Review by tyltyl

"Lives up to the hype...partially..."

Gran Turismo 3 was one of the most wanted games for PS2, same for me. The question is if the game actually lives up to the hype. Well, yes, or better partially. In fact the game looks perfect, but as everything on this planet has some minor flaws.

Graphics 9.5/10
As you first watch the pics or movies of this game you will notice how great it is. Great lightining effects, the cars are very well detailed and the environment look great. There are some flaws, believe it or not. In fact some environment look great, like Smokey Mountain with the lightning effects, or Laguna Seca, or the Deep Forest Track with that great sun effect that goes through the trees. But other tracks are very poor, actually nothing good or new. Just the sky, some trees near the track and the crowd, nothing other. Some effects are great, like the smoke or the dust in the Rally races. But if you look at the dust effect you will notice that it's just a 2D image if you pass through them :)
The cars obviously are marvelous, the details are awesome and they look perfect. But you can still see some blocky parts if you look at the sponsors, but this is really a minor flaw. The menu look really sexy, they are colorful and very well designed.
The replays are the main part of the game...just kidding :)
You can watch you race with a lot of cameras and you can manage them as you want, switching from car to car. Obviously everybody knows that if you look at a replay sometimes you hardly notice the difference from reality :p
But sometimes (example: Test course) the fixed camera is almost useless if the car are really can see just some cars passing around.
The intro is great, but's just a movie :)

Music/Sound 9/10
Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec features some great tracks in the EU version (mine :))...I think they are a little different from version to version. The EU version features Ash, Daiki Kasho, Death In Las Vegas, Feeder (Just A Day is great!), Grand Theft Audio, Muse and Overseer. Some of the are great, some aren't, but this depends on your likes or dislikes. Unfortunately these tracks are nearly impossible to listen at, because in the game the engine noise is too high. Actually you can't set the volumes, just turn on or off the music or the sfx.
The engine noise are well made and different between them, you can listen the difference between the cars.
It's a shame that you can't set the volume :(

Gameplay 10/10
Yeah, GT3 is really funny to play. The controls are very simple and intuitive. It's very enjoyable and hasn't any flaws. The cars aren't different just at the look, but you can really feel the difference when you drive them. So the steering, the speed etc. depends also on the car and not on the player. You can adjust any help on steering or braking if you are a beginner or have problems. But I suggest to turn off all the helps if you want to enjoy the complete game. You can also configure your controls if you want. There is also an option to use the GT Force Wheel that adds a lot of fun and a little bit more of realism.

Game/Options/Modes of play 9.5/10
The game has a lot to beat and finish. You have an Arcade mode where you just have to beat all the tracks on different difficulty levels to unlock cars and new tracks. I found it very funny, because it's not boring as it looks. In fact you have 3 (4??) difficulty levels and the hard is really HARD. It has lot of tracks 30+, lot of cars plus 5 categories of cars. And if it's not enough for you you can load your garage and use your home made cars.
In the Time Trial you have to beat some records, then you can do a Free Run, a 2 players game and an mode where you can play with other 5 players max via cable. Read: it's an mode, not to play with a 6 splitted screen and a multitap :)
The Gran Turismo mode is just the old GT versions. You start with some money, buy a car and try to win races, categories, money to buy other cars etc. You have 6 different licenses, but be quiet, I didn't found them hard to beat, just the s-license could be difficult.
You have car manufacturers from 8 nations (Japan, USA, Germany, France, Italy, UK, Belgium, Australia). You have almost 150 cars, if you think they are fewer than GT2 it's ok, but I don't think it's a problem because 150 is just a good number and I don't have to use them all :)
The problem is that sometimes there are a lot of cars, but they are just different models of the same car! Actually what I have to do with 10 different models of the Lancer Evolution? Mitsubishi has 13 cars which 10 are Lancer Evolution!
Obviously you can upgrade your car with a lot of add ons, and you can really feel the difference when you modify your car!
There is a GT Auto section where you can buy new tires, wash your car and change the oil. Tip: If you don't change it, your car can lose some hp.
The races are a lot!! You have the Beginner League, the Amateur League, the Pro League, the Rally League and the Endurance Races. The first three categories have a lot of tournaments, one with their own regulations, restrictions, prizes and no. of races. There are some where you have to race one at a time, and some where you can also do a tournament with points and ranking. Actually there are 20+ tournaments for each category with 3 from 10 races in each tournament!! The Rally event and the Endurance have 10 tournaments. Don't tell me it's a short game please...
During the race you will have just other 5 competitors, that's bad? Uhm...I don't know, maybe yes. I don't think that a race with other 23 cars could have been good, in fact I find useless the cars under the first three position :) 8 or 10 cars on the race could have been good.
But these are opinions...

Replayability 9/10
Well, it's a long game to beat but you surely will have a lot of fun. Maybe once you beat it it could be almost useless or maybe you can do a race or 2 just for fun. It's long to beat but I don't think you will replay it from beginning another time.

Buy or Rent? Buy...or Rent...
This is hard! In fact if you like racing this is a must buy. But if you don't like racing or like Arcade racing game this is a hard choose. In fact you can play just the Arcade mode but you will lose half game! In that for sure, just to try it to be sure.

Gran Turismo 2 vs. Gran Turismo 3 = Gran Turismo 2.5
Actually GT2 was a great game and someone can find GT3 just a GT2 + good graphics. isn't just an upgrade but if you compare the two you will not see too much difference in gameplay and options. They are both great for 2 different systems. At this time you can buy GT3 and find GT2 for a good price, but if you have GT2 think about it and rent GT3 to find if it's worth your money.

Well, it's a great game, not perfect but certainly it's great, one of the greatest for PS2. The best racing game ever? Well, don't try to compare it to Metropolis Street Racer or Daytona, they are very different. If you want my opinion I don't like them, I prefer some realistic racers.
In fact I prefer GT3 to other racing games on any system like F355 or SEGA GT. This is my opinion, no? Now it's up to you to choose...

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/16/01, Updated 08/16/01

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