Project Gotham Racing 3 retrospective



May 4, 2013

Until I dug it out again earlier this week, I had completely forgotten that one of my favourite things in Project Gotham Racing 3 is the loading screens. Each one highlights a move that will earn Kudos, the in-game driving points that make PGR stand out from other racers, but for some reason the local descriptions for each activity are just dumped onto the same screen. This means that I got to spend many happy hours passing the time between races by reciting terms like 'drafting' in a range of languages. Rebufo. Aspiration. Scia. Windschatten.

I suspect this was just Bizarre Creations having a bit of fun - in pleasant contrast to the humourless Forza Motorsport series - but I suppose it might also have reflected the fact the game was finished in a hurry. When I went to see the developers a couple of years after PGR3 came out, they freely admitted they ran out of time getting it ready for the Xbox 360 launch. That's why, for example, the Nurburgring races at the end of the career mode give up their medals so easily; each of them takes around 10 minutes to complete, and there just wasn't time to balance them.

Nearly eight years on, those rough edges are clearly evident, while graphics that seemed so futuristic in 2005 now feel flat and coarse, with a strange crosshatching effect visible on textures in the middle distance and trees that wouldn't look out of place in Minecraft. The cars are still beautiful, of course, especially the Ferraris - 105,000 polygons is more than enough to capture a Maranello outline - but if you pull the disc out and replace it with PGR4, the change is considerable.

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