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Sam's PGR2 Preview!


Sam P
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As one of the resident car/racing fanatics of LCVG, I have been quite vocal about my enthusiasm for Project Gotham Racing 2, to be released on the 17th of this month. While I have made it very clear in the past that only the most ?simmy? of racing games gets my bloody really boiling, this one has me as excited as any new Gran Turismo release, possibly even more so. It is, by far, my most anticipated game of the year.

 

To the casual observer, this may be rather perplexing. After all, it is yet another racing title among the myriad available on the 3 current consoles. And there is nothing fundamentally different about the driving compared to the first Project Gotham Racing, or even the seminal Metropolis Street Racer for that matter. You race in all sorts of exotic cars while simultaneously displaying as much hooliganism and tire-burning as possible. A basic premise, but a very, very captivating one.

 

But PGR2 goes beyond all of that. It will have LIVE support, which is huge, but equally important for me, it will have perhaps the greatest racing circuit ever conceived ? the Nurburgring. And not just the new, run of the mill GP circuit, but the bona fide Nordschleife (North Loop).

 

I can probably spend all day telling you what makes a racing circuit great, and why this particular one is the greatest but let?s start with some facts that speak for themselves.

 

? Built in 1925-27 as a dual purpose test track and racing circuit.

? This circuit is long: 13 miles!

? It is twisty as hell with 73 turns (depending on who you talk to because it depends on your definition of a ?turn? but the official number is 73).

? The scenery ? unlike the barren, flattened surroundings of most modern circuits, the ?Ring twists and coils through a lush, mountainous backdrop.

? Its current legal status is that of a one-way, public toll road with no speed limits. Right now it spends most of its time as a testing ground for car manufacturers, tire makers and racing teams. However, there are designated days open for public consumption - you bring your own car, pay a small fee and off you go!

? By far, the most revered aspect of the Nordschleife lies in its nuances. Every turn, every corner has been conceived to torture and upset a car?s balance and composure. Also, there are plenty of dangerous blind corners and little run-off space so it is equally demanding on the driver.

? For example, one corner may have you charging down a steep gradient in preparation for a tight 180 degree hairpin. During the braking zone, there will be large undulations in the pavement to make braking and keeping the car straight very difficult. In addition, the hairpin will be a decreasing radius corner, which tightens as you exit, making it even more difficult to find a good line. This is just one of the many corners that showcase the genius of the ?Ring.

 

The last game that offered the Nordschleife was Grand Prix Legends. Trying to create a virtual representation of this circuit is a big project in itself. I?m very curious just how good of a job PGR2 will do in capturing the ?Ring?s essence.

 

Production car and race car lap times are often posted and compared as a sort of ?bragging right?. After all, a fast lap time on the ?Ring means much, much more than things like 0-60, braking distances or grip around a skidpad because it tests every aspect of a vehicle to the limit for an extended period. By the same token, I think this will be the circuit everyone plays on LIVE. I know Scott is already practising PGR1 in preparation for kicking my ass.

 

A typical lap for a fast car, say a Porsche 911 GT3, will take about 8 minutes ? for a professional driver. I wonder what the laptimes in-game will be like?

 

I don?t think you need to be a rabid car/racing guy to enjoy PGR2. If the physics and gameplay of the original PGR is any indication, it will be a lot of fun even to the casual racing gamer. It?s not as punishing or as repetitive as Gran Turismo and it offers alternate play modes like the Kudos Challenge. Think of it as Tony Hawk Pro Skater with fast cars. Except this time, you?ll be getting a ton of fast cars to choose from, a fabulous track, and even LIVE support.

 

Now do you see what I?m on about?

 

Scott has very graciously agreed to host a little video for me. It's part of a promotional video for RUF (a big Porsche tuner) that was made about a decade ago on the Nordschleife. This driver is definitely a professional and a flamboyant one at that - he insists on taking all 73 corners via powerslides. Very exciting and a little taste of what you'll be experiencing on PGR2!

 

So, watch the video and post comments!

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To be honest, PGR2 is really the only absolute must have on launch day game for me for the rest of the year. I loved the previous two titles in the series, and absolutely can't wait for this one. I'm far from a great player of it, in fact I generally suck at it, but still, I've clocked up a lot of hours on MSR & PGR.

