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Gran Turismo essentially set the bar as far as racing games go - back on the PlayStation, it pioneered not only immense gameplay, but photorealistic visuals, and saw through the introduction of the analogue and rumble features in the PlayStation controller. With the massive critical acclaim of the first two games, there was a lot of hype and expectation behind Gran Turismo 3, and somehow, miraculously, it lives up to it. This is one of the very best games you can buy for your PS2.
At its time, it was hands down the best looking racer on the market - the models are extremely well rendered, and still, many years on, look excellent (if outshone by the newer entries into the series). The presentation is a very well-rounded bag, though - the audio is also supremely well presented, with the shunts and bumps all sounding bombastic nad realistic. Also, the game has a great soundtrack, with a mix as eclectic as Feeder, Jimi Hendrix and Snoop Dog.
The gameplay is simply amazing - never before have racing fans been treated to such a level of depth, where you're able to customise your vehicle to your own specifications, and the very comprehensive A-Spec mode will ensure that this saps hundreds of hours of your life if you let it.
With amazing visuals, superb sound work, and altogether stunning presentation that marries with scintilating gameplay elements, this really remains one of the best racing games of all time, and an absolute testament to the power of the PS2. Although outdone by its sequels, when considering it as a product of its time, it was a revolutionary game that added unknown depth to the racing genre, and allowed everyone from petrolheads to those who just like to drive around, a gaming experience that's nothing less than extraordinary.
Gran Turismo 3 is an exclusive racing title for the Playstation 2 developed by Polyphony Digital.
If you are new to the series you should stop off at the arcade mode, here you will be able to get a feel for a handful of the games cars and practice on the tracks, most of which return from Gran Turismo 2, and here you will be able to race against a friend too.
Most of the game is found in the single player only Gran Turismo mode which is basically a career mode. Here you start off with a few credits and must purchase a cheap car, win races and work your way up the ladder by winning races and events, buying new and better cars and tuning old favourites along the way.
Though you will be able to enter the basic races early on soon you will come to a barrier, you don't have any license! To get one of the games many licenses you will have to pass license tests which will challenge your driving skills in many different ways, from starting and stopping the car correctly, cornering correctly or demonstrating you know it all by racing round a full circuit and putting in a great lap time. These challenges can be pretty tough at times and failure is only ever a second away so these can be pretty tense moments!
The racing physics of Gran Turismo sits right on the realistic approach so pulling insane drifts and lighting the track up with bursts of nitrous doesn't happen here. Instead you should drive sensibly remembering to brake for corners, turn in well so you can put the hammer down on the exit. The AI is a bit hopeless and you can exploit them by bouncing into them to slow yourself down if you are desperate for the win!
Graphically this game still holds up quite well, car models are reasonably detailed and the tracks are fair enough to look at too. Compared to other Playstation 2 games of the era it was an amazing game visually.
Gran Turismo 3 is a great racing game with a ton of options to keep any petrolhead busy well into the early hours!
Gran Turismo 3 is a great game that can be played on play station 2, but I prefer these games on play station 3. Still a good game though. This game is the first game in the series that was released on play station 2, so it was completely different than that others. The whole thing had changed. The graphic had become a lot better, and you could see more of the race. The cars were brilliant, and become more 3D, and the game play is a total revamp from any other game in the Gran Turismo lot. I dont think that this game is too expensive, and can now be bought for all kinds of prices, anything from under £5, to up to £20, depending on where you shop. The cars had been updately drastically, and the game introduced more models, which better features and more options to choose from when modifing it. The races are also a lot better, and you can race during the day and night, in some of the best cities in the world, inlcuding London and New York. Of course the 4th game is better than this one, but even so, I loved it, and it kept me entertianed for a long time.
this was an excelent game for it's day it still gives some games today a run for there money, game play wise compared to some of the games that are out today. The graphics aren't very good but it is a very enjoyable game i still play to practice my drifting cause the game is so realistic. if i was any one thinking of buyin a good racing game i would hundred and ten percent recommand this game to anyone
The original Gran Turismo, released back in 1998 on the PSOne, was a remarkable piece of software. Not only dwarfing Namcos brilliant Ridge Racer franchise, it dragged the racing genre back to the very forefront of console gaming. With its now-trademark glossy visuals, incredible depth and design, it became an instant classic.
Gran Turismo 2 continued the good work when it hit our shores in early 2000, but by this point people were immediately looking forward to seeing what the industries most realistic driving simulation would be like on a next-generation console. One year further down the line and we would discover the answer in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (GT3).
