is almost always an incremental advancement over its closest ancestor. But the makers of Project Gotham Racing 2™—Bizarre Creations and Microsoft®, Game Studios—didn’t settle for evolutionary changes. They steered the project into the express lane, mashed the pedal to the floor.

What resulted was a revolutionary leap forward.

If you enjoyed the original
Project Gotham Racing, you’ll instantly recognize the gene pool from which Project Gotham Racing 2 sprang. However, you’ll also notice immediately that the pool is much deeper and wider than the original. New features and functionality have been added, and everything you liked about the original has been tweaked, polished, and enhanced. Here’s a short list of the most obvious ways PGR2™ surpasses the original:

  • The Kudos system has been refined and expanded.
  • Defines the Xbox Live experience.
  • There are more cars to drive (more than 100 to choose from).
  • There are more cities (10) and more than 100 circuits (including the famed 14-mile Nurburgring).

New, Improved Kudos System
The game’s groundbreaking Kudos system has been revamped and broadened. You still earn Kudos for taking risks while driving with speed and flair, but there are more ways to earn Kudos. And, perhaps most importantly, the game’s makers have reduced the impact of minor errors on your score.

For instance, if you’ve earned Kudos by stringing together a combination of maneuvers, you won’t lose all of them if you brush a wall or hit a cone before the Kudos move from your Stash to your Bank. You will lose the Kudos for the flawed move, but you’ll keep the ones you earned up to the moment of impact.

There are 15 ways to earn Kudos. Here’s an incomplete list of scoring categories, with brief descriptions of how they work:

  • Combo Bonus: Earn bonus Kudos for linking moves together.
  • Clean Race: Finish a race without denting the sheet metal.
  • Overtake (Draft): Use a draft to slingshot past a competitor.
  • Draft: Gain extra speed by tailing an opponent (just like Jeff, Rusty, Ricky, and Junior).
  • Overtake: Earn extra Kudos for passing a car.
  • Clean Section: Drive a section of the circuit without hitting anything (“rubbing” other cars won’t hurt you).
  • Air: Get all four wheels off the ground.
  • Two Wheels: Get two wheels off the ground.
  • Race Line: Maintain optimal speed when cornering.

Debuting in PGR2 are Kudos ranking levels. You begin at Kudos Rank 1 and then advance up the ladder. You also earn Kudos Tokens each time you reach a higher Kudos Rank, which can be exchanged for new cars.

Race the Best of the Best
For me, the most compelling addition to the game is the fact you’ll be able to compete against real folks on Xbox Live. Not only can you compete in eight-car races, but there are also more than 400 Scoreboards, where you can get planet-wide recognition or claim bragging rights against friends by posting the fastest and most stylish runs. Want help improving your performance? Download a Ghost of more accomplished racers, then race against them or watch how they toured the course.

An Intense International Road Trip
You won’t need your passport to play PGR 2, but you will traverse the globe in pursuit of driving excellence. All of the stunningly rendered cities and tracks in PGR 2 are new. New York, Tokyo, London, and San Francisco have been replaced by Edinburgh, Moscow, Barcelona, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Nurburgring, Florence, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Sydney, and Nuremberg.

Acres of Cars
You’ll love the number of cars that are included in PGR 2. Your choices range from the more standard to the sublime to the ridiculously overpowered, and nearly all the world’s major brands are represented. You’ll find supercars like the Enzo Ferrari and Porsche Carrera GT, as well as classic rides like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing and Pontiac GTO that are available in no other driving game. And to make your ride even sweeter, you have grounded-in-reality driving physics that made the original PGR a hit and improved damage modeling in PGR 2.

Miles of Gameplay
If you liked PGR as much as I did, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something to complain about in the upcoming release. Even if you’re a graduate of the “glass-is-half-empty” school of gaming, you should be prepared to drink deeply. I guarantee you will have a hard time exhausting this game because there are so many ways to play it.

PGR 2 is more than a small, evolutionary advance. It is rocket-powered flight to a higher level of driving (game) satisfaction.


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