Project Gotham Racing 3 offers a lot of varied styles of play, and many cars to choose from. No matter if you've only got a few minutes to play before going somewhere, it will fulfill your needs. You can simply start a quick race with the AI cars, choose your own car, and their cars, race track, day or night and so on. The game simply offers a lot of different things from you to choose from, to make your race special and something you haven't really tried before. You've also got the opportunity to 'Race Against the Clock'. This is simply what it sounds like, that you have to set the best time. It offers a lot of challenge and you might just set a certain time that you want to reach.
And of course, there's also the Gotham Career. This was the playtype I started out with, when I first got the game. You'll participate in a lot of racing events to improve your current ranking in the game. There's a lot of different cups and events to choose from, and each have a minimum of two races.
Not only will you be playing the normal 'Street Race', but also others such as 'Cone Challenge', which in my opinion is the hardest.. Sometimes.
There's a good number of cups, and it changes from one playtype to another, so you'll experience something new each time.
The offline ranking system is quite simply. You earn Kudos by performing moves such as Power Slides, Drafting, Drifting and you can also complete your fastest lap. After earning a certain amount of Kudos, you gain a new rank. And also, by gaining Kudos you can unlock new cars.
The higher rank you are, the more Kudos you will of course need before gaining a new rank. Starting from the few thousands of Kudos, to hundreds of thousand of Kudos. I haven't even reached Rank 1 yet, but I plan to do so sometime. But trust me, you'll be spending a lot of time racing if you want to reach Rank 1 and unlocking all the cars.
While the offline actually offers a lot of playtime and things to do and unlock, there's a major focus on the online as well. Keep in mind that you need Xbox Live Gold to play the game online, but it's money well spend.
Online, this game offers a lot. An online career mode, which is very similar to the offline career, except you are of course racing against other players. You'll choose from one of the many types of tracks and car classes that you'd want to race, and then wait for more players to join you. Once you're set, the race will be started. The online career also offers ranking. This doesn't unlock new cars though, but simply a higher rank in the online career, and your rank will be displayed when you're in the lobby system.
But the online career isn't everything. There's also simple player matches online. You can create a race, or join a race already going on. There's a lot of different types of races here too, and recently a new one was added with an update for the game.
To find a race, you can simply quick search for one. It will find one quickly and put you directly into it.
Of course, you can also set options that the race will need to fulfill. Such as a car class, manual or automatic transmission and so on. (This is very similar to Halo 2's Matchmaking.)
When the search is finished, it will then display a list from you to choose from. It also shows the latency (Connection), how many players, what city they're racing in and useful information like that.
There's also tournaments in the game, and you'd almost always find a tournament ready for you to join. Of course, they only choose a number of racers that may join. So you'll need to drive a track, and make it under a certain time. If you make it to the tournament, you'll later have to go online and race against the rest of the players who made it into the tournament.
Well, enough about that! There's also the Gotham TV! Here you can see the Heroes Channel, that shows you the best online PGR3 racers. Good luck making it onto that, as it might prove to be a bit tough.
There's the Tournament Channel, where you can watch any Tournaments going on right now, if there is any. If you have some friends on your friendlist who is currently playing PGR3, you can see what they're doing by choosing the 'Friends Channel'. You can also watch your saved replays in here.
And now to my, somewhat, favorite part of this game - Photos.
You can look at all of the photos you've saved right here, or delete them if you don't like them after all. You can even upload them, and then share them on the internet via the official website!
This option to upload was given only a while back, and I personally thinks that it gives a lot for you to do. Catch the perfect picture, and then show it to your friends or wherever you'd want to show it.
Taking photos is also really easy. You simply press Start during a race, and choose the last option in the Pause Menu. Then you'll be able to take a Photo anywhere on the track, and then add some effects to it to make it look even cooler! No photo will be the same!
Coming from the awesome Photo Mode, we go to the controls.
Controlling the car will take some time to get used to, that's why I set the learning curve to 1-2 hours. The controls are basicly perfect set up, and you can easily look back, or change gears while keeping your fingers on the triggers for speed and brake.
But the cars handle differently, and that's what makes it challenging. If you really like a car, then you'd spend a lot of time to make that corner perfect and so on.
The triggers are perfect for what the do. The right trigger is used for speed, and the left is used for brake. The reason they're so perfect assigned is that you can choose to only press the trigger in 75%, and you'll drive that bit slower, and might perform better around the corner. This wouldn't be possible if you were using the A button for speeder. You may of course set the A button for speeder, and you can basicly customize it any way you want, but triggers is, in my opinion, the best thing you can use for speeder & brake.
The sound in this game is.. Awesome. I don't really think it could get any better. The cars sound very real life like, even though I have to admit that I haven't heard most of them in myself, but they sound utterly amazing.
And the soundtrack, it's actually good.. It offers a lot of mixed music for any taste, and fits the game somewhat perfectly.
In Project Gotham Racing, there are of course the well known and highly addictive system: Achievements.
PGR3's achievements really puts you up for a challenge, though some are rather easy like Exotic Car Club. You'll be awarded with that by simply adding some cars to your collection. But, there are some really hard ones. To earn the Style Racer Badge, you need to perform a lot of moves in one race, and the moves ain't that easy. But if you're set up to do this, and you're nicely experienced, then it is possible to do it.
There's also the Platinum Champion. To unlock this, you need to complete the offline career on the hardest difficulty.. And by hardest, I mean almost impossible especially as a new racer.
The graphics of Project Gotham Racing is simply.. Amazing, stunning, beautiful. I play this game on a SDTV, and even though then this game is one of a kind. It's one of the first games released, and the graphics is still as good as the games being released right now, if not better. Of course, the Xbox 360 haven't been out for a long time, but the graphics of PGR3 will remain some of the best for a very long time.
Overall, this is one of the best, if not the best, racing games I've ever tried.
It offers a lot of things for you to do, and even more if you have an Xbox Live Gold membership. If you're doubting if you should or not to get Xbox Live Gold, simply because this is your only game you'll be able to play online, then it's still well worth it. You'll meet a lot of nice guys online, but be aware that some people gets pissed of easily. Even if you hit them on slightly, and it's mostly their fault they spin around, they might just report you. But hey, just ignore them and play nicely. After all, it's not about winning, but simply about having a good time.