GT3 was originally to be named Gran Turismo 2000, though this title had to be dropped when its release date fell into 2001. To me, this raised the question as to whether developers Polyphony Digital saw the series first PS2 outing as a true sequel or merely a tweaked version of the previous titles. Certainly the statistics are a little concerning at first; the 600 cars that were at your disposal in GT2 have shrunk to under 200; all but two of the tracks on offer were in the previous games and the setup of competitions and menus is also noticeably similar. Fortunately however, the overall product turns out to be more than the sum of its parts.
As with the previous instalments in the series, the Gran Turismo mode is the place where you will find hours, days and weeks of your time disappearing at an alarming rate. The central hub allows you to access your cars; buy new ones; tune-up existing motors; perform licence tests and enter competitions, of which there are several dozen.
Just as in real-life, you must pass tests before you can go driving. There are five road-based licences and one rally licence, with each requiring you to complete eight challenges within a set time-limit. The tests become more taxing as you progress, beginning with simple accelerating/braking tests and gradually developing into more-taxing lessons that teach you how to corner at high-speeds and tackle oversteer among other things. They are excellent at working newcomers into the game, but not so clever when you consider how much importance is attached to each (most tournaments are locked before gaining specific licences) and how thoroughly difficult the latter few challenges can prove. As a result, you end up having to grind away for a number of hours at what are essentially just glorified training levels perhaps they should have been merely optional challenges.
Unlike other racing games, GT3 makes you work towards getting your super-cars rather than just handing them to you from the beginning it may be a good couple of days before you can trade in your Nissan Silvia for something a little more racey. A-Spec may have fewer cars than its predecessor, but this actually works to its ultimate advantage, as a lot of the slower, non-racing models have been ditched in favour of more competitive cars. Each car is wonderfully unique, with GT3s flawless engine bringing out all the nuances of each. And that doesnt simply mean the obvious speed and steering characteristics its also the individual sound of each engine, the power and balance of the brakes, understeer and oversteer characteristics, how quickly tyres will wear out the depth of the experience is unrivalled and the range of information, tuning and upgrading options on show are unlike anything youll have seen previously. There is still an immense (and curious) satisfaction to be found in turning a bog-standard run-around into a 900 horsepower super car. Only in Gran Turismo.
The sheer velocity and smoothness is utterly breathtaking, and this more than any other feature sets A-Spec apart from the PSOne instalments. It literally manages to make Gran Turismo 2 (a title once gawped at for its technical prowess) look jerky, cumbersome and slow. Never has any racing game conveyed speed so utterly convincingly, whilst also featuring such beautifully direct, real handling its near-perfection and adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay aspect.
Of course, its the graphics that are the highlight of Gran Turismo 3. From the menus, to the in-game action and replays, it is absolutely faultless. Cars are shiny, solid and perfectly-formed in the rallying events you can even see the weight of the car shifting under braking and the suspension working against the rough terrain. The circuits themselves are perhaps even better gone are the mushy, pixelated and drab landscapes of the PSOne games and in their place are vibrant, pretty locations that are packed with detail and effects. The best two being the new street circuits (Tokyo and Monte Carlo) that show off towering buildings, harbours, advertisement hoardings, road-markings and spectator areas not that youll have time to admire them given the speed of it all!
Look a little closer and you will come across some more-subtle but equally stunning visual effects. Powering down the straight on the Trial Mountain circuit, the top of your car will become a wash with shifting shadows as the light shines between the trees and onto your car. Laguna Seca features some tricky bits where the sun is on the horizon shining directly in your view, and the ambitious chaps at Polyphony Digital even managed to slip in some heat-haze effects to make the replays that bit more convincing. Glorious.
Although the circuits will be familiar to GT veterans, they remain arguably the best ever to be seen in any racing series. Theyre top-notch Trail Mountain has you darting through the forest with tricky sweeps and bumps to negotiate, whilst Special Stage Route 5 sees you powering through a night-time course lit up with lamps and Ridge Racer-esque tunnels. The best circuits include Laguna Seca, the legendary American circuit with an incredible ascent leading to a tight chicane (known as the Corkscrew) on the very crest of a hill, with precise judgement being imperative to avoiding crashing at high-speed, and Grand Valley Speedway, which has just about everything long-straights, hairpins, tunnels, a large suspension bridge, chicanes and sweeps conquer this and youll feel a million dollars.
