Turismo 3 A-spec
Review By: Christopher
This game is
beautiful. These are the game-graphics that every hardcore gamer
has wanted, and waited for since the days of Atari. Now, I'm all
for a healthy imagination. And we all know how much of it we
used back in the "old" days of gaming. But with the
advent of the Playstation 2 engine, and the coming of Gran
Turismo 3, you no longer NEED to use your imagination.
2001 came out at launch, loads of people marveled at how
real it looked. "It's almost like watching a real
game"; "I glanced at it and almost thought it was
Sunday night football." Of course, the key word there being
'almost'. With GT3, there IS no almost. It looks real, period.
Especially the replays.
moment for me came when I first turned the corner and came out
from the tunnel of the Trail Mountain course only to find in
front of me a long beautiful stretch of road featuring sunlight
beaming magically down through the canopy. Breathtaking. It was
like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, only the yellow brick road
was hot gray asphalt, and Dorothy had a V6 engine.
the replays right? As spectacular as the in-game graphics and
sound are, wait until you see them the second time around. With
the added heat-effects, and the enhanced out-of-car sounds, it's
like watching a blockbuster movie car chase. The long panning
sweeps, or drop-cam angles are so cool you'll WANT to watch
again and again how perfectly you handled that one corner, even
though you ended up in 6th place at the finish line. I might be
tempted to say the replays in Driver were a little more
tense, and exhilarating. But that had more to do with the dark
setting than the replays themselves. Plus, Driver never had the
awesome camera and lens effects, or the "synchronized to
music" replay option. Try it, you'll like it.
On top of
everything I've said about this game, truly the most impressive
thing for me was the way the game handles car suspension. As
you're driving, the car actually lift and tilts depending on the
speed you're traveling, the slope of the road, or even which
tire type you have installed on your car. Each car handles and
moves differently. They even SOUND different. You know that
sound your tires make just after the rain has stopped. That sort
of sloppy, misty sound. It's there, perfectly. But what if you
owned a Mazda RX-8? That would sound different, right? You
betcha! And it's in the game!
These days I
look back with fondness at the car I chose for my first Gran
Turismo 3 experience: my Mariner Blue Mazda MX-5 Miata. I was
overjoyed to squeak out every last bit of horsepower, up to a
whopping 243hp (maxing out at an impressive 152 mph). Those were
my 'ignorance is bliss' days. Because soon (well, not really
that soon, many hours of plodding along in the Miata later), I'd
be driving in my supped-up GT-One Road Car with the turbo
kit/stage 4 upgrade topping off at 1068 HP and 244mph! Remember
the "car-specific" sounds I told you about? Can I tell
you how cool the electrical 'whir' of the hydraulics in the
GT-One are? SO COOL!
point in the game, however, there develops a problem (and this
is the ONLY problem in an otherwise perfect title.) Once you
start driving the real power cars in the game, like the GT-1 or
the F090/S, the simulation mode is rendered somewhat useless.
instance: the Viper GTS is a WAY better car than most of the
cars you will normally race against. Maxed out, the Viper is
faster, and has absolutely insane acceleration. Although it
handles like crap, once you master the controls, not many of the
courses are very challenging. With some time to kill (and you'll
need a LOT of time to kill, trust me) you'll begin to play some
of the endurance races. Again, not really a challenge, but you
win a load of money, and have a chance at claiming some truly
I had no
idea just HOW great. Eventually I had a GT-1, and a F090/S in my
garage (that last one is an F1 racer folks.)
you get driving the F090/S is one of utter happiness. The
handling and acceleration are mind blowing. You practically have
to relearn the controls to drive with the extra power. And the
buzz of the engine is a thing of beauty.
even the F1 gets tiresome. Problem is, since you never actually
have to race against any other F1s, no race is a challenge.
Unless, of course, you are purposefully trying to complete all
the events in the simulation mode. Some races require specific
cars or engine specifications: at which point you are FORCED to
drive a much slower, hard to handle, feels-like-a-bus car
(compared to the F090/S.) which is a pain in the ass at the best
of times. OR, you can go back and choose a car which is inferior
to the cars you have been driving just to make the game
still some replayability, however. And I don't mean simply the
two-player or I-Link (up to six players on six separate
monitors!) I find myself constantly popping GT3 back into my
console and mucking about on one or two tracks. Consistently
chipping away at each course, hoping someday to have completed
100% of the game. So the replayability does enter into the
picture, since I couldn't count the number of hours I've already
been playing (30? 40? maybe 50 hours. Especially if you count
the 2 hours spent on individual endurance races), and I'm still
only at around 35-30% completion. I see myself playing this game
for many months to come.
selection of cars and tracks
control, varied handling
times too easy, at others too difficult.
tracks become tiresome
respects, this is a showcase game. The graphics are unmatched.
The level of detail and realism is mind blowing. You WILL spend
many, many hours playing this game: trying out new cars,
mastering each course, perfecting each corner. It becomes an
obsession. It's the best racing game on the market, hands down.