To racing fans this is known as the Holy Grail of racing games. Three years in the making, and finally we have it here in front of us. Lets get down to reviewing this bad boy, shall we If your familiar with the GT series, you will know exactly what this game is all about. It’s a racing game with depth and intellect. The gameplay consists of two modes: the Arcade mode and the Simulation mode.
The arcade mode is straightforward stuff. Race against others and beat them to open up new tracks and special cars. The arcade mode is HUGE, by the way, and features thirty-six different tracks.
Then there is the Simulation mode, which is really the meat and potatoes of the game. You start with a piddling amount of money and get to go to a showroom to purchase a car. I opted for the VW beetle 2.0, which cost me all of my starting purse. The next thing you do is enter the driving school and apply for your driving license. There are different licenses which need passing for various classes of cars.
Each test is split into eight different sections. The first test has you screaming down a straightaway at full speed and stopping your car in a little box, which is pretty hair raising. When you finally get your license you are able to go into the first set of beginner races. Don’t expect to win either, your basic car needs a few tweaks at the garage to put you ahead of the pack. You can purchase modifications after you place third a few times and win a bit of cash.
After I played a bit, I opted to go for a tuning chip which raised my hp and allowed me to win the three beginner races. Once you have won these three races you are awarded with a crappy car that I instantly sold for four grand and purchased some new hardware for my little Beetle. This is where GT shines. Everything seems hopeless at times you are coming in third then you get a upgrade and BAM! you are winning again. The progression is just right.
The graphics raise the bar totally, not only for the genre, but for video games in general. I look at the replays and its very hard to tell this is a video game. There are subtle little effects like heat hazing, rain, spray from cars in the wet, and dust flying out in the rally sections that add to the realism. Every edge in the game is smooth, there is no pop up and even the trees have lost that ever popular flatness we are so familiar with in video games. You will be totally convinced the first time you see the sun glint off your car, or realize that those reflections racing across the shiny surfaces are not just generic bitmaps, but real time reflections of other images in the game. No screenshots can do it justice.
The sound is super cool, perhaps one of the best aspects of this already awesome package. The music is provided by some of today’s top artists: Lenny Kravitz, Papa Roach, The Cult, Snoop Dog, and Apollo Four Forty. Also included are bands of yesteryear such as Motley Crüe and Judas Priest. Something for everyone, I’m sure you will admit. The engine sounds were all sampled from the real thing, so there are no complaints there. You drive an Audi your hearing a real Audi screaming through the speakers.
You will get the opportunity (if you are good enough) to drive over 100 cars from all the major manufacturers, with the omission of Porche and Lamborghini as usual.
The game also features a Rally option which is a game in itself. All I can say is, it’s like Colin McRae Rally 2.0… on steroids. The track selection is none to shabby. Here you will find thirty-six totally different tracks, as well as a oval and full test circuit that has to be driven to be believed. Its possibly the hardest track in a racing game, ever.
Polyphony have done a great job. I hear people moaning that it’s too similar to GT2. I’ll admit, in a few ways, they are right. However, go have a game of GT2 and tell me you prefer it over GT3, no way in this world. This is the killer app for ps2. Forget Metal Gear, forget that Bandicoot dude, this is the game you bought Sony’s black box for.
The game also has a force feedback wheel specially made by Logitech for Sony. I have not tested this out, but if anyone out there wants to send me one for review I will gladly have a look (Hint Hint Sony).
The game retails for $49.99 and comes on dvdrom. It’s going to last you a few months, take my word for it. Get out there and show your appreciation for the programmers by buying this sucker right now Do you hear me!!!