Gran Turismo 3 confirms its longevity with the extensive variety and depth of its competitions, which are cleverly engineered to allow the player to race on the same circuits but under slightly different circumstances each time. There are four-wheel drive competitions for instance, which unsurprisingly require you to race in a 4WD car. Then there are model-specific tournaments for cars such as the Audi-TT and Mitsubishi Lancer. Also on the agenda are Japanese, American and European championships featuring opponent cars from these respective regions, as well as countless other variants. The rally races are excellent and behave with just as much depth as the road races, and finally an Endurance class; loved and hated in equal measure, these one-off races consist of lengthy (1-3 hour) tours of the games best tracks the ultimate test of your concentration and racing mettle, and though some may find the challenge a little laborious, it is fabulously rewarding.
Though generally GT3 is a big success, it does come a little unstuck in some areas. Considering the painstaking work that has gone into bolstering the handling and performance characteristics of the cars, its really odd that collisions with other cars remain woefully simple and uneventful there are still no visual or performance damaging effects either, and the field still only consists of five rather anonymous opponents. The infamous elastic A.I is still evident, meaning that in some circumstances youll find a Toyota Yaris keeping pace with your Honda NSX, for the purpose of maintaining close racing.
The soundtrack is decent, with Feeder and Ash providing the highlights, though irritatingly the songs are far too quiet in comparison to the engine notes, which makes hearing them clearly something of a strain, with no obvious remedy on the options menu for this. Still, the growls from the engine are marvellously realistic, as are the screeches from the tyres as you skate around corners or brake heavily.
The fact that almost all of the tracks on offer in GT3 were in at least one of its predecessors raises the question of difficulty. If you have never played Gran Turismo in any form, then it may seem initially a little daunting, as tracks can technically prove quite tough and take time to master, plus getting a decent motor will mean racing in the lower-classes several times over. GT veterans should be able to adapt a lot faster, though the game has to come recommended to all, as there is still a considerable amount of longevity to be found for the experienced gamers as well as the beginners.
Overall, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec is an excellent example of the racing genre, and undoubtedly the best instalment in the series thus far. Whilst it perhaps borrows rather too many of its assets from previous games, the extra power of the PS2 has enabled Polyphony Digital to create a racing experience that is smoother, faster and more realistic than ever before. Better A.I, changeable weather effects (there is a superb wet-track race in GT3 but with no actual rain), damage parameters and new circuits would have made it a classic, but the soon-to-arrive Gran Turismo 4 may deliver all of these. Still, a great Gran that youll want to visit time and time again.
© Thomas Clare 2005
Maybe few of us gamers realised it at the time, but December 1997 was to mark a pivotal moment in the evolution of gaming as we knew it. An unknown game developer named Kazunori Yamauchi set about creating a different kind of racing game, a game where the cars looked and performed as they would in the real world and the scenery at the various race track locations looked lifelike and believable. This game was called Gran Turismo and was available on the original Playstation console, there was one more Gran Turismo game released for the PSX before 2001 saw the release of Gran Turismo 3 A-spec for the fairly new Playstation 2. I remember actually seeing a feature on the six oclock news regarding this game, such was its originality and sheer groundbreaking look it was literally the first game of its like the world had seen.
The premise of Gran Turismo 3
Well, in its basic form it is a racing game and yet that description does scant justice to GT3. Dependant on what is selected on the options screen the player can either enter a single race and time trial via the arcade option or take part in the Gran Turismo competition. Single racing is pretty much as the name suggests while the time trial is a good way to hone skills before challenging the big boys in the Gran Turismo mode with the majority of the cars available save for those really special ones. The real fun of the game though shines through when the Gran Turismo mode is selected. The player is given 18,000 credits to buy a car to race at various competitions for prize credits and ultimately gold trophies. The amount of money given will only buy the very basic of models from the various car manufacturers so it is up to the player to earn credits in races to improve the spec of the car or even buy a better one. Various locations can be visited on the Gran Turismo screen map including the tune shop for those must have engine modifications, the licence centre where you can pretend to be conscientious driver by practicing braking procedures and the GT auto shop where oil can be changed, wheels upgraded and even a car wash for those Sunday morning car polishers.
Cars Cars Cars the very lifeblood of a racing game and yet another place in which GT3 excels. It really would be easier to list the manufacturers that are not featured in the game such is the breadth of choice. In Gran Turismo mode the player simply clicks on the car dealer building where he or she is faced by a menu of car producing countries. Britain is well represented with the likes of TVR, Aston Martin and Lotus offering their many models, and lets face it this is probably about as close as I will get to choosing the colour of an Aston Martin Visage before taking delivery of it. Again, some of the cars in these menus cannot be bought but have to be won by completing various race sections which adds a real incentive to do your best. The specs of the cars are displayed when you are browsing them so you can choose the best car for the race you wish to use it in. Once you get your car on the track the level of detail is sublime; each car looks just like it would in the real world and they even handle like their real life counterparts as I found to my cost while trying to corner in a PT Cruiser at the same speed as a Dodge Viper. Once a particular race or event has been finished it is worth sitting back and enjoying the replay as this shows the car at its very best.
