Review by LightScribe

"This game shows the true capabilities of the PS2"

When Gran Turismo 2 came out a few years ago, I though that it was the best game ever created. Then, Sony released the PS2. Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec was the first game I bought for my Playstation 2, and I have no regrets about it. Not only does Gran Turismo 3 A-spec show the capabilities of the hardware, but it also breaches anything that I could ever imagine. Gran Turismo 3 is the exciting new addition to this beautifully created series, and I don’t think that Polyphony Digital is done yet.

Game Play: 10/10 – In Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, you are given $18000 and you must win money and cars by racing. If that wasn’t enough, but you must first complete licence tests in order to compete in most of the races. On top of all that, you can edit your car’s settings and change the parts on your car. You can change everything, from turbo chargers to gearboxes and even your tyres. Different car set-ups can give you advantages in different race situations. The game consists of two main parts, arcade And Gran Turismo modes. Arcade lets you practise your skills and increase your experience. The Gran Turismo mode, of course lets you compete for money and buy and win cars. You can also use the cars you have won or bought in the arcade mode, which in itself has a story to it. You must complete all the races to earn new tracks. Along with significant changes to the game, the difficulty has been raised to give the game an extra dosage of realism. The fact that ignoring the status of your oil could cause your car to handle terribly also adds realism to the game. If you want to just relax, you can play the arcade mode, which has an excellent multiplayer section. It is so simple to load your friend’s garage. One feature I would like to see added to the game is a record section that works with multiplayer, and saves the records to both Memory Cards. The game is also compatible with the steering wheels available for the Playstation 2, and using them can add an extra edge of realism. The new feature where the car will respond to the force behind your push on the pedal means that you can race as if you were really sitting in the car you have selected.

Graphics: 10/10 – The graphics in Gran Turismo 3 are brilliant. The first time you turn the game on; you will most probably watch the opening movie. When you watch the movie, it leaves you wishing that the in game graphics looked as good. When you begin the game though, you realise that your wish has come true. The graphics are so good, that you will be unable to play the previous versions. The roads look real with texture variation, and the cars look as if you were watching a race in real life. The conditions are so realistic, that on some courses you will be partially blinded by the sun when you face a particular angle. When you watch your replays, you will see heat rise from the road on some tracks. The game has also fixed the flickering problem in the tuning section. Polyphony digital has done away with the racing modification upgrade, which disappointed me. I loved buying a little bomb worth $7000 and fully upgrading it when I played Gran Turismo 2. I am hoping that this feature will be re-included in the upcoming Gran Turismo 4. I am also disappointed at the small amount of cars as compared to Gran Turismo 2, but the quality of the cars included is great. The replay mode has had different styles of replays, with different types of shots and also has greater controllability.

Sound: 10/10 – The sound of the car engines is great, especially if you have surround sound set up. The powerful V8 cars make an authentic noise, whereas the low horsepower cars sound quiet. The soundtrack is excellent with a wide variety of music, which again adds realism to the game, and the sound effects are also great, especially in the rally mode. I feel that the only downfall is that the engine sound doesn’t change along with the various upgrades, especially mufflers. Also, the idea of unlocking more music tracks as you advance through the game is just another thing to work towards.

Game Value: 9.5/10 – Gran Turismo 3 has a learning curve of about an hour and a half. You will familiarise yourself with the controls and learn how to drive within 20 minutes, but it will take about an hour and a half to be able to corner, accelerate and brake correctly. The game is quite difficult to complete, but once you get used to the game and become familiar to the cars, you will never want to stop. The game has over 25 different events, each with several races, and each with its own bonus car(s). For example, one race may require you to own an American car, whereas another could require you to own a Mercedes Benz, or even a car with specific statistics. This is definitely not a game that you can bluff your way through; rather you must keep at it, and explore all that Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec has to offer.

Conclusion: This game is great if you are the type of person who enjoys racing games and is looking for a challenge. The capabilities are endless, and no two races will ever be the same. The game features many championship races, which award you with fast cars with huge horsepowers. These cars can then be used to beat more of the exciting challenges that this game readily presents to any player with any skill level. The quality of the game blew me away, and will probably have a similar effect on many more people to come. This is a game that must be bought, and there is no point renting it at all. I am giving this game a perfect 10/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 10/07/03

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