A mediocre pile of of ****. A review by a PGR2 fan.
I am unhappy with quite a few of this game's features. But I'd like to start off with the good about this game first.
1. The graphics are phenomenal. Absolutely outstanding. The car models are detailed lovingly and accurately. I know a Radical SR3 Turbo when I'm looking at one in this game. 2. The replay system. It is awesome. I love the camera angles this system utilizes. It is in every way better than PGR2's replay system, which in itself was awesome itself.
3. Cockpit view. Modeling the interiors of every single car in the game is what some might begin to call overkill, but still, bravo Bizarre. That is fantastic. Even the speedo and tach move.
That's it. Now the bad.
1. AI. The AI in this game consists of a group of kids who idolize Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and own The Fast and The Furious Special Edition Box Set on BluRay. The lines these morons take is absolutely hysterical. They are so wrong and waste so much time and speed that it is incredible that they manage to stay in front of you for as long as they do on some of these races.
AI in PGR2 was intelligent. These cars took lines the proper way: they braked, they took the apex of the corner with no tire squeal AT ALL, and accelerated out of the turn with optimal speed. You had to do the same in turn if you had any chance of beating street races on Gold or Platinum.
2. Car intermixing. How is it possible to have a street race between a Lamborghini Murcielago, a Honda NSX, a Ferrari Testarossa, and a Noble M400 all at the same time? Did Bizarre fire all of its previous designers? Did they hire 12 year olds here? What is going on?! A group of cars consisting of 4 distinctly different classes (not to mention eras) should not perform exactly the same in a race, and yet they do. A Dodge Viper GTS stays neck and neck with a Ferrari F430 in a race stocked to the brim with tight right handers.
3. Difficulty. I realize "Hard" is supposed to be hard, but the races are downright ridiculous on Hard. You must be near flawless on every turn to have any chance of. The first Overtake consists of Murcielagos, Nobles, F430s, Vipers, and Vantages (of all cars). I just managed to overtake 6 cars (Gold) after a good couple dozen retries with seconds remaining.
4. Physics. I think what adds to the above difficulty is the shoddy physics in this game. This is by far the biggest "arcade" departure in the PGR series. The cars feel floaty, the turns feel wrong, it's like I'm playing Crazy Taxi.
PGR2 felt loads more like a sim, with a bit of arcade flavor still mixed in. And I liked that. The driving lines were more defined, and YOU WERE ACTUALLY REWARDED FOR TAKING THEM CORRECTLY. Instead, PGR3's Kudos system commends you on taking "BREAKNECK" powerslides. 5. Sound. Maybe Bizarre just expects you to play your own music. But what in the hell happened to this game's soundtrack? Am I supposed to enjoy listening to an idiotic looping techno beat? Is 85% of this stupid soundtrack techno? I heard ONE rock song when I was watching a replay. ONE. This is simply unacceptable. During several races, I couldn't hear any music at all. Just some muffled noise in the background like a couple of mice screwing behind a wall. PGR2's soundtrack was outstanding. Great, memorable songs played that you looked forward to hearing and instantly recognized when they played again after several hours. 6. XBL interference. A minor quibble, yet a quibble all the same. While I'm in the middle of a race, I can expect to have a stupid pop up telling me that one of my friends has signed on to XBL. But this doesn't just happen once. It happens 6 times. In the timespan of 5 minutes. I hope to God this feature can be turned off.
7. HUD. The vertical line tachometer is simply disgusting. I have previously only seen it in NFS games' multiplayer. It is an awful design and does not belong in the career mode HUD. Again, PGR2 had a normal analog tachometer to indicate when to shift. I understand a view is available to have the tach and speedo in front of you, but it is in a first person view, and this view is simply worthless if you are trying to do well on a Cone Challenge. You can also try and squint at the dash in front of you using the cockpit view (which is a neat feature I do commend Bizarre on.)
8. Weather effects. WHERE ARE THEY? One of the most awesome features PGR2 had were the weather effects. Leaves blew in windy Chicago. Rain poured in torrents (and realistically affected the physics and gameplay) in Sydney. This game feels as barren as Forza 2.
9. Damage modeling. They might as well have left it out completely. What is there is a laugh. Slam into a guardrail going 100, and the sound of the impact is that of a metal bat tapping a street light. The result of the impact is a nickel sized dent and fully functional lights. Oh boy realism!
This game is extremely sloppy. It desperately could have used more polishing time. It still is sort of fun! I mean, it tries so hard to be good. I like the menu layout, I adore the stunningly realistic car models, and even the cone challenges have retained their fun. But it is marred so badly that it just falls flat on its face.
Do yourself a favor, please rent this game if you intend to play it. Save your rambling, Brian. This game is not an 8.8. Nowhere near it. Those interested, rent it. Try it. If you like arcade racers with brilliant graphics, you'll love this. Others who enjoy more sim like gameplay that games like PGR2 provided, stay away.