A freshly painted tuned up car is of little use unless you have somewhere to play with it, which is where the tracks in GT3 come in. There is something for everyone here from street tracks in Rome and Japan through to rally circuits in the Alps and Tahiti and custom built race tracks like the Apricot Hill raceway and the Super Speedway. In total there are twenty circuits to burn virtual rubber on and again some of them can only be unlocked by competing and winning in other events. Having not visited any of the places in person I cannot confirm if this is a good representation of each course but such is the detail and smooth flow as you race along that I guess they are all fairly lifelike. If you happen to get over exuberant in your driving and find yourself in the gravel the car performs accordingly and any skid marks you lay down will be visible when you drive past the spot again.
Races & Leagues
In Gran Turismo mode the player need to enter various races and competitions in order to unlock better cars as well as earning credits to improve or replace the current car. The leagues vary from beginner all the way up to Professional as well as endurance and rally settings. Obviously it depends what car you have as to what contests within these leagues so dont expect to be allowed to enter your shiny new Aston Martin in the Clubman or Beetle cups. It is worth practicing in all these cups so you can win them and progress through the stages.
OK, it is time to talk polygons. Each vehicle in GT3 is made up by a mind boggling 5000 of these shapes of three or more sides which is a ten fold increase on Gran Turismo 2. Seeing all these polygons in action is believing, the cars are crisp and incredibly detailed while tracks are smooth scrolling with breathtaking scenery. It is in the replay mode where the graphics are shown to their fullest capabilities though with the action shown as it might be if you were watching a race on the TV. Shadows fall in the right places and reflections in the cars windows or paintwork look exactly as they should. In the car dealer screens the changing of paint colours is realistic while the cars revolve faultlessly.
Gone are the days when a simple beep and chirrup would suffice in a game, now you simply have to have exclusive mixes of songs from established bands, and GT3 is no different in this respect. Feeder has provided 3 tracks to improve your driving experience while Ash, Muse and Death in Vegas throw in a song each. There is even a band called Grand theft audio to tap your foot to in between clutch pedal shifts. The cars engines sound amazingly realistic and add a real tension to races as you rev at the start line. Cornering too erratically produces a deafening screech of tires to scare any safe driving advocate while heading nose first into a crash barrier or tree sounds like it should. While in the tune shop or auto shop a tire change sounds so realistic that only the scent of rubber and oil prevents you feeling like you are actually there.
Is Gran Turismo 3 child friendly?
In a word, yes. Those fine people at www.pegi.info have rated GT3 as suitable for all and Ive found no reason to argue with this. There is no violence or bad language and the worst that can happen is a car gets scraped across a crash barrier or tree. Good fun for all ages.
So do I rate Gran Turismo 3? Well, it was this game alone which swayed me towards buying a PS2 rather than an X-box, and you really cannot hand out better plaudits than that. The gameplay is exciting and fresh while the graphics must be amongst the best ever seen on the Playstation 2. You can currently purchase GT3 new for around £17 at Amazon.co.uk or used from £4 on ebay.co.uk but I would guess that this price will tumble further with the release of Gran Turismo 4 in March 2005.But whatever the price and whatever GT4 delivers every Playstation 2 owner worth their salt should have a copy of GT3 of their own. Five stars out of five.
