Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) (XBOX)
Racing 15 November 2005
The ninth installment in a legendary racing game franchise created by Electronic Arts company. After two Underground games, featuring illegal night street races, the franchise went back to its roots, combining ideas from the two most recent titles with classic elements. The player’s goal is to climb to the top of a black list of the most wanted drivers. Again you get to explore a huge virtual city, taking on different racing challenges. These include circuit, sprint, drag, elimination, time trial, speed challenge, and police pursuit. After completing enough of these you can challenge subsequent drivers from the black list. Apart from elements typical for the series, such as licensed cars and diverse soundtrack, the game features complex car customization, both in terms of appearance and performance.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (XBOX)
Action 07 June 2005
The seventh installment in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series – one of the most popular game franchises in history that brought Rockstar Games company international fame. The series has been letting the player start as a petty criminal and work his way to the top of the criminal underground. This next part of the series is the biggest one so far, featuring world – the State of San Andreas – almost three times larger than Vice City. Among many innovations, there are several thing worthy of mention: improved AI of civilians, option to recruit gang members, increased number of interactive buildings, hunger factor, swimming, and new means of transportation (e.g. bicycles). On top of that, there game features numerous extra activities, highlighting the sandbox character of gameplay. The game features the atmosphere of the 1990s, apparent in both the graphics and the soundtrack available via the numerous in-game radio stations.
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (XBOX)
Action 28 January 2004
A 3D action game that takes the players to the 1930’s USA, the time when criminal underground flourished. The game was created by Czech developer Illusion Softworks, mainly known for the highly acclaimed tactical shooter Hidden & Dangerous. The story focuses on a rookie gangster named Tommy, who takes his first steps on the path of criminal life by doing jobs for an influential mafia family. Gameplay comes down to exploration of a virtual city and completing a string of story missions, featuring many subplots. While playing, you will engage in street shootouts, bank heists, car pursuits, and assassinations. The creators did their best to recreate the evocative atmosphere of the USA in the 1930s, and implemented weapons and cars from that period. Insanity 2 game engine made it possible to generate interactive, bustling city with road traffic and changing seasons.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
A new installment in the bestselling series of action games. The game expands the ideas introduced in the third entry in the franchise, released in 2001. The game was developed by the authors of the previous installments who, after having been bought by the American giant, were transformed into Rockstar North. The game takes place in the 80's in a completely new metropolis called Vice City. The player becomes Tommy Vercetti, who was sent by his boss to establish a foothold in the city while taking care of the local gangs and corrupted police. The game has similar mechanics to its predecessor and focuses mostly on completing various non-linear story missions. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City added some new features, such as the possibility to use motorcycles and helicopters. The graphics, inspired by aesthetics of the 80's, were greatly improved as well. During the game, the player is accompanied by a varied soundtrack broadcast by several different radio stations.
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (XBOX)
Racing 17 November 2004
A sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, a best-selling 2003 game from Electronic Arts, which changed the shape of one of the most popular car racing franchises. The game takes you to a virtual metropolis that thrives after dark. For the first time in the history of the franchise, the city is completely open for exploration. As you ride around its streets you can challenge the drivers you meet on the way or learn more about the favorite locations of the street racing community. The gameplay mechanics did not change much; rather, the developers focused on an even more detailed recreations of licensed cars and car parts used for tuning. The game’s graphics were noticeably improved, featuring all sorts of new visual effects. The soundtrack keeps equally high level, as usually featuring songs by famous artists across a wide spectrum of genres.
Need for Speed Carbon (XBOX)
Racing 01 November 2006
The tenth installment in the bestselling racing game series originally launched back in 1995. The game lets you play as the main protagonist of the previous game. He returns to his home city only to find his domestic street racing scene taken over by rivaling gangs. As you take on new racing challenges, you take back your home town one district at a time. The game’s mechanics employ the well-proven solutions introduced by its predecessors, while introducing several new elements at the same time. Those include, first and foremost, canyon duels, which require much attention, as it is possible to run through the traffic barriers and roll down the slope. The other novelty is the team; you can assemble your own crew, and its members can aid you during races, e.g. by blocking your rivals. Additionally, the game features cut-scenes with real actors, several dozen licensed car models, as well as vast car customization options. Regarding the latter, Autosculpt module lets you modify almost any element of the car body.
FlatOut 2 (XBOX)
Racing 30 June 2006
FlatOut 2 brings a continuation to a "brutal" racing game developed by Bugbear Entertainment. The original game combined regular racing competition with unlimited destruction - both cars and environmental objects could be damaged and / or destroyed. In FlatOut 2, the creators focused on extending the scope of mayhem the player witnesses, thus the only real challenge the player can encounter in this game constitutes of making it to the finish line in one piece. What's more, the crashes and car damage are visually even more impressive than in the original FlatOut, thanks to the improved graphics and an upgraded engine behind the in-game physics. The game offers 16 fully customizable cars, as well as 8 drivers differing in driving style and attitude towards opponents. FlatOut 2 brings both single player and multiplayer experience, for up to 8 players in the latter case. Additionally, Destruction Derbies were also included, similar to the original game. In Rag Doll events the player will "ski jump" or drive through fiery rings for example.
