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Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Style(s): Sports Car Racing
Synopsis: Sony's award-winning racing series makes its debut on the PlayStation 2 with Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec. Taking the driving engine and interface of the 1998 PlayStation original, the game offers enhanced visuals using the system's 128-bit processing power. With over 150 cars available from actual car companies, some of which include Ford, Fiat, Audi, BMW and Chrysler, Gran Turismo 3 offers players a choice of models based on their real-life counterparts, from the car bodies to the individual engines. As before, Gran Turismo 3 A Spec is divided into an Arcade Mode and a Simulation Mode. Both modes have a variety of updated courses from the previous two titles as well as a few new tracks. The Simulation Mode has players purchasing and racing for money, with 60 different racing circuits divided into beginning, amateur, and championship difficulty levels, as well as ten rally and ten endurance rounds. In order to enter many of the races, players will have to earn certain licenses by passing a series of tests, some of which involve taking turns and stopping correctly within a time limit. The soundtrack features artists ranging from Snoop Dogg to Lenny Kravitz to Judas Priest. Players can also alter their gameplay view from a camera positioned behind the car to a first-person perspective inside the driver's seat. As with others in the series, Gran Turismo 3 supports vibration feedback and full analog control. A memory card is required in order to save progress, statistics, and accumulated cars. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
Package Contents: Registration Card
Controls: Joystick/Gamepad, Steering Wheel
The included manual explains the various features and options clearly. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
The best ever seen on a console system <i>or</i> an arcade cabinet. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
The game racing fans have been waiting for since the announcement of the PlayStation 2 has arrived a bit later than expected but is certainly well worth the delay. As soon as you pick your car and hit the road, you'll have to reassure yourself that you're actually playing a game and not watching a televised race. The graphics are indeed <I>that</I> realistic, and are among the best seen on a console or arcade system to date. In addition to the great graphics, which are the new benchmark for future racing games, there is an unusually diverse soundtrack featuring songs by Lenny Kravitz (who has been quoted as saying that he's a huge fan of the game), Apollo Four Forty, Jimi Hendrix, Judas Priest, M?tley Cr?e, Papa Roach, Raekwon, and Snoop Dogg. Complementing the eclectic music are realistic engine revving and acceleration noises specific to each particular car; expect the noise you hear when behind the wheel of <i>your</i> car to be re-created when driving the same model in Gran Turismo 3. Gameplay is almost identical to the two previous Gran Turismo installments, so owners and fans used to the 32-bit games will have no trouble getting into this one. The optimal control scheme has the left analog stick assigned to turning and the right one controlling acceleration and braking, but just about any configuration you can imagine can be completely customized. The grueling but ultimately rewarding license tests have also returned, but they are easier than before, which many will appreciate. The game is also divided into a fast-paced arcade option and the unbelievably deep simulation mode. A slew of licensed car companies have been included in this version, so many that they are no longer divided up by maker, but by national affiliation. The number of cars available is just over 150, but for the models that are present, you'll be able to customize them to your heart's content, from turbo kits to tire types, cosmetic rims, paint jobs, and much more. As before, customizations can be made before a race begins in order to accommodate certain driving conditions (such as rain, dirt roads, and so forth). While the presentation and amount of depth is truly impressive, Gran Turismo 3 still has a few minor faults. Many will be quick to point out that this is simply a polished version of its PS predecessors. This isn't far from the truth, and despite its awesome visuals (particle effects in the rain and sunlight creeping through forest trees are especially noteworthy), Polyphony Digital needs to take this series to the next level with the introduction of real-time damage. Despite more realistic handling and road physics, Gran Turismo 3 still has the bumper car physics of its predecessors -- and while whizzing down tracks is unbelievably fun, slamming straight into a wall at 120 MPH brings only a slight hiccup into a race, one that can be quickly remedied by backing up and continuing the race as if nothing happened. Polyphony Digital won't be able to get by with simply increasing the roster of cars and enhancing the graphics in the next version of Gran Turismo. Gamers are quickly becoming hungry for violent crashes, rollovers and flips (none of which are possible to achieve in GT3), and the length between GT3 and its next installment will no doubt allow other game companies the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of GT3 while at the same time exploiting this weakness. Of course, it remains to be seen if the makers of the vehicles will even allow the developers to show damage on their cars. So is Gran Turismo 3 the definitive racing game? Yes. Is it worth buying? Definitely. You'll be playing it for months on end. Is it as "next generation" as it could have been? Not quite. Once you get past the incredible visuals, you realize that this is just a prettier version of Gran Turismo 2, which is in no way a bad thing. This is, without a doubt, a must-have game for the PlayStation 2. Hopefully the collision and damage physics will be addressed in the next version. When (and if) this is implemented, the game will be perfect. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
This will keep you busy for months, unlocking all of the hidden cars, race tracks, and license tests will take you hours. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
Great, diverse soundtrack as well as awesome sound effects individual and specific to each car. ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
Great, great fun...like the other installments, this game is incredibly addicting on so many levels (license tests, arcade racing). ~ J.C. Barnes, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad, Steering Wheel.