|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||GRAN TURISMO|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||Racing||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||May 1998||Analog, Wheel and Duel-Shock.|
Setting the Scene
Where do I start? There is so much to say about Gran Turismo and after playing this classy racer solid for the last couple of weeks I must say that I still haven't experienced half of the massive amount of gameplay contained within this title. Let's start with the developers. Poly Entertainment are the highly skilled team who introduced us to Motor Toon Grand Prix a few years ago. It proved to be a colorful cartoon racer that raised a certain amount of interest with it's graphical flair pushing the PSX's 3D capabilities to new levels. This was soon followed by the sequel Motor Toon GP 2 which included more tracks, extra vehicles, quality FMV movies and many wonderful power-ups. Then all went strangely quiet. The reason for this has now been unveiled in the form of Gran Turismo which can only be described as the most complete racing experience of all time. Expectations were high and with fingers trembling I inserted the CD.
Gran Turismo promises to be the ultimate racer and first impressions lead me to believe that nothing on any system will come close to topping it this year.... at least. Including an arcade and simulator mode, abundance of racing circuits and between 140 and 240 cars (depends on who is to be believed) to unveil, Gran Turismo is the racer to end all racers.
'GRAN TURISMO - The real driving simulation' boasts the opening credits and with a superb lengthy CG FMV opening sequence no one, but no one is going to argue with this fact. If you suffer from asthma then I plead with you to have your inhaler on stand-by as the intro will surely leave you breathless. Furthermore, the FMV is actually a higher polygon version of the in-game graphics. The highly polished vehicles could easily be mistaken for the real deal as break lights flicker on entry to each corner, wheels lock with oversteer and the suspension drops on every turn before springing back to life as the cars accelerate out of the bend. Most of the cars that appear in the game are showcased in this intro and if you are not drooling and ready to race after this build up... well, all I can say is you must be stone cold dead. In-game the visuals surpass all other racing titles presently available on ANY games system. Apparently this is the very first PSX racing game that uses the system of projecting textures onto 3D models in a similar way that was seen in Mario 64. The result is the cars look metallic and ultra realistic with the reflections changing in reaction to different surroundings. When driving through the mountainous regions every ray of sunlight moves across the vehicle as if tracking you through the winding canyon. Night time racing highlights this best as street lights flash over the car's windscreen while brightly lit multi-story buildings reflect from the highly polished paintwork. The cars are precisely replicated to the most minute detail which will probably only be noticeable to a person who actually owns one of these vehicles. In fact when your trailing bumper to bumper behind a rival car the level of detail almost becomes a distraction. The circuits are well designed and are situated in a wide selection of environments from dense forests to high speed racing rings. Grandstands line the home straight while hazards appear on every tight turning point. This may be in the form of a solid wall, grass verge or a run-off area consisting of loose chippings that grind your vehicle to a halt. The game moves along at an impressive 30fps and shows no sign of any pop-up, although when traveling at speeds in excess of 350 km/h on the long straights the draw line can be a little hazy, but I suppose this happens in real life when travelling at breakneck speeds. I wouldn't know. The detail in the replays moves up an extra couple of notches where you can select which car you wish to follow and tamper with the viewing angles to your hearts content. Should you wish to save them on a memory card and retain for posterity, or simply to show off to your mates at a later date then this facility is available.
Sounds and Effects
Ever been trackside at the start of a motor race? The roar of the engines at the off is completely deafening and this has been captured perfectly. So much so that I found after repeat playing I had to turn down the volume a couple of notches. I must be getting on a bit. Each car seems to have it's own engine noise whether it be the whining of the turbine or the rich throaty roar as you hit maximum overdrive. The lightweight models produce a pitiful high pitched cry of anguish as they strain to move through the gears when pushed to the limits. I also found it amazing the difference in sound when you upgraded your engine. On the music scene the tunes are satisfactory being an upbeat selection of jazz/rock sounds although they are often drowned out by the rip-roaring engine noises and the sound of burning rubber.