GT3 is very much the best racing game on any console to date. I did think about leaving my review at that, but there are quite a few more levels on which to appreciate this game. For a start, its undoubtedly the only time ill ever get to drive a TVR speed 12, Dodge viper, Aston Martin vanquish, and all the other cars us guys wet our pants over. the other 2 Gt games were good, i liked the 1st one as you could buy all kinds of 2nd hand cars, and i could find my dads car on it, and drive it around! the 2nd one was ok, but when it emerged you couldnt actually complete the game due to a bug in it, i lost interest. But this one, this ones on a different level. The playstation 2s graphics are awesome. The cars aswell as the scenery look very much lifelike and this all adds to the realism. Ive always loved the licence section of GT. I think it adds a totally new aspect to a game, and a realism that no other game has. The licencing in GT3 is the best yet. Kept are the stick your boot in and get the car to stop at the 1000m mark in the best time, but the new tasks in the B and A international licences are really hard, and well thought out. If you want to achieve gold on every task, in every licence, youve got a game in itself right there, and ill give you a fiver if you manage it. As for the races, there's 3 leagues, of varying difficulty, a rally section and endurance section. Obviously you wanna start at the beginner league, and work your way up, earning more money for the wins, and buying better cars. I like the model specific races, such as the 'Race of the Silver Arrow' purely for Mercedes cars. the only flaw being, that you'll buy the best mercedes you can afford, do it up so its super fast, and when u win the event, you win the same car you just bought! oh well, you can always sell it to Fair Deal Franks autos, and the money is always nice. As i mentioned, once you complete all the races in an event, you'll receive a car,
and a sum of money. Once you win all the events in a league, you'll obtain a wonderful new car to show your mates, and the pride in knowing youre no longer a beginner, youre an amatuer!!! The endurance races are time consuming, but never the less, entertaining. Usually you'll have a car good enough to whoop the ass of your competitors, and so there isnt much wheel to wheel battling, but you can always stick your tongue out and wave when you come around to lap them for the 3rd time. the rallying really is worlds apart from tarmac racing. Theres a section on it in the licencing, so you can train up to be good at it. Its not the same handling as a proper rally game, and takes some getting used to, but once mastered, you'll be sliding your 1800bhp Suzuki Pikes Peak round a hairpin like a goodun'. Now to the cars. Theres a vast array of beautiful machines, and not so beautiful ones (sadly no fiat 500 to keep you amused this time). you might not be able to find your run of the mill cars anymore, but who needs em when youre sitting in your jet black Skyline waiting for the lights to go green? The only car they are missing is the one with the little black horse on, but you'll get over it. The handling is awesome. This is the only game ive played where you can actually tell what drive your car is, without looking at the spec. The Front engined, Front wheel drive (FF) cars handle just as awfully as they do in real life. ( i know, ive tried taking a roundabout at over 20mph in my Focus *shudder*). Needless to say the Rear Engined, Rear Wheel Drive (RR) cars are the hardest to control, but are the fastest, so get used to them! If you can drive a Viper, you can drive em all! The cars i like best are the Front Engine Rear Wheel drive (FR), theyve got something for everyone, and wont slap you round the face for trying to put some power down halfway round a corner. The fact that theres no damage isnt detrimental to GTs game pl
ay. It does encourage you to punt, rather than pass the other cars, but if you can hold back the urge, then youre ok. In the higher leagues tyre wear is an issue, and you will have to pit stop for a new set of boots, aswell as in the endurance races, which is a nice feature. Also, the timing af the change is crucial, because if they get too worn, you'll get a little too well aquainted with the barrier. Theres a lot of bonus cars to acquire, and you get them buy winning the good races. Theres a few Formula One cars, including Mansells Williams, and Sennas Lotus up for grabs in the very hard races. The multiplayer section isnt too hot, ive never been too keen on split screen races, and this doesnt do anything different to other games. You can use your own cars, but its hard to compare engines, power etc, as none of this data is displayed in the multiplayer menu. Because of this, i havent really played multiplayer that much, its ok, but nothing to write home about. Despite this, the single player gameplay is great. Ive had this game ever since it came out, which is about 2 years now, and i still play it, and shamefully, still havent completed it. I love driving round Laguna Seca in my Skyline Penzoil, and im sure i will do in another 2 years. The handling of the cars, and the visual effects make this a really pleasing game to play, and the format of the championships and races will keep you entertained for as long as it takes for Gran Turismo 4 to come out. It truly is an awesome game. the most fun you can have with your joystick?? Probably.
