Turismo 3 A-spec
Review By: Joe Rolfe
original installment came out in 1998, the Gran Turismo
series has been regarded by many as the greatest racing
simulation to ever appear on a console. Containing literally
hundreds of cars, tracks up the wazoo and realistic graphics and
physics, the GT titles have always carried a huge fanbase on
Sonyís PlayStation. Never was it so evident how large this
fanbase was once Sony and Polyphony originally announced Gran
Turismo 2000, a semi-sequel to Gran Turismo 2, intended to
appear on the PlayStation 2 as a quick racing fix for the fans.
Despite numerous delays and a name change, the now-titled Gran
Turismo 3 hype grew larger and larger as its release date
became closer and closer. Itís finally arrived.
one thing clear: everyone knows how spectacular most aspects of
GT3 are. The visuals, audio, cars, etc. -- thousands of previews
and showings have displayed this. So I wonít waste much of the
readerís times with more hype towards the game, and rather
explain the few, small but sometimes annoying problems that
disallow Gran Turismo 3 from being an impeccable racing title.
being heralded in advertisements as the next step in racing
intelligence, the AI in GT3 shows rare improvement from most
other racing titles on the market. The cars manage their speed
and braking timing well, but the problem is that itís all too
well. Instead of battling opponents for position and time by
switching in and out of lanes, out racing one another, each of
the five other opposing cars simply go in a pre-determined line
without any real dramatic changes in their course. Even if you
knock an AI racer off course, or cut him off and push the
opponent into the wall, the AI, instead of finding the fastest
route to the front of the pack, will hop straight onto their
path again... and again... and again. Adversaries never really
try to fish tail you or block the player from passing, but will
instead just drive in a straight line, turn for a corner, and
keep on going on that line. Repeat for each change in the trackís
geometry. In the end, it never feels like a true nitty gritty
race, and the only time it feels as if thereís some drama in
the race is when the player drives an under-powered car and has
to continually play catch-up with the opposition. Letís just
pray that Polyphony can up the ante in this department for GT4.
the lacking AI, however, Gran Turismo 3 really has few scratches
to its name. Visually, GT3 is a knockout. Incredibly detailed
cars, jaw-dropping special effects (rainy tracks and dust
clouds), and a consistently smooth 60-FPS rate makes GT3 the
standout on the showroom floor. There is no need for CG openings
anymore, as the in-game graphics for GT3 are just as graphically
stunning as any pre-rendered movies. The only small (and I mean
small) gripe I have towards the aesthetic part of the game is
the weak inanimate objects. The little characters standing on
the outside of the track look like cardboard cutouts and seem
fake against the breathtaking beauty appearing on the race way.
Otherwise, Gran Turismo 3 is simply awe-inspiring.
the same basic design as the former titles, containing both an
Arcade mode and Simulation. Of course, the real meat of the game
lies within the Sim option, again having the gamer attempt to
earn six different licenses, rewarding you with bronze, silver
or gold medals for how well you accomplish the license tasksí.
Even with the AI quirks, the retained gameplay of the Gran
Turismo series is still a cut above mostly anything else out on
includes an improved Rally mode and hidden F1 cars as well.
Improving and upgrading your car is easier than ever, displaying
menus to explain each part and item to buy and how they affect
your vehicle. All of this is paced along by crisp, easy to
follow menus and very short load times.
The music in
GT3 was one of the hardest parts to judge. For the most part, it
is a very diverse selection of tracks, ranging from old 80ís
classics from Motley Crue to new hip-hop by Raekwon, plus a lot
of pop and techno in between. Even Snoop Dogg did a personal
song for the game, aptly titled "Doggís Turismo 3".
Some of the music tracks canít really be felt while racing,
while a handful of songs can really pump you up in a race and
heighten the adrenaline rush. And if you donít like any of the
songs, just listen to your own in a CD player. Easy.
contains a plethora of car engine sounds and revs, each
meticulously matched to their real life vehicle counterparts.
Sometimes itís fun just to race or watch a replay of a battle
between the S-class cars, as hearing their whining engines zip
by on loud surround speakers is downright immersive, as if you
were in an arcade booth. The only problem I had with the aural
area is that there is no mixer or sliders to alternate the depth
and volume between the sound effects and music. You can never
really quite hear the music loud enough at itís pre-set level,
although the S/E come in quite clearly.
GT3 did not disappoint. Although the game still feels a bit more
like a GT2.5 than a true sequel, the updated graphics and
outstanding gameplay formula can still take up weeks, if not
months, of gaming time for those interested. The game weíve
all been waiting for since the PS2ís launch is thankfully
here, and it comes through in a big way.
GT gameplay with incredibly deep replay value
- Did I
mention the graphics are outstanding?
- AI can be
spotty and boring
seem "emotionless" and just drive forward
- Are those
mushy pixels supposed to be bystanders?
No, itís not quite
impeccable, but even on itís worst day Gran Turismo 3 still
outshines anything else available. You need this game.