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OK, just finished the video...holy crap is that going to be fun! But wow, what a workout, even on a controller or game steering wheel, one lap is going to burn calories!

 

I suspect that even if the game was dead-on accurate in terms of physics, that the times in the game might be faster. In the game you're free to take ridiculous risks to shave off time that a real driver in a real car would be more hesitant to make.

 

I'm amazed that the guy was able to race like that even with other vehicles on the road!

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Excellent post, Sam!!!

 

That video is intense, makes me want to fire up GPL :D But, one question. What on earth is the driver thinking not wearing a helmet :shock: It's one thing to be confident with ones driving abilities, which BTW he has, but I would never put my life in the hands of an automobile. All he needs is a tire to go out at one of the high-speed corners and he's toast.

 

Now, bring on PGR2 :green:

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I suspect that even if the game was dead-on accurate in terms of physics, that the times in the game might be faster. In the game you're free to take ridiculous risks to shave off time that a real driver in a real car would be more hesitant to make.

 

Definitely. The Nordschleife can be pretty especially bad for traffic on public days. In fact, they actually allow full-sized tour buses on there! Add to that many blind corners and not enough run-off and you've got some risky business.

 

However, the record numbers are obtained with a clear track.

 

What on earth is the driver thinking not wearing a helmet It's one thing to be confident with ones driving abilities, which BTW he has, but I would never put my life in the hands of an automobile. All he needs is a tire to go out at one of the high-speed corners and he's toast.

 

I agree completely. He is, after all, driving at the limits of adhesion (and many times driving beyond it during his power-slides). His skills/experience may be sublime, but like you said some things aren't a matter of skill - like a high-speed blowout, a stalled car around the next blind corner, or a nasty patch of oil. Anytime you're pushing it on a racetrack (and one like the 'Ring) there's a good chance of a mishap.

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Originally posted by Kain rising@Nov 5 2003, 04:59 PM

Wow. If the game does a good job of simulating that track, it should rock! My only worry is "how good will I have to be at the game to unlock it?" :P

Yeah, I hope it won't take much time to unlock. I want to play it as soon as I pop in the game.

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I've been looking on the Bizarre Creations forums to see if I can find out anything about unlocking tracks (especially the 'ring) and cars, and came across a post from the developers saying that about 30 of the 100 or so cars will be unlocked to begin with, both online and offline, but that includes some of the top end vehicles. Nothing on the Ring yet.

 

But I did come across this, which I thought might be of interest:

Nurburgring photolap

 

It's basically a picture by picture "drive through" of the different sections and turns of the course.

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Even if there is a MotoGP 3, it won't happen. Since it's a licenced product they can pretty much only use the circuits that MotoGP actually races on. The single fictional track, Sheridan, was only allowed in the game if it met the same safety and design aspects of the other tracks (IE gravel traps and whatnot).

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Originally posted by dogbert@Nov 12 2003, 07:42 PM

Put my preorder in tonight at my local GameStop (I preorder there as the guys & gal are smart, funny & run a good shop, so they get my custom). However, the manager had no idea of the preorder bonus Soundtrack CD. Anyone preorder from a shop, not the GameStop website, and get it?

You'll most likely get it when you pick up your game.

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Originally posted by dogbert@Nov 12 2003, 10:21 PM

can't wait to get some online racing going for this!

I can't wait either :D

 

Unfortunately, I'll be at the beach from 11/22 to 11/29 for Thanksgiving, so you can bet I'll be online a lot before I go :green: Besides, this will give you guys sometime to win some races before I get back ;)

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Originally posted by Buck+Nov 12 2003, 09:24 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Buck @ Nov 12 2003, 09:24 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-dogbert@Nov 12 2003, 10:21 PM

can't wait to get some online racing going for this!

I can't wait either :D

 

Unfortunately, I'll be at the beach from 11/22 to 11/29 for Thanksgiving, so you can bet I'll be online a lot before I go :green: Besides, this will give you guys sometime to win some races before I get back ;) [/b]

shit man me and my VW, Audi, or Subaru will be waiting for your bitch ass.

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Originally posted by gigapower@Nov 12 2003, 10:36 PM

shit man me and my VW, Audi, or Subaru will be waiting for your bitch ass.

Pffft, remember RSGH? If I can handle an F50 the way I can, do you really think a VW, Audi, or Subaru, will be any match for the greatness that is Buck? I don't think so :P

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