Not your Grandma’s Turismo…
Having revolutionized the genre, the Gran
Turismo series is synonymous with racing brilliance. With two successful runs
under its belt, the series is poised to break even more ground on the PS2. The
third installment, Gran Turismo 3: A-spec, isn’t due out until the Spring
of 2001, but if the demo retrieved by the Game Revolution spies is any indication
of the final product, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
One of the great things about the GT series is the impressive lineup
of available autos. A-spec continues this tradition with over 150 authentic
cars from top Euro, American, and Japanese automakers. You’ve got your Acuras
and Hondas with a helping of VWs and Bimmers, topped off with Ford and Dodge
for good measure. Just about every mainstream car can be found here. The three
cars available in the demo (S2000, NSX, and Mustang Cobra R) all look awesome.
I can’t wait to see what else Sony has in store for this game.
The series is famous for top quality graphics, and A-spec takes advantage
of the PS2’s power to give fans quite an impressive show. Fifteen courses will
be available to choose from, including a few real life tracks. The demo only
contains the Trial Mountain course, but it’s easy to see just what a graphical
accomplishment GT3 is shaping up to be. Cars are extremely detailed and
accurately model their real world counterparts. Textures are looking great,
too. You won’t find any pixilated trees here, folks.
Of particular note are the “enhanced weather conditions.” Sunlight effects in
this game are some of the most amazing I’ve ever seen. Driving through a forest
will reveal streaks of light breaking through the treetops, and that light will
individually reflect off your shiny car as you pass through the beams. The heat
emanating from the tarmac creates a haze. You’ll also notice a brilliant looking
sky that might as well be real. Prettiest racer ever? Yeah, probably.
Sound effects are also pretty impressive. I’ve never gotten a greater sense
of power from the low growl of a video game engine before. The demo’s featured
music is classic…in an 80’s sort of way. Mötley Crí¼e’s Kick Start My Heart
is actually a good tune to drive to, despite my constant visualizations
of big hair and arena pyrotechnics. Oddly, it’s perfect for racing excitement.
The realism that helped make the Gran Turismo series so successful
is of course present in GT3. The handling and physics all seem accurate
– the learning curve promises to be pretty steep. Both simulation and arcade
modes are still available, making the game accessible to both hardcore racing
fans and arcade drivers alike.
Yet to be seen is the level of customization that will make it into the game.
One of the best things about the series is the amount of work you can do on
your car. Hopefully, GT3 will keep all the custom goodies intact and
maybe even throw in some new surprises to boot.
So far, Gran Turismo 3 looks like top quality racing love,
spit-shined to perfection. If it can stay true to its successful roots and expand
upon some already great gameplay, it’s poised to become one of the best racing
titles of 2001.