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Gran Turismo
Score: 98%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Media: CD/2
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Racing/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:
Oh My God!!! CGI on Wheels!!! The cars in Gran Turismo are deliciously beautiful. Screen shots of this game look like they should be FMV. In fact, they look TOO good. THESE cars don’t look THIS good in real life. The cars reflect the “perfect” automobile that the car companies would like everyone to envision when their name brands are spoken of. This is fine until you’ve been through two grueling laps of a killer track, having smacked into every other car on the road at least once, and your car still looks like it hasn’t left the showroom (factory...?) floor. Personally, I enjoy the trend of games maintaining the damage inflicted upon the environment by gamers. It makes the game seem more “real.”

The sound is very good in this game too. The music has a fast tempo, adding a pounding rhythm to the high paced excitement, and the sound effects are VERY realistic. Candy for the senses.


Gameplay:
If you have the patience to get past the learning stage, this game is VERY fun. The simulation is essentially “the RPG gamer’s Racing game.” Gran Turismo works well, with great response and very good A.I. However, less experienced drivers may not like the accuracy of the simulation. (NOTE: Driving race cars on these tracks at high speeds and NOT smacking into walls or other cars is NOT easy. Watch a race or two on TV and see for yourself.) And yet, some of the same people who watch races for the excitement of the danger involved get upset when they can’t “dance” through a race, come in first, and not hit anything or lose control. Well, sorry, guys... GT makes you EARN your victories. In fact, in the (really cool) simulation mode, you even have to EARN your licenses. And some of the tests involved are JUST PLAIN DIFFICULT.

Difficulty:
Gran Turismo has two modes of play: Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode.

Arcade Mode has three different difficulty settings, and is designed to let ANYONE jump in and play. Other options inside change the difficulty, such as Automatic or Manual Transmission, and the Standard or Drift options which change the physics engine and the handling of the cars. This is an excellent starting point to get used to the game.

Simulation Mode offers much, much more game depth. You get to buy your own (cheap) car, then choose modifications, adding more and more as you use your car to win races. If you make enough money, you can sell your car and combine the money to buy a better used car, or even a new car... or just keep adding higher performance (read “Expensive”) parts to your car. Choose your enhancements wisely and you’ll notice a large increase in performance in your next race. If you are really interested in racing, and not just in playing a racing game, then Gran Turismo’s Simulation mode might have the depth you’ve always wanted and could never find. If you have less interest in real racing (or less patience), you’ll probably prefer the Arcade Mode.

For other tips on Gran Turismo, click here for our very own Gran Turismo Strategy Guide.


Game Mechanics:
Gran Turismo is a solid title with an offering of cutting edge gameplay, graphics, and sound. The inclusion of two radically different modes, which are both great in their own right, offers a variety of gameplay options for the gamer. Varying the physics engines allows the gamer to “tweak” the game depth and response to their liking. The physics engines are very good; the graphics engine is superb. The graphics in this game show that amazing things can be accomplished with that same old familiar console.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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