Gran Turismo 3, in my opinion, is the greatest game any console has ever seen. Ultra-realistic graphics, great sound quality and an almost eternal life-span make this an absolutely fantastic racing game. The Cars: Every car in GT3 is modelled to the finest detail, producing absolutely astonishing graphics. The cars are from all major makers including Subaru, Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan and many, many more. The cars range from Class C normal road cars to Class S monster race cars including touring cars, rally cars, LeMans cars and even Formula one cars. The Tracks & Races: There are many differnet races sorted into leagues of difficulty aswell as Rally events and painstakingly-long 2 hour endurance races. The more difficult/important the races, the better the money or car prizes are that get awarded, many of the best cars can't be purchased and can only be obtained by winning races. There are 18 different courses in all which range from proper race courses to street circuits and dirt tracks. Tests: Before you can start any proper racing you must perform various tasks in order to earn your licences, the licences range from the easy B-licence up to the very hard International-A & Rally licences. The licences are definetly the hardest part of the game and require a great effort to be able to complete. Tuning: In Gran Turismo you must tune-up your cars to improve their performance. You can enhance the suspensions, brakes, engine parts, turbo kts & intercoolers, computer & ROM parts and tyres to help your car perform better on the track. In the game is the GT Auto Shop where you can wash your car when it gets a bit dirty (especially rally cars), change oil to help improve your engine's performance and even buy new wheels from many manufacturers including Bridgestone, Dunlop, OZ Racing, Rays Engineering, Yokohama and more. Arcade mode: The arcade mode is useful for a quick game, no licences
are required, no money, no tuning, just pick one of the cars on offer and get racing, you unlock more cars to use as you go along. You can either do a single race, where you can unlock new cars and new sections or time trial mode and try to beat all of the pre-set times with a ready-chosen car. You can also just have a free run where you can simply hone your skills without fear of winning or losing anything. Overall, GT3 is an ace game, the best ever made (probably, until GT4 comes out!)
This game is the third installment in the now legendary Gran Turismo series, which is still the only one that allows you maximum control over the purchase, modification and racing of hundreds of licenced car models. Not much has changed in terms of the interface layout, with options from the main screen being to under go a licence test, view your "garage" where your beautiful motors are kept, go to the races and purchase and modify new models. The most frequent criticism that I hear of this game is "it hasnt changed". To this, I often come back with the point that this is not a bad thing. Sure, a game needs a few changes to keep it spiced up - there would be no point in releasing exactly the same game multiple times. But why change a winning formula? The similarities between its predecessrs and this game continue as far as the race tracks are concerned. The tracks are pretty much the same from the old games as these are fully licenced and written as far to real life as possible, with legendary tracks suc has Laguna Seca included. This aspect of the game is all about realism - the game could have come complete with several randomly made up tracks to keep the moaners happy. The fact that they have kept the real ones makes for a more realistic racing experience for us avid racing fans. Graphically, this game takes full advantage of what the playstation 2 has to offer. Where as before, the cars had the odd diagonal line in the bodywork, now the sports cars look slick and shiny and in some instances, unbelivable. The purr of a supreme cars engine never sounded so lifelike and the handling of each make, model and type of car is individual and defined. This game is a superb one which offers both realism and great addictive gameplay; something for everyone!
A near perfect illusion, Gran Turismo 3 A-spec blends the want of fantasy with the need of reality to create a simulation so pleasing to the senses that the morning drive to work will drop ten levels deeper into drudgery. This is the methadone of auto racing. A virtual experience that fluidly meets to fulfill the wants of any driver at the controls, whether they simply want to tear up the streets the way stuntmen do it in the movies or practice the art and science of drifting, turning and inching past the competition the way the professionals do. Glorious fanfares of rock and hip-hop trumpet through picturesque landscapes in support of some of humankind's most beautiful metallic creatures as they pause the heart with an initial glance and then kick-start it alive with the rumble of their passing. DEAL WITH THE DEVIL Here's an interesting daydream for you to consider. There's a knock at the door and in steps a gaunt-looking man with a whispy smile. He steps past you to turn on the television set and change the channel to a security camera overlooking the parking lot outside. It's a channel you never knew you had and by its broadcast there appears to be a Dodge Viper GTS sitting in your driveway that you weren't aware of either. Your initial jump towards the door is stopped by the gaunt-looking man who pins you with a mischievous grin and pulls out a remote control from within his jacket, the kind used for toy cars. He points to the car on the screen and motions back to the controller in your hand and you quickly realize that the controls belong to anything but a toy. This is the illusion Gran Turismo 3 offers, that you are controlling real sports cars on far off tracks from the remote location of your living room. It's an effect achieved not just through visual detail, but with realistic motion as the cars hold a solid presence in a solid world that whips past your view with alarming clarity.
