Read a Game?: A Two Fer Edition

December 18, 2009


This is my attempt to close out Round 1 of Apples ‘n’ Oranges. Seeing as I did not go back and replay either of these games (and have traded them in for Mass Effect 2 pre-order money), this is going to be relatively brief. I’m going to review these games based off of what I can remember about them, so I am not going to go though all the Apples ‘n’ Oranges rigmarole.

Project Gotham Racing 4

Gamerscore after playthrough: 855/1000

This is Bizarre Creations last PGR game (and my first one to play). It’s go a similar career structure as GRiD, but with a more arcade-y feel and the option to race cars OR bikes. Weather effects can throw monkeys into your wrenches. Yes, there is drift racing, but it is drift racing done right. Drifting is a part of the normal race engine, so you do not have to learn 2 different sets of physics rules like you do when, say, Need for Speed digs out the drift stuff. Of all the games in Round 1, this is the game where I hated the drift stuff the least. Speaking of drifting, you earn “kudos” for things like drifting, along with overtaking people in the race, winning, and maybe clean sections. You spend kudos on things ranging from useful (car and track packs) to kind of lame (helmet designs) to downright hilarious (like the million kudo gamercard picture).

The graphics were cool at the time. The weather effects spiced things up. The build-your-own livery system is on par with GRiD’s, but without the sponsorship aspects. I do not remember anything about the sound.

The interface is a little clunky, if I am remembering right. Things glitched in a “positive” way, especially when I was buying stuff to get the “bought it all” achievement. The biggest letdown was the lack of replay. I beat the career, played through the arcade mode once, and felt down with the game.

Morality wise, I do not remember anything one way or another.

Total time:

Gameplay: 4/5

Presentation: 4/5

Interface: 4/5

Replay: 3/5

Morality: 5/5

Total: 4/5

Burnout Paradise

Gamerscore after playthrough: 555/1000 (Reason for the low score forthcoming)

Criterion’s latest racer, Burnout Paradise brought the Burnout style of gameplay into a true open-world environment. No retry button, no in-game mini-map, no invisible walls forcing you to go one way. Just you and your car killing other cars. In fact, the open-world environment got a little annoying. The PS3 version included the option to upload your save to EA’s website to get a personalized “You missed stuff'” map. They never brought that option to the 360, as far as I can tell. I beat the game with all but a couple of each of the smash into something collectibles found. My options were to use a walk-though to go to every run into things collectible to find those last few or forget about 80 points. I chose the later. Combine that with the 285 on-line points, and that explains that.

Getting off that rabbit trail, boosting works differently depending on what car you are in. The Aggro boost works like the traditional boosting system: By killing somebody, the bar extends and fills up; by being killed, the bar shrinks and empties. The stunt boost fills when you pull stunts. The speed boost fills when you use all of your boost at once, allowing you to build up “boost chains” (keep holdin’ down the boost button). Crashing takes away boost. This is not so bad with aggro and stunt, but makes speed just about less than useless. The AI is acceptably aggressive.

The soundtrack was the best of the bunch. A good combination of instrumentals, Paradise City, and indie. The graphics were pretty good too. The typical for Burnout lack of car coloring options was still there.

It is a long game (expect to have to beat every race at least twice). It has a ton of on-line content, both co-op and competitive. If you are off-line (like me), there is nothing really to do after you get that 100% I never bothered to get the last 2% on.

Morality-wise, the big premise is kill the other cars. That deserves a hit.

Gameplay: 4/5

Presentation: 4/5

Interface: 4/5

Replay: 3/5

Morality: 4.5/5

Total: 3.9/5

So, there you go. Let’s review Round 1 of Apples ‘n’ Oranges:

1st Place Forza 2: 4.8/5

2nd Place DiRT: 4.6/5

3rd Place GRiD: 4.2/5 (really?)

Also Rans

Need for Speed Most Wanted: 4/5; Project Gotham Racing 4: 4/5; Burnout Paradise: 3.9/5

Need for Speed Carbon: 3.2/5

I really want to disagree with myself and put either Most Wanted or Burnout in at 3rd place, but I’m not going to fight my own review system.

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