It is advisable that you first concentrate on the races offered in Quick Arcade. Here you compete in a Single Race, Time Attack or 2 Player Battle. There are 3 difficulty setting to choose from Easy, Normal or Hard with the main objective being to win each race, on all difficulty settings, in all three grades of car, which will unlock all 24 full races, various goodies and amazing bonuses. Now it's time to select a car but before this you must decide on a specific maker from Subaru (Impreza WRX 4WD, Legacy RS / Saloon or Sedan), Toyota (Supra RZ, Celica GT, MR2 GT-S, Trueno GT Apex), Nissan (Skyline GT-R V-Spec, Silvia K's 2000cc, 180SX Type X, Primers 2.0Te), Honda (NSX Type S, Prelude Si V Tec, Integra Type R, Civic Si R), Mazda (Efini RX-7, Svanna RX-7, Eunos Roadster, Lantis R 2000) or Mitsubishi (GTO Twin Turbo, Lancer GSR Evolution, FTO GPX, Mirage Asti RX). Each car is graded from A to C along with stats showing acceleration, speed and handling. You may also change the color using one of the shades supplied by the cars real manufacturer. Hey, this is like going into a real showroom to buy a car and if you cannot decide then feel free to drop into Time Attack and take each of them for a test drive (would I make a good salesman?). Ready to go? Not quite. Decide on the type of setting (either Racing or Drift), Automatic or Manual Gears and one of the four racing circuits initially available. Beginning from 6th position on the starting grid adjust your viewing angle from in-car to up-and-behind (a third higher vantage point is available on certain versions), if you so wish, then prepare to bump and barge your way through the pack in a race where every computer controlled car gives it's all. The Easy races should pose little problem but the Hard setting will require precision overtaking and nerves of steel. Once the race is over you can sit back and watch a multi-camera replay that is presented in style normally reserved for television. Pressing the face buttons changes the view from in-car to intelligently positioned track side angles that will have you drooling from the mouth. Quick Arcade will offer many hours of entertainment but for a true stimulating experience then drop into Gran Turismo mode. Gran Turismo is a fairly complicated set of events (even more so when the instructions are in Japanese). Here you are given total freedom to reach the pinnacle of your racing career and it's your own decisions that will determine how fast you advance up the rankings. Just as in real life you begin your career from the bottom with 1,000,000 credits in your account. Sounds good? Not really because you don't have a vehicle so it's off to the showrooms to purchase the best car that money can buy. Each of the ten manufacturers have their own showroom but unfortunately none of the tempting motors on display are within your budget. Doh! There's no choice but to wander into the back courtyard of 'Dodgy Den's Dealers' where you will find a selection of second hand cars of which a few are within your price range. Is this a true simulation, or what? If you take pride in your vehicles then your second-hand banger can be re-sprayed or simply taken to the car wash to spruce up it's appearance, but take care, this all costs credits. At last you are now ready to race. In Gran Turismo mode their are four groups of events to enter. Time Trial and Spot Race are immediately available. Spot Race offers five circuits in which prize credits are awarded depending on the position you finish the race. Don't expect an easy ride to victory because, let's face it, your car is crap. Finger down on full throttle, brake before the corners, follow the perfect racing line and learning every inch of the circuit may still leave you trailing the pack. Therefore a good qualifying time will move you up the grid a few places and then keep one eye on the mirror and block everything that tries to overtake. This sometimes means you must weave all over the track because if your opponents pass, you will not see them for dust. Soon you will be able to afford the car of your dreams and compete on an even footing. Time Trial allows you to sample the test course plus ten of the circuits in standard and mirror mode. Once you have gathered a few credits together you may return to the second hand car sales and trade in your vehicle for another model. Obviously the value has been reduced so if you prefer you can simply buy extra parts and customize your original vehicle. There are several grades of tire, brake, engine, suspension, muffler, mission and turbo components on offer at reasonable prices and they all should improve your performance if balanced correctly. At first I thought about taking a course in car mechanics as it was a little confusing but thankfully there is a test circuit on hand so you may tinker around with the settings then take it for a trial run. Now when you return to racing you may adjust the set-up for each circuit. There is little that cannot be adjusted - aero dynamics front and rear, gear ratio, turbo boost, brakes, stabilizer, camber, damper, ride height, spring rate, tire set up, weight reduction, racing body... the list is endless and each may be set within a fraction of a degree. When attempting to enter the big money events you will notice that the races in GT League and Special Event are inaccessible without the relevant driving licence. That's right, you must pass a series of stern tests before a Driving Licence is awarded. There are three grades of licence which are class B, class A and International A which must be obtained in that order. The Driving Test consists of eight short examinations which involve acceleration, emergency stops, advanced cornering, hand brake turns and single circuit time trials. Some of these are quite tough but learning these skills are essential to your progress and don't worry because you can attempt each section of the test as many times as you like. The most experienced drivers will receive a Gold Medal which, if all eight are collected, rewards you with a special custom car. Gaining a licence will unlock the most exciting and profitable races, not to mention the long distance endurance events which last up to 90 minutes. Qualifying in pole position now earns you bonus cash while winning the race brings in multi-millions credit prizes and free cars that cannot be found anywhere else in the game. Soon you will be rolling in funds and stocking up a garage full of vehicles that will cause envy to your rivals. These may be sold for credits or upgraded and used for racing. There is even the option to save your machines onto a memory card then take it to a mates house and race each other in split screen mode. It is believed that there are between 140 - 240 different makes and models of cars in Gran Turismo which at the rate of my progress will take many months to unveil and test drive. There has got to be something in there for everyone and each of the car manufacturers has an ultimate dream machine for you to aim for which is priced at a reasonable 50,000,000 credits. Control of the vehicles is so realistic, even more so when the Sony Analog controller is used. The new dual-shock Analog pad is also compatible. The most obvious point to make is that you must DRIVE the cars. This means breaking on the straight leading up to the corners and accelerating out of the bend. Failing to do this will undoubtedly see your vehicle hurtle out of control, smashing into the barriers and grinding to a halt. Should this happen then it is painfully slow to turn the vehicle around and build up your speed once again. Thankfully your opponents have been coded with a less than perfect AI and you will often witness errors and misjudgments as they make similar mistakes to your own which offers further realism to the proceedings. Selecting one car and sticking with it has both advantages and disadvantages. The obvious benefit is that you will quickly learn how to handle the vehicle in all circumstances and taking those tight corners will soon become second nature. On the downside many cars are only designed to perform on a particular type of circuit and racing the wrong car on the wrong track can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. By changing to a more suitable vehicle you will knock seconds off your lap times and advance through the stages far quicker.
