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Surprise Game for this Month:

This morning at around 9:00AM I downloaded both the demos for Guitar Hero 3 and Project Gotham Racing 4 from the Xbox Live Marketplace. Guitar Hero 3 is awesome; unfortunately, my guitar is with my brother so I wasn't completely able to appreciate it. So I left the demo and to my surprise, my download for PGR4, which weighed in at 1.2 GB had actually finished downloading.

I wasn't too optimistic for the game. I enjoyed PGR3 and thought it was a great launch title, but personally I played a lot more out of Ridge Racer 6 than PGR3. So I was expecting PGR4 to be the same, usual, sterile driving experience....I mean, as a guy who has played the HELL out of Forza Motorsport 2, you can imagine my expectations for the PGR4 demo were really, really low.

At about 12:30 in the afternoon today I left Data Blitz, with the full version of PGR4 in hand. What happened?

Well, apparently both me and my wife were just so incredibly impressed by PGR4. The graphics have been improved significantly compared to the previous game. I am awestruck by the work on the lighting that Bizarre did for this game. They seemed to have tweaked it so that it looks more photoreal, and more natural. Another aspect of PGR4 which caught my eye is the blur effect. PGR4 sets the argument that you don't need 60 FPS to get a great driving experience. The game just feels fast, and the blur is so well done that you don't really think it's not 60 FPS anymore.

Couple that with a really vibrant, eye-catching GUI....this game screams polish. Yes, there isn't much in terms of customization---that's where Forza 2 trounces it. But in terms of gameplay, graphics, car models and sense of speed....this 30FPS shockingly beats the 60FPS Forza 2.

I know Microsoft let go of Bizarre I understand that that is a HUGE loss for them. These guys have talent, and with the extra time post PGR3, they've made a game which really shows their ability as game developers. I hope MS signs them up for PGR5, or at the very least, ask them to help out with Forza 3. Forza needs a bit of work with the lighting and needs more vibrant, creative racing this respect, PGR4 clearly delivers.

PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 4. This is not a review. But I will say that if you LOVE racing, if you enjoy playing racing games at the nearby arcade, and if you love that sensation of taking a turn stylishly and narrowly missing the wall (by centimeters, no less), BUY THIS GAME RIGHT NOW. Go, Go GO!

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