Grand Theft Auto III (XBOX)
Action 04 November 2003
Another installment in the controversial series of action games started in 1997. Grand Theft Auto III was developed by the authors of the original game, the DMA Design studio, this time under the wings of Rockstar. The third entry revolutionized the series by unleashing the players into an open, fully three-dimensional world brimming with virtual life. This was possible thanks to the RenderWare technology. The game takes place in Liberty City, a virtual adaptation of New York. The main protagonist is a young man named Claude who dreams about becoming the boss of the underworld and taking revenge on people who almost sent him to prison. The story of the game is non-linear and develops as the player completes dozens of assignments from various mafia bosses. A large arsenal of weapons can be useful in completing these tasks. The game also contains dozens of vehicles which – similarly as in the previous installments of the series – can be used with no limitations.
Forza Motorsport (XBOX)
Racing 03 May 2005
A racing simulator developed by Microsoft’s internal studio - Turn 10. Serving as a response to a competing franchise - the popular Gran Turismo series, Forza Motorsport offers an impressive number of 200+ licensed car models from several manufacturers, divided into a number of classes and sub-classes. Each available car can be profoundly tuned – not only visually, but also mechanically. Effects of customization and damage to the cars are depicted during races due to a special system that calculates the performance of the car in real-time. Competitions take place on multiple and diverse tracks, among them both fictional street circuits as well as real tracks from all around the world. Apart from the career mode, the game features an online mode.
Need for Speed: Underground (XBOX)
Racing 17 November 2003
The seventh installment in the legendary racing series developed since 1995. Created once again by EA Black Box, the game brings revolutionary changes to the series, focusing on illegal street racing, popularized mainly by The Fast and the Furious movie. This time, apart from usual races, the player can take part in several racing events, such as drifting competitions or drag races. The game offers a wide set of licensed cars popular among the illegal racing aficionados. The game stands out with a wide array of car customization options it delivers - the player can buy licensed car parts produced by the most popular real-life manufacturers. Money is an important aspect of the game, because the player spends the cash they earned in races to buy new cars and parts. Need for Speed: Underground features a diverse soundtrack as well. The player can listen to a variety of genres, such as rap, techno, or metal.
TOCA Race Driver 2006 (XBOX)
Racing 21 February 2006
The largest and the most extensive installment yet, belonging to a series of racing games developed since 1997. Known as TOCA Race Driver 2006 or DTM Race Driver 3, the game offers an extensive career mode, which casts the player in the role of a virtual driver capable of participating in 35 different championships related to various car classes. What is new is an ability to go through the driver's career focusing on one type of races only and gradually gaining access to faster cars. However, the player can choose to play in the World Tour mode from the very beginning, though it may come with some difficulties. As usual in the series, racing takes place on faithfully recreated tracks and the players receive dozens of licensed cars with different parameters. Apart from subsequent improvements in terms of the graphics, the game offers modified driving physics and an upgraded system of car damage. The player-controlled car can be now damaged by overheating, engine fade or tire burnout.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (XBOX)
Racing 01 October 2002
The sixth installment in the popular racing game series from Electronic Arts, expanding on the ideas of the 1998’s Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. Similarly to its predecessor, the action is focused on police chases. The players have several game modes at their disposal, allowing them to become either road hogs or law enforcers and compete against the AI or their friends online. The game's highlight is the eponymous Hot Pursuit mode, in which we race against opponents with police hot on our heels. The title offers more than 20 varied tracks located in urban, coastal, and woodland areas. In our garage we will find a considerable collection of licensed vehicles that have to be progressively unlocked with the points gained in races. The production features detailed three-dimensional graphics and a soundtrack with tracks from numerous famous artists.
Racing 05 November 2004
A dynamic racing game created by Bugbear Entertainment - a Finnish developer studio. The game references such franchises as Burnout or Destruction Derby, because in this competition causing as much damage as possible during the race is as much important as who crosses the finish line first. The player takes part in brutal races taking place on 48 different tracks filled with shortcuts and destructible objects. The game is arcade in terms of the driving physics, though car damage affects both the performance and the handling of the car. Flatout features an extensive single player campaign, during which the player buys new cars and upgrades them gradually. However, multiplayer competition was also included. Apart from regular races, the game offers destruction derbies and a series of crazy mini-games requiring the player mainly to launch the driver through the windshield.