Review by optima

Reviewed: 12/14/03

Not your Gran Turismo, but definitley noteable in other aspects.

I have to mention that this game is not for the hardcore Gran Turismo player looking for a large variety of automobiles to fix and choose from, as well as continual races to replay many times over to earn money; however, this game IS for the average game player who wants to sit down and become engaged in the game immediately, rather than spend too much time in one place.

Although you may look at some popular sites such as Gamespot or IGN giving this game very mediocre reviews, I really don't think its as mediocre as these reviewers say.

I have to first mention that this game has many redeeming qualities about it that cannot be found in games such as Gran Turismo. This includes things such as the interesting story line, the great electronic soundtrack, racing points to purchase other options, interactive AI chatter (as found in Ace Combat 04), and great graphics. It is a wonderful arcade-style racing sim.

The game's soundtrack consists of more modern electronica popular in Europe (I.E. The ''Hed Kandi'' CD Compilation Series), knocking the game one notch above their previous soundtracks in Ridge Racer and Ace Combat. Personally, I think the sound engineering in the game is among the most noteable qualities. Though the actual in game engine noises aren't as great, loud, or as refined as say Gran Turismo, they fit the game rather adequately.

The actual sound is very engaging. The audience can be heard blaring their horns, screaming and chanting, and the AI chatter keeps you in your seat. Every now and then, your coach will give you driving tips that can help tremendously as well. The engine noises, unfortunately, aren't as up to par.

The graphics on the vehicles are also quite nice. I've only heard about the release of GT4 (which will obviously lose in competition to the game), but this game still has great lighting and shadows on the streets. I was hoping I'd see sparks fly from the exhaust, but that was nowhere to be found. The rims on each of the cars aren't as defined either. The 2d cardboard textured audience also, unfortunately, has to go; however, people are playing the game for the vehicles, right?

The control in the game is rather simple, with the help of the braking assist. The driving can also be rather slippery because of the brake assist, depending on the type of ground you'll be driving on. For example, driving on gravel can cause your car to slip out of control, whereas driving on the street can make your car drift too much on tight turns. Most players would probably agree that this is a cheap way of accomplishing the game, but the game does get difficult. The game claims to be more realistic in terms of the GT series, and it is very much so with the addition of air friction and ground types. I have to emphasize, more or less, that this game might take a little getting used to.

I've heard people complaining about the awkward camera that follows the car when drifting, but I personally prefer the in-car camera, which functions fine.

This game has many options that make it very replayable, including a storyline that offers many cars to be unlocked, as well as a mode allowing you to buy cars and tracks to race on. Rather than using money to buy new options, you are rewarded with Racing Points (RP) to earn you new things. I have to mention, unfortunately, that building up your car is nowhere near as extensive as Gran Turismo.. so finding a rather nice looking car and building it up can be quite easily achieved in comparison.

In conclusion, I have to repeat that this game is not for the hardcore GT fan; however, this game still has wonderful qualities that make it a game worth buying and playing for a long time to come.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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