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Project Gotham Racing 4 360 Review

10/05/2011 Specialist Motoring Gamer Review
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Project Gotham Racing 4 360

Project Gotham Racing 4




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Project Gotham Racing 4 360 appealed to my journalistic attention to motoring detail. In particular it rolls out a note perfect Mini Cooper that is to die for.

As a motoring journalist, I enjoy getting to drive a huge variety of cars; this year alone I've driven stuff as diverse as the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and a screen faithful replica of the Ghostbusters' Ecto 1.

Thing is, of all the cars I've driven, my favourite has to be the humble Mini. I've owned 18 different Minis, so it's fair to say that I've got a bit of a soft spot for it. Any time a new racing game is on the horizon I eagerly await to see if it features the world's best small car.

The Mini has featured in many games over the years, but for me no other game has translated the feeling of the car's characteristics as well as Project Gotham Racing 4. Sure, there's more exotic metal on offer in Project Gotham Racing 4, but in my opinion, the game's recreation of the mark one Austin Mini Cooper S is as close as you can get to driving a real Mini without getting out onto the road or track.

The original Mini is famous for its handling and this is where Project Gotham Racing 4 gets things so right. By modern standards the Mini is blessed with neither masses of power or torque, so switching to manual allows you to shift up and down through the four-speed gear box at just the right time, enabling you to wring every last rev from its 1275cc engine.

Playing Project Gotham Racing 4 with a force feedback steering wheel, you feel totally connected to the little car's front wheels. The Mini responding almost instantly to your steering inputs, just as in the real world.

OK, the Mini might be lacking when it comes to top speed, but cornering at 70+ miles per hour is superb fun.

Project Gotham Racing 4's Mini Cooper will gamely fly through bends at full throttle, you can throw it into oncoming bends at whatever speed you feel appropriate and grin inanely as the Mini's mighty four wheel drift carries you through at ludicrous speed. OK, the Mini might be lacking when it comes to top speed, but cornering at 70+ miles per hour is superb fun.

Of course it doesn't matter how good the Mini handles if it doesn't look like one, thankfully the in-game model does the car justice, with the exterior perfectly replicating the Mini's iconic look. The interior view is similarly well detailed, right down to the laughably slow windscreen wipers that barely clear your view during wet races.

Distilling the character of a pretty unique little car down and pouring it straight into your living room.

Project Gotham Racing 4 wasn't the best game in the series and nor is it the best overall racer on the 360 - I'm still quite taken with Forza 3 - but with its replication of the Mini it succeeds in a way that many other games don't, by distilling the character of a pretty unique little car down and pouring it straight into your living room.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off for another few laps in the world's favourite small car.

Written by Adam Sloman

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Adam Sloman writes the Motoring Gamer column.

"My game reviews mix my motoring journalism day job with a passion for videogames and racing games in particular. It's were I hope to pass on a little of my motoring insight and bring a little reality to the world of virtual racing."

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