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Project Gotham Racing 2 Is The Greatest Console-Exclusive Game Ever Made, Period

Posted by on June 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

This week, the FleshEatingZipper Staff is writing about their favorite console-exclusive games, ever! Agree or disagree in the comments below!

If you’ve listened to our podcasts before, you know I have a certain affinity for Project Gotham Racing 2 (or PGR2, as we call it). I’ve written at length about it, sure, but how did it come up to be the best console-exclusive game ever? I mean, people who write articles like this are going to say Zelda-something or Call of Duty-whatever. This was easy, though: my hands were pretty much tied.

Yeah, I’m not really sure how either, but I’ve maintained a list of all my favorite games ever, starting eight years ago and sporadically updated since then. It keeps my feet on the ground, reminds me that I know where my loyalties are. So, yes, as you see there, my first five games are PC-exclusive (or had quite-poor PlayStation translations) and PGR2 is first up as console-exclusive favorite.

I don’t need to retread old ground, but here’s why:

– It’s the best racing game ever. It blends arcade gameplay with more sim-like handling with (then) super realistic environments. The cars feel right, the racing feels spot on, and just… holy cow it’s fun.

– It’s fun! The variety of events ensures you’re not bored by the offerings as you race through the tiers. From Cone Challenge events that put your car handling skills to the test to straight up races and speed tests, this is a game that actually makes a point to be enjoyable. It doesn’t need ultra-tubular this or high-super mapping, it just needs to be an enjoyable sequence from beginning to end, a game that makes you want to come back over and over again. It’s so enjoyable that it got me excited to play Blur after the third and fourth installments failed to grab me like 2 did.

– The multi-player was AWESOME! Not that you’ll believe me, now that Xbox Live for original titles is done and gone, but I topped a million Kudos by just futzing around on race tracks with peeps like Johnny. I’ve told it a billion times before, but one time we were up so late playing it (about 4AM) that when I went to do some Matchmaking, I only ended up playing against French and Germans who left the game when I made poor attempts to gab with them. Outside of EverQuest and World of Warcraft, this has been my biggest time sink as a multiplayer game ever. The latter games just took the formula too seriously with the TrueSkill rankings and that.

– It happened to be gorgeous. The original game was a quick-and-dirty port of Metropolis Street Racer for the Dreamcast that looked the part. With two years and full, exclusive development on the Xbox, the game looks infinitely better. From the recreations of European cities like Barcelona and Florence to Hong Kong and Chicago, beautiful cars, and a stunning, minimalist interface (that I initially hated), this game was a looker.

– It was packed to the gills with content. With 120+ cars, a ten hour campaign (not including redos to get better medals) and the very first iteration of Geometry Wars, this was pretty much the only disc spinning in my original Xbox for months. Also, a killer multiplayer? Mind-blowing.

It’s unfortunate that Bizarre Creations could just never recapture that lightning, but as it stands, they’ve done well enough: they made the best console-exclusive game of all time. I guess that’s really all that matters.

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