Gran Turismo 4
It's a fact: 4 out of 5 gamers agree that fast cars make for fun times. Well, almost. It's not a scientific fact or anything, but with the astounding success of the Gran Turismo franchise over the past seven years, I'd be willing to bet it almost is. Here's another little factoid: 4 out of 5 gamers agree that Gran Turismo 4 has been a long time coming. With a three-year wait filled with numerous delays and an insane amount of hype backing it, any wannabe racer would agree that sooner is better than later to get their hands on Gran Turismo 4.
Does Gran Turismo 4 take the fast lane to perfection? Read on to find out.
Gran Turismo 4 doesn't deviate from the franchise's trademark formula of cars, cars, and more cars. While Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec may have been a bit lacking with its car selection, GT4's cup brimmeth over with nearly 700 vehicles, from broken down buckets to the hottest super cars out there. All, of course, are fully customizable under the hood, and with the right parts, you can even turn that '91 Honda Beat with 40,000 miles on it into a supercharged speed demon.
Then, of course, there's the franchise's other hallmark of absolute realism - well, almost. As before, the car handling feels very realistic, especially with the new physics engine, and you can't haphazardly barrel around the courses and consistently expect successful results. However, there is still no real car damage, and it's easy to cheat the limitations of the game, whether you bully your way through the packs or slam into walls instead of properly slowing down to take hard turns; it's not exactly beneficial in creating the ultimate driving experience. It doesn't distract from the otherwise lustrous shine of GT4, but it's been a nagging issue with the franchise since the first Gran Turismo.
Regardless, you'd be hard pressed to find a more realistic driving game that isn't realistic to the point of frustration. Gran Turismo 4 finds that happy medium, letting casual racing fans and hardcore gearheads play on the same racetrack without alienating either.
Gran Turismo 4, simply put, looks beautiful. Unlike any other game before it, GT4 has an incredible photo-realistic quality to it that'll undoubtedly make you do a few double takes. It doesn't always come across during the actual racing segments, but in the replays, and especially in the photo mode, it's really striking just how well the visuals capture their real life counterparts. There is some occasional screen stuttering that occurs every so often with HDTVs, but it's not bad enough to detract much from the overall visuals.
Whether you love, hate, or are completely indifferent to the Gran Turismo franchise, Gran Turismo 4 won't do much to change your mind in any of the above ways. Don't take that as a slam to Gran Turismo 4, though: if you can find the dedication to truly reap the enjoyment out of Gran Turismo, it's every bit as addictive as the other games are. Racing perfection it is not, but it's pretty close.