Review by roadkill

"GT3, setting a new standard for all racing excellence"

Originally planned to be a PS2 launch title, Gran Turismo 3 was originally slated as Gran Turismo 2000, an update to the popular PlayStation game Gran Turismo 2. Gran Turismo 3: A-spec has seen a lot of changes between then and now. As I said, it was originally slated as a launch title. Then the release was pushed back to January of 2001 and it seems at the point, release dates have been pushed back one month at a time. Yes our waiting is finally over. GT3, the racer to set the mold for all future racers to come is here.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gran Turismo series, this is not your ordinary “select a car, select a track and race” racing game. For starters, one thing that really set the whole series into their own niche is the license tests. In order to even race, you must pass a series of tests in order to get you different classes of racing licenses. Once you have your class license, you must then buy a car. Now, one thing I love about the Gran Turismo series is that you won’t see a car name LIMBY 378X4 or something totally off the wall like some of the other racing games out there. No, the Gran Turismo series has full licensing to use valid car companies makes and models. Who knows, you might even find your car in there.

Yet another feature that really set this series apart is the almost complete customization of your car right down to the name brand tires and hubcaps. You can even tweak your engine for better performance or more speed.

All this combined with the cutting edge graphics, realistic physics and 100 plus fully licensed car list make this a truly revolutionary series.

Whether you’re new to the Gran Turismo series or have been there from the start, Grand Turismo 3 is sure to please. With incredible graphics, gameplay and sound you’ve come to expect, this is one game truly worthy of the title “Greatest Hit”.

Gameplay - 10
As far as controls go, you couldn’t ask for any better. The controls flow well, combine that with the comfort of the dual shock 2 and you got a winning combination here. You can get the Logitech GT3 racing wheel, but I’ve heard that for GT3, the Dual Shock is better. Good thing to, the racing wheel will set you back $100. If you've played any other Gran Turismo game, you pretty much know what to expect. Sony had a real winning idea here to stick with the same controller design as the PS but making it lighter.

All GT games are unique from any other racing game. Many may try to mimic it, but GT was the first to require the player to pass various licensing tests before stating. Another cool feature was the idea of upgrading your car by adding components such as a new muffler, ROM, stabilizers, gearbox and anything else you can possibly imagine. GT3 also is a host to a whole lot of new features never before seen. For one thing, you actually have to change your oil. When you're car is new, the horsepower is slightly higher then on the specs, but as it gets ''broken in'' the horsepower settles down to were it should be. And one of the coolest features of all (not to mention the most expensive) is getting three PS2s, three copies of GT3 and three TVs, hook all PS2s with iLink cable, and there's actually a mode which allows your to view one TV as the main view, one is the view to your right and the other is the view to our left. It's kind of like making a big wide screen TV out of three smaller TVs. So you see how this can get quite spendy and only the hardest of hardcore gamers will probably embark into this venture. Of course, one of the most exciting features of the whole GT series is the ability to save replays. When you think replays, you think huge amounts of space right? Not with GT3. Replays only take 48K. When I found that out, I was just astounded. 48K, that's like the size of one block on a PS1 memory card. I think even GT1 & 2 took more space.

Unlike previous installments in the Gran Turismo series that only allowed you to have 100 cars in your garage, Gran Turismo 3 has doubled this amount bringing it up to 200. For those of you that are wondering; the garage, just as in real life, is a place to store all your cars.

Of course, this game also has an arcade mode should you decide that you don’t really want to spend all that time in simulation mode. In arcade mode, it’s just like any other racing game on the market. You select you car, select your track and go. This is also where you have to go if you want to go head-to-head in some multiplayer action. If you have a simulation mode save, you can load any car that you have in your garage as of the time the save was made. This can be a definite advantage. While your buddies are choosing from the arcade stock of cars, you can pick that suped-up, tweaked out Dodge Viper that you love so much or perhaps one of the many secret F1 racers that can be won.

Another incredible aspect of this game is the realistic in game physics. Each car acts and responds differently and they all take a certain level of sill to master. Of course, some cars are easier to master then others. A couple of issues I have with the games physics are that I’d like to see some car damage. Even if it’s a broken tail light or smashed windshield. Just something to indicate that abuse I put my cars through. Another thing is that if you run smack into a barrier, the barrier does not have any give to it. In fact, most of the time (unless you hit it just right), you are reflected right back onto the track as if nothing really happened.

Graphics - 10
Awesome, incredible, amazing, all these words fall short of describing Gran Turismo 3's graphics. Forget any game that has ever been made for the PS2 prior, this is the game the truly shows off the PS2s potential. After this game, I'm left with one single thought on my mind; can anyone ever improve upon this? There seems to be a slight problem with aliasing on this game (I think I just answered my own question), but not enough to distract your attention from the awe-inspiring good looks that is, GT3. The replays in this game look sweet. Unlike many people tell you, you can tell the difference between the replays and the races on TV. In the replays, the cars stay clean throughout the whole race. One thing that’ll draw you’re attention is the realistic shadowing and reflections of your car. It amazes me every time I see it is this games ultra realistic, real time reflections. Whether going by a storefront window at 100 MPH or seeing a street light reflect off your cars paint job, it’s one of those little touches of such realism that makes this game stand out. But, one must be careful not to let your eyes wonder off the track to the gorgeously decorated environments.

Sound - 9
Excellent and authentic sound effects, alright background music. I don't really like most of the songs, there's about 5 or 6 I do like. But one cool feature of this game is the play list is customizable. You can take songs off and add songs to your play list. You can only use the 20 or so songs in the game for your list though. Artists that you might recognize are Lenny Kravitz, Powerman 5000, Papa Roach, Motley Crue and Judas Priest. Another thing is that you can't (or at least I haven't found out how to) raise/lower your sound effects or background music volume. So, during the game, you can hardly hear the music over the roaring of the engines. One thing I do like (I don't know why, call me nuts) is when you're racing, change views to first perspective and you can hear the air rushing over your car.

Replay - 10
All games in the GT series have high replay. In fact, this is one of those games that you might just pick up off your wall-o-games a couple of months after you stop playing and start playing right from were you left off like nothing ever happened. With over 150 cars and 19 incredibly detailed tracks, this game is sure to please any racing fan.

Overall - 10
Gran Turismo 3 was worth every penny when it was first released at $49.99. And now that it’s a greatest hit going for $19.99, there should no longer be any excuse why any PS2 owner does not have the marvel of games.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/11/01, Updated 07/31/02


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