Gran Turismo 3
By: Matt C. on July 15, 2001
I've been a huge racing game fan my whole life, but nothing could have prepared me for Gran Turismo 3. As I watched the FMV/real-time intro unfold before my eyes, I nearly burst into tears. (Okay, not really. But you get the point.) The game I have been waiting for almost two years was finally here.
After I was done watching the impressive intro, I immediately went to the arcade mode so that I could get a feel of the controls again. Although I didn't purchase a Logitech GT3 wheel, I still felt right at home using the Dual Shock 2 thanks to the analog buttons. The cars themselves handle just like their real life counterparts. Granted, the only cars that I've driven is my 1988 Honda Accord LX (which seems to be a very popular car were I live for some reason) and a 2000 Ford Taurus, but rest assured, this is as close as most people will get to race a 362 HP Nissan Skyline.
As for the Rally cars, they handle much more realistic than they did in GT2. Powersliding around corners feels more natural and smooth. I only wish that there were more rally courses, because the rally mode is just as enjoyable as the road races. Alas, GT3 wasn't made to be a rally game, so I shouldn't be complaining.
Calling the visuals in Gran Turismo 3 amazing would be an understatement. Groundbreaking would be a much better adjective. Even after countless hours of gameplay, my jaw still hits the ground after watching some of my replays. GT3 really does blur the lines between game and reality.
In addition, cars realistically cast a shadow depending on the position of the sun and other light sources. Environment mapping is also well done, with all the surrounding objects reflecting in each car's shiny paint job. Don't even get me started on the Rainy Stages. Nearby banners and lights actually reflect off of the water.
Two player multiplayer action is much like the last Turismo game. You and a friend simply race to the finish line, while remembering to pit in to change your tires as they become worn. Nothing really to write home about. On the other hand, if you have a couple PS2's laying around, along with a hub, i.Link cables, and 3 TV's - you and five more buddies can engaged in GT3's superlative network mode. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this mode, but rest assured, the network mode offers some of the best multiplayer goodness ever to grace a console system. It might not be as good as going online, but being in the same room as your opponents tends to make the game just as enjoyable.
So, are there any dents in Gran Turismo 3's gameplay? It is really perfect? Well, no. But it comes pretty damn close (Hence the high score). First of all, the modest number of cars was a little disappointing. Yes, I know that Polyphony couldn't have afforded any more delays, but I was hoping to see all 400 something cars from the previous game in all their PS2 glory.
Second, I would just like to point out that Polyphony Digital went a little overboard with providing authentic car sounds. It is nearly impossible to make out some of the music since the volume of each song is set so low, that it's often drowned out by engine noise. There is no option to tweak the volume of the music and sound FX separately. What is the point of getting all of these licenses with all these bands, when you can never really hear the music in the first place?
Sound problems aside, Gran Turismo 3 really lived up to my expectations. Hopefully, the online edition of Gran Turismo 3 will include more cars and more opponents in each race. Until than, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the ride, cause GT3 has so much depth, that it's going to take me months to dig myself back out.
Graphics: 10 Sound: 10
Music: 7 Replay Value: 10