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The '60S WAS a time of longhaired hippies, a liberal attitude to sex and prolific drug-taking: a bit like an average night out with PC then. GT Legends may not offer any of the above, but it does give you the chance to take the wheel of some of the greatest race cars from the era. If you love driving games, you should be very excited indeed.
You see, what GT Legends does is take all the great bits of GTR, polish them to a shiny sparkle, improve on the not-so-hot bits and finish by making the entire title more enjoyable to play. While GTR may have been a superbly engineered piece of machinery, there were some minor flaws marring its otherwise perfect finish (namely a slightly outdated graphics engine and a steep learning curve).
However, with Simbin proving itself to be of that special breed of developer who actually listens to feedback, the software mechanics have got their hands greasy and fixed the problems. The updated graphics engine makes pretty use of DirectX9.0 features and all races can be played in any difficulty level, giving learner drivers just as much of a chance to hoist that trophy as the petrolheads.
Rev It Up
From the very first screen, it's obvious that Simbin has worked hard on making the game more accessible. With money to win, cars to purchase and a series of specialised championships and classes i to conquer, it feels like there's much more to do this time around than just a series of individual races. This makes it much more fun to play, and we can't help but salivate at the thought of winning another hunk of historical motoring machinery.
GTR's fantastic driving model is back too, but this time round the driving experience itself feels noticeably different, with more than a few cars featuring massive oversteer that will have you frantically wrenching your steering wheel (a necessity) to prevent you from fishtailing down the entire track. Quick customisation options are available from the pre-drive menu though, so if the oversteer's too much, you can simply turn it down without getting your mitts dirty in the screen. And there's no missing the fantastic sound effects either, from the quiet burble of your first car to the outright taucousness of the top-end vehicles.
So with everything ticking over happily, we reckon Simbin has come up trumps. Fans of Grand Prix Legends will love it, fans of GTR will love it and we reckon it's just possible that a host of newcomers could also be taken in by the thrill of driving the car you spent your youth pining for. Assuming you're as old as we are anyway.
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The Generation gap is most noticeable in the worlds of fashion (cable-knitted cardigan vs the hoody), music (Cliff Richard vs Snoop Dogg) and slang (that singer comes on like gangbusters vs bust a cap on yo' ass). However, cars also seem to fall foul of the age difference. If you're under 20, you probably wet yourself with excitement whenever you see a Lamborghini. Conversely, the more mature are able to appreciate the days when cars were all about massive V8 engines and upholstery that required the death of at least 20 cows, with handling being much of an afterthought. Put simply, the '60s and 70s era in which GT Legends is set features some of the finest classic race cars known to man, from the all-out muscle of the AC Cobra to everyone's favourite, the diminutive Mini Cooper S. With the last historical racing game we can remember being Grand Prix Legends, there's certainly plenty of room for a newcomer to squeeze in. After all, as SimBin's producer/designer Rod Chong points out: There's a real romance to these old machines and most people have a favourite from when they were a kid - it's likely to be here if that's the case."
SimBin's experience with GTR has certainly been put to good use, but the developer is keen to point out that Legends will feel a lot different from its modern-day sibling. GTR had too steep a learning curve, Chong continues, a sentiment many amateur driving fans will agree with. Luckily, the first thing that's instantly noticeable is that GT Legends is tons more accessible for the beginner.
Starting off with a Mini or Cortina, you have to compete in races to earn money, which then buys you better cars and helps you to make your way up the racing ranks. Three classes to compete in are promised, starting off with '60s touring cars, progressing through '60s GT cars and finishing up with 70s GT and touring cars. The variety of vehicles on offer means that you have to adjust to different driving styles and tactics on the track. GTR's driving model was undoubtedly one of the best we've driven, but SimBin has re-worked it from the ground up to sit happily alongside the older cars on offer. Rather than the precise positioning of GTR's modern machinery, you're far more likely to find the back end stepping out around corners. Indeed, if you're driving one of the American muscle cars, it's almost essential in order to get it to go round those bends...
Old School Newcomer
Graphically, Legends features a tweaked GTR engine that supports full DirectX9.0 features. The fantastically animated drivers, exhaust gases that linger around the cars on the starting grid and the dynamic lighting in the cars' interiors all prove that it's shaping up to be a bit of a stunner.
Throw in some neat additions such as a function to accelerate time so you can experience the full spectrum of lighting effects, an improved damage engine enabling you to break headlights among other things and more believable Al cars, and we reckon that GT Legends could be just the oldie to show these new-fangled kids a thing or two about driving.