Gran Turismo 2 Review
The undisputed king of racing has finally made his way back to the PSX. Debuting in May of '98 Gran Turismo quickly set the standards of videogame racing. Here we had a game that featured perfect graphics, true to life car detail, flawless car physics and over 140 cars. GT was actually planned to be released only in Japan, which resulted in a large selection of Japanese cars. Sony put much attention into advertising after they had noticed the phenomenal sales the game had received, reviewers hailed it as the greatest racing game ever, and they had every right to do that. Well after one year since it's debut GT2 was announced.
The game was originally scheduled to feature 300 cars but later got a boost to 400 and yet another boost to over 500 cars. Sony reported that Polyphony will be changing the graphics so they can push the PSX's limits more than ever as well as improving physics a notch. After the long agonizing wait and one short delay, GT2 has finally hit the US markets.
We all know to this day that the first GT didn't completely utilize the PS's full power and only used about 80 percent of it. When GT2 was announced, Polyphony quickly sat to work to increase the graphical abilities for the sequel. The demo looked a little bit grainy, and I was really hoping that, that wasn't the final result. It sure wasn't the result at all, some people may not notice any graphical change, but there certainly is one. The backgrounds are full of detail and colors, the environments are somewhat flat looking but they were probably reduced to make the cars as detailed as possible. Many of us thought that GT2 will not fit on 1 CD, and we were all pretty much right. Its astounding selection of cars, tracks and variety, definitely could not have been packaged on one CD, so GT2 is a 2 CD set. One CD consists of the Arcade Mode while the other is a simulation mode. Buying GT2 will make you feel more like you are buying 2 games for the price of one. The Arcade mode features around 50 cars, 10 rally cars, 6 rally stages, and 6 regular stages. Those of you who like to unlock goodies will have to race couple of times in order to get a few bonuses unlocked.
The simulation mode is named the Gran Turismo mode now, and this is where the game begins. You start out with a balance of $10,000, you only have enough money to purchase a used car. From there on you have to race and upgrade your vehicle to the fullest. But hey wait on there, before you can race on all of the unlocked tracks, you have to pass 60 different license tests. You heard me 60, if you saved your previous GT1 license tests then you are in luck. Now you have to start of on the 13th license test, instead of the 1st. They aren't too hard though, some can be challenging enough to make you rip your hair out, while others you will pass with a breeze. What a GT game is known for is its beyond belief car availability. GT2 features over 500 cars from more than 35 manufacturers. It also has an astounding selection of tracks, around 40 with reverse tracks included, all of them especially Laguna Seca are beautifully detailed with every little detail put into the game.
I saw the behind the scenes of the game and they were showing how realistic the game's cars move and feel compared to their real-life counterparts. Later on they showed a Viper GTS doing a power slide on Laguna Seca's tight S turn and then showed the same action in the game. I was amazed on how the developers captured the look, feel, and realism in GT2. In addition to all of the features GT2 has to offer, it also has Rally Racing which is a lot of fun to play. Extra features such as Rally Racing, goodies list, and 2 player racing make Gran Turismo 2 as enjoyable as it is. If I was to describe the whole game it would take me a lifetime, so I will leave the gameplay by saying that Gran Turismo 2 has changed the way we all play videogames, and to Dreamcast's Sega GT I can only say "good luck," because it's going to need it.
In any other game, sound may not always be as important, but in a racing game sound is one of the most important portion in a racing game. You need to be aware of the engine sound capturing that developers go through, they put a microphone to the tail pipe and record the car's engine rev-up. Each car in GT2 successfully sounds like its counterpart in the real world, the good folks at Polyphony Digital have gone all out to improve GT2 in every way possible. May I also mention that the game also features one extraordinary soundtrack, featuring Garbage and Rob Zombie as the two main artists. All the songs feature enough beats to keep the adrenaline rush going.
And finally we come down to the control, knowing that this game has perfect car physics I knew what I was in for. This isn't Need For Speed or Test Drive, hell no! You have to use your brain in this title, why do you think they call this the CARPG? If you have driven a car before than you will understand how realistic GT2 works. If you have never driven a car, don't worry about it you'll learn. The car physics are incredibly real, I highly doubt that any other game (except for GT2000) will beat GT2's car physics. Each car moves fluidly and realistically just as they would in real life. The control is flawless just like everything else about the game, all of the cars have been put into the game and have been made to feel exactly like there real life replicas.
In the end GT2 was a long wait, but that wait gave us an extra 300 cars to the original 300 cars, more tracks, Rally mode, and so much more that GT2 is by far one of the years best games and "the greatest racer in the history of videogames". This game is not worth a rental because it doesn't deserve one, what it deserves is a purchase without any hesitation. So go off scurry to your nearest retailer an buy GT2 if you know what's good for you.