Not your Grandma’s Turismo… Preview

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.