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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Codemasters

 

Developer

Codemasters

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Very nice graphics
- Accurate tracks
- Good menus
- Variety of cars, tracks and weather conditions

 

 

- Story mode… with cutscenes?
- Mostly run of the mill

 

 

Review: Project Gotham Racing (XB)

Review: Rallisport Challenge (XB)

Review: Crazy Taxi 3 (XB)

 

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Pro Race Driver

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

pro race drive xbox review        pro race drive xbox review

 

When I think Codemasters, I think accuracy, true to life, reality, and simulation. In fact, most people probably think this, especially if they’ve played any of the Colin McRae games. Pro Race Driver (PRD) fits the bill as typical Codemasters faithfulness to reality. Besides the accuracy of the cars, PRD features realistic tracks right down to many advertisements.

That last statement might be a bit of an assumption as I’ve only had real-life experience with one of the tracks: Vancouver. Zipping around that track for the first

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time really brought home how realistic games are getting these days. GM Place, Skytrain, the Georgia Street viaduct, Pacific Boulevard, Quebec Street, and Science World are all instantly recognizable, as is the layout of the track. They even got most of the sponsorship ads right. For me, this is the first game that brings home the leaps and bounds videogames have made.

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So although I can’t vouch for the realism of the other tracks, I can only assume that they are…

PRD has the typical racing options: Career, Free Race, and Time Trial. And in an effort to try something new, PRD’s career mode plays out with cutscenes in a soap opera sensibility. I’m not sure why the cutscene route was taken. Presumably, the only motivation racers need to win and do well is the desire to win – not to see the next cutscene. The same can be said of fighters that try to throw a “story” in that doesn’t usually show up until the Boss is defeated. The story could have been dropped altogether with almost no affect on the gameplay.

The actual racing is very good. The ever-important sense of speed is there, particularly on narrow tracks, and the game physics are believable. The crashes can be spectacular – plenty of body damage, cracked windows, and missing body panels offer a “reward” for screwing up. The AI is no slouch either so a bit of recklessness is required at times. They’ll take chances just like you and are not above cutting you off (as a reaction to your own aggressive driving). As you work your way through the circuits, unlocking and earning access to more powerful vehicles, the opposing drivers seem to get smarter, too. This is when a bit of time in the garage fine-tuning your ride to squeeze out any advantage is recommended.

 

pro race drive xbox review           pro race drive xbox review


If you’re not familiar with that fancy automobile lingo, the manual does a good job of giving you the basics so when you’re in the garage you can muddle with the car and not feel like you’re lost. You can adjust your tires, gear ratio, suspension, anti-roll and brake bias – you know, the typical car stuff. Just in case you think you can win the whole shooting match without some tweaking you’ll be sorely disappointed. There really has to be attention paid to track layout if want to make effective changes to your car and give you an advantage.

Maybe the biggest gripe I have with PRD is the audio. It took me much time to get the audio levels just right. Otherwise, I was straining to hear what the pit crew was saying over the whine of the engine.

If you’re a racing fan, Pro Race Driver is a no-brainer. It was everything you want, and even though the story seems a bit hokey, it’s tolerable and doesn’t break the game. Worthy of a test drive at the very least.

- Omni
(June 22, 2003)

 

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