Gran Turismo 4 Review (PS2)

I still remember the day. Soon after I bought my Playstation 2, I saw the previews for one of my racing titles of all time. Yes, it was Gran Turismo 3: A-spec and it was one of the biggest releases for a racing game at the time. I watched every movie and saw every picture I could find until the game hit the shelves, as soon as it did I had it. I played through GT3 like crazy, unlocked everything and there was nothing left for me to do except own my friends around the tracks. Years later, here we are with a big upgrade, Grand Turismo 4. Sure, it looks even better then the first but how does it shape up to GT3?

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Okay, I am going to go ahead and get one of the most obvious things out of the way. This, without a doubt, is the best looking racing game on the PS2 period. I would go as far as saying this is the best looking GAME on PS2. Should I even have to review the graphics? If you're reading this review you obviously have had some interest in the game and have seen the pictures. This game is pushing every bit of hardware that the Playstation 2 has to offer. I don't think the PS2 will ever push anything like this again before its end. The cars look so life like it could fool somebody without the controller in your hand. But the little things are what shine. Just simple things like how the sun reflects the tracks. It's not really new but it hasn't been done this good before. A drawback to the high model cars and areas is you can only have up to 6 cars on screen at once, which doesn't really bother me but some enjoy on up to like 8 or so. Overall, this is the best looking game I have played on PS2 yet.

One thing they really got well done on this game is the sound. The cars sound awesome and the bumps and smashes sound great. They really did a nice job on the sound tracks this time. I really didn't find too many good songs on the old GT3 which was a bummer but now there are some great songs on the sound track this time around. I am pretty sure they have covered songs for everybody, once I was driving and some wacked out jazz song came out. It really didn't fit the mood but everybody will have different taste. All the sounds in the game sound nice and realistic, nothing to complain about in this area.

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The gameplay itself its still 100% GT at its core. Now if you're coming from a game such as Need for Speed: Underground 2, then you are up for a totally new driving experience that your not use to. I vision NFS players to start out the race hold x button with two hands as hard as they can, wondering why their car isn't going anywhere. Here we see the major difference, arcade racing VS. simulation. Not a lot of people like both the same, more lean toward arcade of course. If you want this game and think it's anything like NFS then please stay away from this game, It will not be worth your money. There are so many things to do and unlock in this game its crazy. So many unlocks and new things that you could easily be playing this game for months. Also, a new Photo Travel mode has been put in. Basically, you get to one of your cars and place them in one of the locations and take pictures from different angles. I didn't really care for this feature that much but I'm sure many people will. There are some bad and annoying things in the game though. For one, since there's so much in the game and trying to pack it all in one disk, the load times can get pretty long. Especially during the license (yes, the license collecting returns). You have to wait to load about three times if you want to retry or go back to the career screen. It is annoying but the amount of content in the game makes up for it. This leads to my next annoying thing...

The A.I. in the game is good and bad. Some of the races can get really tough at times but there are so many ways to get passed the A.I. because they really don't know what's going on. It's like they are just programmed to run their route and that's it. For example, lets say you are on this really hard course and you can only get by maybe, 3 cars. They will go full speed until they get near a turn and all you have to do is use them for a bumper and keep sliding in. Also to get a speed boost, just get in front of a car and half of the time they will not even try to go around you, just bump into you thus making you go faster. It really doesn't make sense and this is a problem that's still following the GT games. I figured by now they could make the A.I. a bit smarter but I don't know if its just the engine of the game or what. So it's hard to say if the A.I is just bad or okay, they will give a challenge though so that's the important thing.

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Overall, this is a huge upgrade to the GT series on the PS2. I just can't help the feeling that I played GT3: A-spec more because at that time it was a major leap for the series arriving on the PS2, but this is the best of the two. I spent a lot of time with GT4 and both games are great. With some new tracks and huge amount upgrades/cars, fans of the series are going to get this game no matter what. The game takes what we got from GT3 and adds on with awesome new cars, graphics that are outstanding to the point of almost unbelievable, and a Gran Turismo mode that's more satisfying then ever before.

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