Review by RHibiki

"Come take us out of here, Take us anywhere... Oh yeah!"

That's from Gran Turismo. No, not the Real Driving Simulator. It's from The Cardigans. I've decided to listen to the album for inspiration for this review. No joy. So instead I'd decided to play the game instead.

Sequels can be a bit crap. Let face it, how many Street Fighter incarnations have we received? 18??? Maybe more! And how about the Tomb Raider series. Its the same again... And again... And again... It will probably be the same again in the next installment of Tomb Raider. But this sequel is special. It's one of a kind. This is the sequel of all sequels! Well, ok... It might not be revolutionary but it is a game that we have been waiting for a very long time!!!

Gran Turismo 2 is more evolution than revolution. More cars have been added to its already impressive list. Car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford are added while Aston Martin, Honda, Jaguar join from the original game. Sponsors have also managed to squeeze in. Vodafone, Texaco, Seiko are in there too. There are more secrets, more tracks, more of pretty much everything and anything that they can fit in. The game comes in two discs instead of one because of the amount of data stored in the game. But enough of this little round up; find out what the game is really like!

In the arcade version you have a handful of cars which you can choose to race to start off with which are split into three sections; Sports cars, high performance and normal everyday, ''I drive to work'' cars. Like before, you need to complete tracks in first place to unlock secrets such as extra cars and tracks. You have the option to drive in street race tracks like the Speedway or go for the more slide-happy rally tracks. Like all arcade racers, there is a time trial mode for you to use and abuse or race your own ghost in the rally mode. The two player aspects are still in it so you can wipe the floor using a Peugeot 306 against his or her (we mustn't leave out the women drivers) Dodge Viper. Like before, you can watch replays of pre-recorded races or your own! You can even trade and merge data from other Gran Turismo drivers.

If you need practice or new to the game, start in arcade mode to familiarise the controls and get used to the game for the simulation mode, cause this is where the game starts picking up!

The simulation disc is just like the predecessor; you start off with some money and no licences. First of all you need a car. But don't start off going straight to the BMW section thinking you can buy a Series 8 car with that kind of money, oh no! Unlike real life, cars in this game cost over 4 million. So instead, you'll have to make do with a Nissan or something. The main screen has been modified for your pleasure. Car Manufacturers have been sorted out into four different sections; East (Japanese), West (French & Italian), North (British & German) and South (American). You've also got the standard car wash, test machine, licences and the newly added wheel section. This is where you can buy new alloys for your newly acquired set of wheels.

Once you have chosen your car, it's time to either start racing or gain yourself a license. There are five licenses in total, some from the original and some new ones. Each license will gain you access to certain races. By entering these races, you can earn money and use that money to improve or buy a new car. The better the car, the more chance you'll win races and earn more money in the process. Get gold in all the events, including the driving tests will result in a special reward. However, there some races that doesn't even require a license such as the Sunday Cup and Manufacturer events. If you can pass your tests you can still earn yourself some money in the process of getting your license. Even better still, if you've got the first games (or at least the saved games) you can convert your old data to be used in GT2! Wow, talk about backward compatible!

There are bad bits in this game! Yes, even the best game in the world has faults! First, the graphics are the same as the original Gran Turismo. But then again, the Playstation is at least 5 years old. There are also repetitive areas of the game. The fact that you have to race the same tracks again and again to raise money makes this game boring for the non-racing enthusiast. Let's face it, some of you have an attention span of 5 minu.. uh, what was I saying? Also the soundtrack in the Japanese version is a bit... crap. Hopefully the soundtrack for the US and UK version are gonna be a bit better; with promised bands and artists including Beck, The Cardigans and The Foo Fighters.

The good things? The sound effects are lovely. Revving the motor, tire screeching and even crashes all sound great. The amount of cars that are in this game is huge! You will go without water trying to raise money for the car you desires. You will go without food trying to get all the secret concept cars. You will go without sex trying to.... Erm.. Well maybe not sex. But most of your time will be spent on this game. There might be a high-resolution mode like the first one but we'll have to complete the game to find out.

Verdict? Well, if you didn't like the first Gran Turismo, then you won't like this. This is much the same as the first but with knobs on... and switches... and flashy lights. This is certainly ''My Favourite Game'' (I'm really sorry for going on about The Cardigans but they are in the US version of GT2 and their album is named after the game) and I hope it will be yours too,

Right. A couple more wins and I can buy myself that Aston Martin BD7 I've had my eye on...

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/12/01, Updated 06/14/01

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