One of the most anticipated titles for PS2 in years comes in the form of Gran Turismo 4 – the definitive racing simulator from SCEA. Offering up characteristics of cars that are realistically designed and calculated, the "real life" physics of each vehicle is at the hands of gamers. Taking into account weight, speed, friction, wind, and more the title offers racing action like no other title released in history. With a wide variety of courses. such as Nurburgring Nordschleife , New York City, the Grand Canyon , and the Tsukuba Circuit, along with the longest list of cars ever seen in a video game, this title looks to be the racing simulator of choice for any gaming platform.
New physics engine adding a higher level of realism in cars, which allows for cars to be handled easier.
More than 5,000 polygons per vehicle capture exceptional detail, right down to the disc brakes behind the wheel.
With an all-new AI engine, race opponents posses advanced artificial intelligence, which allows for behavior that captures human-like emotion.
Refined replay mode with broadcast-quality graphics.
Compatible with the Logitech Driving Force Pro Wheel
GT Career 'Simulation' Mode – Via the GT Universe, players start from the bottom and race to earn money, unlock cars and courses, buy and sell cars and upgrade parts while competing in more than 200 various championship races.
Mission Races – To experience the drama of racing at a new level, a new race style will be structured as a mission-clearing based race event offering numerous variables for the player to capture the checkered flag.
New "High Score" System – The player who wins a race is not necessarily the one who captures the checkered flag, but graded on how well they drive and challenge themselves among the competition based on their car type, horsepower and modifications related to the race field.
GT Director Mode / B-Spec
GT Photo Mode – Epson printer compatible
GT Arcade Mode – Players compete against each other or the artificial intelligence with select cars on select courses. More cars and course are available in the GT Arcade Mode when they are unlocked in the GT Career Simulation Mode.
More than 650 automobiles representing more than 80 manufacturers
Up to 100 courses that encompass rally courses, closed-circuit courses and city courses covering both real-life and fantasy-based locales.
There's little doubt that the graphics of Gran Turismo 4 are the best graphics ever seen for a racing game on the PS2 console system. That compliment should actually be encompassed for all gaming consoles … and there's little room for argument. Each of the 600+ cars in the game have been painstakingly detailed to perfection.
Specifically, I own a 2005 Ford Mustang, and included in the game is a GT model of the car … I can say that racing the GT in GT4 looks darn near identical to what it must look like when I roll my car around the streets of Orange County. The terrains and tracks along with the various landscapes are equally impressive which all adds up to perhaps the greatest graphical treatment in the history of PS2. Yes, the graphics are that good
Another amazing thing about the game is the soundtrack. There are some highly recognizable songs, and some songs that are new and fresh just made for the soundtrack. One thing that is clear is the heavy list of recognizable names of bands on the soundtrack list. There's various genres, but all the music is pretty bouncy and fits in perfectly with the racing attitude. When viewing your race after you are done in the replay mode, you get the low-down on the band, song name, and album just like it was some high production music video. The sound effects themselves are pretty standard for racing games with the acceleration, brakes, and crowds sounding like they should.
There's a lot to do in GT4. If you want to race around in a car for a casual drive and take pictures (to be saved to your memory card, a USB thumb drive, or directly printed to your Epson printer), you can do that at any time. The first place you start is your garage, which is absolutely bare … and it's time to go buy a car. But first you might want to take your driving tests to get your first license (if you do, you get a nice bonus along with a car which you can sell to buy a better car than you normally could have).
Learning the game isn't easy – this is indeed a race car simulator and not an arcade game. Passing all the driving tests for the first two driver's licenses is indeed a challenge and will take some time to do. After scoring a driver's license, you are not only eligible to race in the "Beginner's Races" but also races which only require the license that you've attained. You race, you win, you get credits to upgrade, fix, or buy a car. As you progress through the game your racing will get better, your garage more stocked, and your list of accomplishments more great.
Racing itself is a ton of fun in GT4, and sometimes a real test. This racing simulator isn't good for the little kids tshat simply want to race around and destroy cars along the way. It's a true simulator that you have to take somewhat seriously if you don't want to spin off tracks left and right because you don't know how to handle your car.
All that being said there is one giant flaw in GT4 as far as "true racing simulator" is concerned – the collisions. When you hit a car from behind, there is never damage shown on either vehicle, and if you did indeed come from behind and hit someone, they actually get a little boost from it as if it were bumper cars. It's a huge drawback to the game that you'll just have to accept in order to enjoy … impressive racing simulator – - unimpressive collision physics.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
You'll play GT4 for an hour or two at a time – minimum. I know you'll simply turn on the PS2 with the full intention of just winning one more race, which will undoubtedly turn into a race fest which will last hours. If you do have a lot of time on your hands, then expect to lose chunks of days to the game. After playing through for about 15 hours, I found out I've uncovered about 4% of the game when saving. This means you're definitely getting your money's worth when it comes to gaming dollar versus amount of time spent playing.
The feature to save and print pictures from your game is totally great. Originally the Epson printer technology was an E3-only deal, but after the tremendous response by E3 attendees, they decided to keep it in the game. The amount of cars, tracks, and race modes is unbelievable, and the fully functional support of the Logitech Racing Wheel makes the game a real winner for newbies of the series and die hard fans going back years with the older titles.
Overall, Gran Turismo 4 is the best racing simulator ever made. That goes for all platforms and systems back to the beginning of time – GT4 is simply the best ever. The cars are amazingly detailed, the courses rich and diverse, and the amount of things to do in the game is impressively overwhelming. The graphics are top notch and the soundtrack is unbelievable. The gameplay is fun, exciting, and extremely challenging, and comes together to give perhaps the best longevity factor ever seen for a game. It's an original title that is an easy pick for an Editor's Choice award. Indeed – Gran Turismo 4 doesn't just live up to the hype … it totally blows it away.