Review by metathran7

Reviewed: 07/16/01 | Updated: 07/16/01

Wow. This is one really awesome game...

Gran Turismo 3 (07.10.01, Polyphony Digital) is the third racing installment in the Gran Turismo racing simulation series and the first on the PlayStation 2. Possibly the most-hyped game for the PS2 in the console’s short history, many racing fans have been long waiting the arrival of this game.

Graphics: 10/10
The graphics are simply mind-boggling. Stunning. Unbelievable. 60 fps, no slowdown, no pop-up. Beautifully-textured tracks, great-looking cars, and plenty of scenery, terrain, and eye candy. Certainly the best seen yet on the PS2.

Sound: Music: 7/10 Effects: 8/10
Polyphony promised good music from Day 1 and they delivered. The soundtrack features a lot of great artists, and while many of the tracks are rather mediocre, there are a couple great hits on there. The cycling playlist is a great idea as well for variety, especially when you drive for 2 hours on an endurance course.
. . . The effects are great. Engine sounds are wonderfully reproduced and the cars actually sound much different for various cars, and just a little experience with each car makes shifting by sound easy.
. . . But there is one HUGE problem with this game, and the reason I reduced the each score by a full point. The engine sounds easily cover up the music for the most part, and (believe it or not) you cannot adjust the volume of anything in this game! Either on or off, no volume control! This is one of those things left out that makes me smack my head over and over again.

Gameplay: 9/10 subscores: Control: 10/10 AI: 7/10 UI: 10/10
General gameplay has been massively improved from GT2. The simple increase in fps means an instant improvement in the accuracy of handling. The physics engine has also been improved considerably, and is quite possibly the most realistic of any game available (a spot that has long been held by F355 for DreamCast – but I think GT3 is certainly up there). All the old mods (minus full racing modification) are still available, and you can spend a lot of time buying parts and fine-tuning all your settings on full customizations.
. . . The addition of random prize cars for series races is an incredible improvement as well. This really adds a luck factor in the game, and so far, we at the GT3 board haven't found a way to beat the randomization.
. . . Control is marvelous. Easy to control cars, brake, accelerate, whatever. Analog buttons are great. And it’s very easy to feel the shifts in car weight and direction, and feel the car start to skid. My only complaint here is that while bumps in the track are translated into the vibration of the Dual Shock, when your car goes airborne and returns to the ground, no vibration is sent to the controller.
. . . AI is the one and only place the game really falters in. While the AI is good, and does follow a very strict best line throughout the course, the competing cars never play for position. Thus it is very easy to defeat the opponent’s cars by playing position as opposed to fastest lap. But, at least the AI stays competitive for the most part – even as a GT veteran, it’s difficult for me to win restricted car cups at the professional level.
. . . It is fun to see that Polyphony lets the opposing cars screw up, though :). Sometimes, on endurance races, you can see cars that should have pit last lap going all over the track.
. . . The interface has been improved as well. You are no longer forced to go to a particular shop to tune your car or to race in certain effects. Small things like this really make this game feel easier to use and play than GT2.

Length/Replayability: 10/10
This game is very long – 150 cars, and a multitude of tracks that vary widely in technical difficulty, so you’re going to have plenty to do. In terms of getting through the game, there are a huge number of races/series/cups, plenty of cars to win, buy, and improve, and plenty of license tests to master if you want the 100% mark. Plus, you’ll have to work hard to get those special cars you can only win from endurance races. No question that GT3 offers more raw replayability than any other game out for PS2 at the moment.

While lovers of arcade racing games may find GT3 a bit hard to get used to, this is certainly a must-buy for anyone into racing games, and should be a consideration for all PS2 owners. Safe to say if you like any of the GTs, you’ll like this one.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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