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Gran Turismo
Review By: Jesse Mason
Developer:   Polyphony Digital
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Racing
ESRB:   Everyone

Someone must've really wanted to drive their own car in a racing game when they made this. Yep, you heard me right. Gran Turismo relishes on the fact that driving a real life car is a thousand times more fun that driving a nice looking red car that has no real life counterpart. Only Sony figured that it'd be even more fun to drive a car that you'd actually have a chance of sitting in. So while Gran Turismo does offer cars that compete in NASCAR and such, you'll spend the bulk of your time racing in cars you may see on the street like Hondas, Chevys, and Mazdas. And you know what? Racing in a Civic is a thousand times more satisfying than racing in any other kind of virtual car you can think of.

Gran Turismo is not only the finest racing game to come in a long time, it is also the deepest racing game, well, ever. GT offers two modes. The utmost boring arcade mode that is basically the same thing you see over and over again with cars you see on the street. And the fantastic simulation mode, which outlines the life of a racer. Sort of.

The simulation mode is where the real deal is and where you'll probably have the most frustration. In a nutshell, with its awesomely deep gameplay style, Gran Turismo becomes the most deep racing game ever. You'll be spending months fine tuning your skills. You'll probably never get to the point where you are so good that you can never get better. Its complexity in turning skills, starting and stopping, passing, etc. is so great it requires a license system to keep you from doing things you can't handle (and at the same time putting the game away in frustration). The system depends on which car you use. Each of the cars' abilities are based off the physics model of its real life counterpart. Because of this, all 160 of them play differently. Now you see why Sony opted for licenses rather than making up their own dream cars. Everything is taken into consideration from the tire damage to the weight ratio to whether you have 4 wheel drive or rear wheel drive or front wheel drive or etc (which actually has a very big effect on turning). It's very complex and very tough at first. It'll take quite a while just getting to the point where you can actually win a race. And playing a game with a broken controller is rather annoying. But it pays off because it provides extreme longevity.

The number one reason games that looked interesting but somehow went wrong? Developers dreaming up huge fantastic games but then not backing them up. Gran Turismo had the chance to go completely wrong by having a great game with horrid controls or graphics sloppy enough that they actually make the gameplay bad. Gran Turismo's control is very simple and is tight as can be, provided you have an analog controller or even better, a steering wheel. Face it pinko, the digital pad just don't cut it here. The game is still playable with the pad, but the difference is so big that one might think Sony made the game just to sell Dual Shocks.

Graphics are beautiful to the extreme. In game graphics are extremely good with no pop up, clipping, frame rate, slowdown, or polygon breakup problems whatsoever. The replay mode is so greatly crafted that it can make even the goofiest of mess ups look good. On the sound side, sound effects do the job, but the music is, well, annoying. The techno stuff is so overused that I plan to send a bill to congress banning it from video games altogether. If it weren't for the sound effects of the other cars alerting you when they are pulling up behind you, I'd tell you to turn down the volume and turn on the stereo.

Lets face it, racing games are a dime a dozen (well more like $480 a dozen). For some reason, they became the publisher's breadwinner of choice after fighting games slowed down. While this may sound good, it only makes the publishers play it safe ever so more. Thankfully, Sony, who is rapidly becoming a premiere game developer, has chosen to go out and jump the canyon and make a great game at the same time.

Overall: 9.3
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