Shafts of the morning sun stream down through laced branches to trickle over vibrating bonnets that sift through raised dust clouds and bounce over changes in elevation. Minutiae abound, from the mini-nova flares inside the headlights to the pieces of rock and dirt trailing drifting wheels in mid-air jumps, all achieved with a remarkable sense of depth of field. There's the 3D of a cube drawn on paper and then there's the 3D of the person who drew it and that's the level of difference you'll see here from other "3D" games made for the PlayStation 2. There are cracks in the illusion of course, not just the imperviousness the vehicles have towards any kind of damage, but the lack of anti-aliasing creates the minute jaggies that critical gamers find annoying. While those can be easily overlooked, the incredibly two-dimensional spectator crowds will have you laughing in disbelief. So out of place with the realism around them, I can only imagine that the game designers purposely created them to look like cardboard stand-ups, as if the race organizers couldn't afford to hire live extras and instead chose to line the tracks with standees instead. An amusing gaffe that only takes on importance if you look at it too long. TWO WAYS TO PLAY THE CURVES There's a variety of racing styles offered from the NASCAR-like march around an oval track, to the rough and tumble rally duels along dirt paths, and the finesse of a formula one pushing match around a twisting circuit. You can play any of these within two fields of reality. The Arcade mode which reflects the layperson's idea of racing, of turning only when the corners hit you and it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you're the first one past the finish line, and the Simulation mode which reflects the professional driver's reality of taking the corners with a calculated sense of geometry and reaching first place is not
as important as completing the course with the fastest time. Both modes are great fun, although the Arcade mode is limited to six tracks and a smaller selection of cars which need to be unlocked through the Simulation mode. I'm not fond of that option as I know many people who will only be interested in playing the Arcade mode and it seems unfair to penalize them for it. The Arcade mode is the game's common area. This is where initiates begin to practice and gain confidence with three difficulty levels (easy, normal, and hard) as well as the area for all drivers to meet for 2-6 players races. Car and driver stats from the Simulation mode can be brought over to this area, not only for practice and multiplayer races, but also to be tested in time trials for each of the tracks in the game, the real test of your virtual acumen. The Simulation mode is a single-player campaign, allowing you to create a driver character and develop that racer through a kind of career. This begins with earning a selection of driving licenses (for the different classes of racing vehicles, from the C to S class as well as the Rally cars). Each license is divided into several lessons, each with a bronze, silver, and gold completion level. Completing each class gives you a purse of money, and with that you head over to the car dealership. There are over 150 different cars available from manufacturers in several countries around the world including Australia, France, Japan, Germany, and others. The selection is the best you'll find in any racing game, from PT Cruisers and New VW Beetles to the Viper GTS I mentioned earlier. Each comes with its own price tag, some that are not for sale initially. Players have to take what they can earn and work with it, entering and winning races to expand their banking accounts so that they can move on to better cars. Driver skill may be the main factor in this growth, but a garage has also be
en included so that players can work special tune-ups to help give their (ahem) less-expensive cars the edge over the more lavish competitors. Enhancements include changes to the brakes and suspension, engine and air management, as well as upgrades like a turbo kit for the engine. The races themselves have the pomp and circumstance of the real thing, with qualifying stages and splash menus that advertise themselves like travel brochures. FULLY LOADED There are many other features such as replay theatres and game data save options, but the best has to be the music list, a long customizable library offering a wide berth of tastes, from Judas Priest's "Turbo Lover" to Snoop Dogg's "Dogg's Turismo 3", there's an adrenaline anthem for all tastes. At times it can be difficult to make out the music over the thrum of the engines and the squeal of the tires, especially in the multiplayer mode, but it adds a level of audio excitement I just couldn't do without. Display options include two formats: 4:3 and 16:9, the latter of which looks real good on an High Definition television set as you get the widescreen effect, matching more closely to the rectangular view you get in real life. It's looks really good on an Imax screen by the way, but that's just a fancy toy and I'm quite happy playing the game on by dusty old TV set at home. The game supports steering wheels, in particular Logitech's GT Forcewheel, which is a worthy buy if you can afford it as the game's realistic physics model rewards the added range of control you get from a wheel. Knowing that most of us will be using a standard PS2 controller, the game software enables the pads to be "touch-sensitive" so that you can have some degree of range in acceleration and braking (although I think most players tend to jab the buttons for all their worth). I can't see anyone turning the vibration
function off by the way, as it adds such a great layer of enjoyment to the game, especially in the rally racers (although both my hands are numb now). SONY'S BEST RIDE In terms of all-round performance, Gran Turismo 3 A-spec is the best you'll see on the PlayStation 2, making it the showcase title for this summer. It is the best all-round racing game I have ever played, including features and options and although it leans heavily to racing fanatics over casual players, it doesn't alienate them and the game should be great fun for everyone. It's the racing game to have if you own a PlayStation 2 and for that reason I'm giving it a full recommendation. Hope you like my first review Thanks Rich t