Value for Money
When Gran Turismo finally arrives on a format for your system don't even think twice about renting this excellent racer, buy first. In fact if the cash flow is on the low side then trade in all of your other racers to allow you to obtain this little gem.
I expected Gran Turismo to be good, but not this good.
I must first say that I love racing games in the mould of F1 '97, V-Rally and TOCA Touring Car Championship. I still enjoy the likes of Rage Racer, Rally Cross and NFS but I find that these pure arcade racers are great fun for a few days and then they become a little repetitive.
So be warned all you readers who have contacted me over the last few months saying that GTR (Total Drivin') and V-Rally were unplayable - what you really meant was that they took a while to learn how to handle.
Patience is essential to get the best out of Gran Turismo as you steadily gain experience to take on the more difficult circuits and credits to purchase the higher grade vehicles. The depth of gameplay is remarkable, the strategy could be compared with Tomb Raider and the simulation is truly stimulating.
to start with I must confess..."My name is Tom and I am a racing
game addict". With that said, I'll jump right in and say that for
anyone that shares my addiction, Gran Tourismo is pure video racing game
I have been playing around with the Japanese import for a couple of weeks, struggling with the menus, license portion and car info because I don't read Japanese. All the while I was having a grand ole time with the actual racing portion of the game.
When the American version was released, I just had to grab hold of it to see what I was missing from the text and also to see if there were any real differences in the gameplay.
Here is what I found...
First off I could now read the info on each car! The history and detail of each car is very nice and informative. I got lost for hours just browsing through as many cars as I could before jumping into a race.
I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the frame rate seems a bit better on the US version. I didn't notice any slowdown, especially when smoking the tires or driving through a full grid of cars. The cars also jump around a bit more and are a tad more tolerable when taking a turn at the wrong arc.
Passing the license was also easier as the time to complete each trial has been marginally extended.
The music has also been changed to a more rock / tecno soundtrack that I didn't much like at first but found myself getting hooked little by little by the melodic arrangements.
Martin covers the game perfectly, so I won't rehash the details, I'll just give you my opinion...
This is easily the best racing game ever released for any system. It is also quite possibly one of the best-made games of all time. It has incredible depth and reply value, killer graphics and true to life sounds. Break out one of the new Sony dual shock controllers and you will be hard pressed to put this game down anytime soon.
Gran Tourismo is truly a landmark title and one that is absolutely worthy of your gaming dollars.
first I didn't believe the hype, how could they beat the racing action
and graphics in V-Rally?
How could they improve on the money winning and car buying game elements in Rage Racer?
Well, they actually did.
This game has absolutely blown me away, I cry for my other racing games because I'm never likely to play them again, Gran Turismo has it all, brilliant graphics, 270+ cars to race (how cool is that?), great soundtrack and effects.
I've never sat watching replays of races in any driving game before, I do it for almost every race in GT. Everything in this game is awesome, I can't wait to see GT2 to see how they're going to improve on this.
above review was based on the Japanese version, we have since played the
European PAL version and can tell you that it has been ENHANCED during
The Arcade mode now runs 25 percent faster thus allowing some amazing aerial jumps that just were not possible in the original version. The in-game music has been replaced with vocal and instrumental tracks from European bands which gives the game a more professional sound than before.
The choice of cars is now 290, each of which can be modified to a massive degree allowing you to create the perfect racing machine. The manufacturers are: ASTON MARTIN, TVR, NISSAN, CHEVROLET, TOYOTA, HONDA, MITSUBISHI and CRYSLER.
There are 11 tracks which can be raced in all directions, three of the circuits are night races.
We believe that the North American version will have the same specification, although the soundtrack will obviously be different.
If you haven't already got an Analog Joypad then buy one when you get the game. It really enhances the gameplay and allows you to fully appreciate the subtle differences in handling that tuning your car makes. The "Dual Shock" effect is nothing startling - in fact it just feels like you have a vibrating pager in your hands, so don't fall for all of that crap about being able to "Feel" to impact with other cars.
This game has more depth to it than many RPG and Adventure games. The aim is to start with a underpowered second hand car and build it up to a true racing machine by using the prize money from races that you take part in. Every time you slightly modify your car it races completely differently - meaning that you have to adjust your cornering and braking strategies for each track continually. There is literally months of gameplay in this title.
I would confidently say that this is the most in-depth and enjoyable racing experience ever created on and computer or videogame system. I would guess that this will not change for quite some time!