Project Gotham Racing 4 - first look

Project Gotham Racing 3 was one of the greatest launch titles for the Xbox 360, but it wasn't much of a sequel. While the graphics were obviously sharper, the gameplay hadn't really improved from previous games in the franchise. We were simply too busy drooling at all the shiny next-gen graphics to notice.

Fortunately, the developers at Bizarre Creations aren't content to shovel more of the same to their fans. That's why Project Gotham Racing 4 is being designed as a true upgrade, with several additions radical enough to change the way you play. Honestly.

The biggest is easy to spot if you've been paying attention to any of our screens or video. Sharing the road with the usual assortment of classic and exotic cars (including favorites like the Mini Cooper, Sting Ray and DeLorean) will be speed demons of the two-wheel variety. That's right - PGR is getting motorcycles, from manufacturers as diverse as BMW, Ducati and Honda. What's more, these bikes will add an entirely new dimension of gameplay to the series.

The motorcycles in Project Gotham Racing 4 won't just control like smaller and lighter cars. Bikers will be able to perform maneuvers on the track that none of the drivers can. They can do wheelies, stoppies or endies for extra star power or squeeze between lanes for extra speed and distance. Less obvious are the bike's advantages on certain terrain. For example, a motorcycle can be the safest choice for a snow-covered race because it's harder to drift, intentionally or accidentally.

Of course, the very fact that you can take a bike out in a blizzard and survive the course is proof of PGR's arcade leanings. The developers have added plenty of hardcore touches, like front and rear brake control, but they want players to have fun above all else. How many motorcycle racers have you tried where, every time you attempt a risky maneuver, the bike immediately crashes and your rag doll body bounces limply across the asphalt? In Project Gotham Racing 4, only the most suicidal stunts will result in a wipeout. Feel free to show off.


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