I actually bought an original Playstation on the strength of the first Gran Turismo. My cousin had it - I was round at his place one day and noticed he had a Playstation. "Do you have Gran Turismo?" I said. "Oh yeah - want a go?". He couldn't get me off the thing for another six hours. Here was a game that took real cars, with unique handling parameters, put them on beautifully realistic tracks, and allowed you to drive them with a realism never before encountered in a driving game. I was hooked. I loved the original GT, but Gran Turismo 2 even more so - the sequel featured something like over 400 different cars, from a whole range of manufacturers. I bought my PS2 on the strength of Grand Theft Auto III, but also got GT3 at the same time. I must admit that GTAIII is my favourite of the two, but that is not to denigrate the fine game that GT3 is. It is quite simply one of the best racing simulations ever produced for a computer or console. Simple as that. The only real beefs I have with GT3 are that there is no visible car damage or dashboard views (although I would imagine this is either due to the immense amount of extra programming this would entail, or (for the damage) it is a stipulation of the car manufacturers that have licensed their vehicles for the game), and that the number of cars available (about 130) is drastically reduced over the plethora available in GT2. I got a perverse kick out of racing some of the more obscure vehicles featured in GT2 (such as the Toyota Starlet!), but more importantly less of the cars I have owned in real life are featured in the new game! I am assuming you are familiar with the Gran Turismo genre and will therefore concentrate on the features of GT3 over its' earlier bretheren. The best feature of GT3 is the graphics, by far - although the original game combined realistic graphics with realistic car handling, the improved processing power of the PS2 is used to raise the b
ar of GT3. The detailing of the cars, the texture of the tracks, the roadside objects, the effects of the weather...it's breathtaking. And it gets even better in the replay mode. When viewing the grid before the start of the race, cars in the background "ripple" due to the heat haze of the hot exhausts of the vehicles in front, for example. For those not familiar with it, it is possible to be fooled into thinking you're watching an actual race rather than a computer game. Sensational. The replay mode shows all the other games how it should be done, with multiple features. Watch a car drift through a bend at 1/4 replay speed, and I guarantee your jaw will hit the floor. Again, the sounds and handling of the cars are spot-on. The tracks are beautifully detailed, featuring hills, dips, crests, adverse-camber bends - the lot. But a whole new facet has been opened with the addition of rally cars and special rally tracks - this game takes on Sega Rally, and wins. With all the detail, you would expect some slow-down of the frame rate, but this isn't the case. It's always beautifully smooth. You get top-notch music too, courtesy of bands like Feeder (signed to Sony's music label of course). So if they've dropped all the cars, how have they improved on the racing? With loads of new racing formulas, of course. You still need to do the same old driving tests to obtain your different racing licences, of course, but each level features many different themed events. Rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, four wheel drive, Japanese, European, American...you can even participate in a "one make" racing series for the new Beetle, Audi TT or good old Mini if you want to. Each car looks, sounds and handles how it should. Until you tune it, of course. As before, you can bolt on turbochargers, strip out weight and tune the gearbox and suspension and, as before, each car has it's own allowed modifications available i
n keeping with it (i.e. those highly-tuned Honda VTECs wouldn't take kindly in real life to a turbo, so you can only tune them normally in the game too), all of which subtly alter the driving characteristics of the vehicle. Then take it out onto the High Speed Bowl to see what she will do (I've had 260mph out of a twin-turbo'd Mercedes CL600, so there). A new feature of GT3 is the "Wheel Shop", which allows you to visit an imaginary branch of Halfords and fit the alloys of your choice to your steed. None of which change the car's handling, but jazz up the looks no end. Unfortunately for the boy racers amongst you the Vauxhall Nova is not featured, and you can't fit a bodykit but hey - maybe those clever fellows at Polyphony Digital will put this feature into GT4? So, it's a great game. You can dip into it for a quick race round a circuit, or sit transfixed for hours finetuning your car before entering it into a 500 lap endurance race. What will I be driving? Something American with a highly-tuned, rorty V8 soundtrack - keeping the thing on the track is half the fun!
This was the first game i purchased when i got my ps2 because of the sheer depth and gameply possibilitys. The races on this game are simply amazing. The computer has a high Ai and will cut you off at corners and bump you to make you loose control. However the game has a far greater depth than this because you can either pick between an arcade race or career. The career as the name suggests is when you have your own career. You start off with a limited budget and can only afford a cheap car. You then do begginers races and gradualy save up for car upgrades and new cars. This game is sure to keep you addicted for months thanks to the rally races, on road races and endurance races that can last for hours!!
The PlayStation 2 version of Gran Turismo, the well-known driving game from developers Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Electronics.