Review by Shirow

"Real Time Driving Simulation"

I was never really a fan of racing sims. Like all PSX owners, I played the Ridge Racer series once or twice but never found it that good and soon left it alone. And when I got Gran Turismo, I was once again sceptic and wondered whether it was worth it. Surely, I had heard of all the hype around it but then, there was also so much hype around Ridge Racer and I was sure it was just your regular sim and that I would soon grow tired of it. Gran Turismo made me change my mind.

What first impressed me in Gran Turismo was the graphics. I don't think it would be far-fetched to say that the game pushed the PSX to its limits. The cars all look authentic and the level of realism is astounding. Each car is just like in real life and you'll actually feel as if you're in them while playing the game. The tracks haven't been left out and are all wonderful and will keep you coming back for more. You can even notice small details like the sunlight reflecting on your car and the gravels as your car skids on the lane after being hit by another car.

But the best point here is the replay which you can watch after your races and which you can save to boast to your friends afterwards. The replays are just like on TV and while the cars looked amazingly realistic while your were playing the game, they will become plain real in the replays. Some camera angles are still questionable here and you'll end up watching a blank screen for a second or two from time to time but it doesn't change anything nor does it affect the replay that much. Why, I always make it a point of watching the replays after each race.

The sound effects are great too and are quite realistic on their own. The sound of your car skidding and bumping into a wall or another car, the screeching of your tires as you desperately try to avoid an idiot in front of you are all great and Namco deserves all the praise here. The soundtrack is great too although I was a bit deceived after I has played the game through. The first themes are superb but the following ones are not as good although they are still highly entertaining.

The gameplay here simply deserves the maximum score. With over 100 races, you can bet all your money you're in for a good time. At first, you only have your usual tracks where you can get used to the control and test your skills. You must then earn your permits by doing a certain number of objectives within a time limit. There are 3 licenses which are B, A and IA. Each license comprises of 8 small test which get tougher as you move on. B and A are fairly easy but IA is really tough and you'll need a lot of patience and luck to complete it. Moreover, you must pass the tests in the order, i.e. no getting license A and then license B.

Once you've unlocked the 3 licenses, the number of races becomes simply wonderful and you won't find yourself complaining about the lack of tracks here. Each track differs from the previos one and will test your skills as you try to figure out how to complete them within the time limit. This game will make you pull all your hair out with frustration because it really is difficult. As usual, you earn money after each race and can buy better and more rapid cars.

As usual, we have the different views and the choice is up to your whether you want to feel as if you're in the car (preferable) or whether you want to see your car in front to have a better control. The control is smooth and not too hard, no button mashing here. The car's response is accurate and quick and you can choose between automatic or manual transmission when you choose your car.

GOOD POINTS
- Realistic cars.
- Huge gameplay.
- Huge number of cars to choose from.

BAD POINTS
- Too difficult.
- Awkward camera angles in some cases.

Overall, Gran Turismo is simply the best racing sim on the PSX. The graphics are absolutely fabulous with such realistic cars and the music and control are up to what we have all been expecting. This game is a true masterpiece !


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/22/01, Updated 11/09/02


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