Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
Review by C. Aquadro
"It may not be perfect, but it's still the best racing game to date."
GT3 is, to put it mildly, unbelievable. I played just the first two events when I rented it, and that was enough to make me go and buy it the same day I got the rental. That's how amazing this game is. If I reviewed this on my first day playing, it would've gained an 11 out of 10. Alas, I found that GT3 is not flawless.
Graphically, A-Spec runs down every other game currently in the racing genre. Every car in the game is as realistic as possible, and my jaw was wide open when I tried out the ASTOUNDING replay mode. While the tracks are not incredibly detailed, they are smooth and are not bad at all.
But, as I stated earlier, A-Spec is in no sense perfect. I have no complaints for the sound effects during races. However, I was quite disappointed with the soundtrack. GT2 had much better music on it. A-Spec's songs are much less than CD quality also, since the music gets a bit grainy at times.
Control-wise, GT3 is no different than the first two, so don't worry about having to learn a new control scheme. The controls are smooth and accurate, although you'll constantly need to adjust your strategy when you use different cars due to the different levels of response. Still, it is not much different from GT2.
The one problem I have with the game itself is that the computer has too big an advantage over players. I've noticed times where I'd spin out of control on a turn going 40 mph, then to see a computer in the same car as me blaze by the turn at 150 mph and not skidding the slightest. Problem? Majorly.
In addition to the huge line-up of cars and dealers, A-Spec has a very nice tuning system, allowing you to customize the heck out of your car. It sure feels good taking your 300 hp car, turning it into a 900 hp car with triple the cornering power and mach speed acceleration, then leaving all your competition in the dust(for a hefty price of course). You also have to change your oil after you race a car for a while, or you'll lose horsepower. For a cheap price, you can also wash your car to keep it looking good, and buy one of dozens of different wheels to customize your look. Then go test your car on the test course to see how it looks and performs.
GT3 has the most amazing replay mode I've ever seen in a game. It has many different options. You can change the view and music of the replay in various ways. You can even have the game sync the video of the replay with the music, giving the replay color effects and cool angles based on the song playing. If you do this on the replay of a Max Speed test, you'd swear you were watching a car commercial on TV.
A-Spec has a higher replay value than most racing games, just because the simulation mode is so huge. There's tons of races, and each one makes you work to get that gold trophy so you can win a new car. Some even have a random selection of up to 4 cars to win, which encourages you to play again after you are done and try to win the ones you missed. Many of the prize cars aren't purchasable at the dealer, which makes you want them even more. The arcade mode provides a nice multiplayer experience. While the 2P split-screen might be a bit boring, the ability to I-Link with up to 6 people is SWEET. While it's sort of difficult to link up 6 PS2s and 6 TVs, it's nice to have little GT3 parties where 5 friends bring their 20-something inch TVs and PS2s, then setting them up in the den and ripping up the track. While I haven't done this myself, I'm sure it must be cool as hell.
This is definitely an awesome game, and anyone who wants it shouldn't bother renting and just buy it. You won't be able to experience everything this game has to offer in a rental period. If you can just forgive that major AI advantage, you'll find yourself in racing heaven.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/27/01, Updated 08/27/01
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