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reviews >> playstation 2
Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Year Released: 2001
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Visuals 9.75
It's quite possibly the best looking game on the PS2, with killer car models, nice environments, great lighting effects and a smooth framerate. It could be mistaken for an Xbox game.
Audio 9.5
A huge playlist of music that crosses many genres, and you decide which song plays and what doesn't. The engine noises are of course, excellent. The only problem with the sound is the sound effects drown out the music.
Gameplay 10
The tightest and most finely-tuned handling engine ever done for this series, and it's easy enough for novices to get into and get lost in this racing experience.
Replay Value 10
I can't count the hours I spent into this game, probably well over 60 or so. This is one game that will last a long time with a boatload of racing events, cutsomization oppertunities for your car and so much more than you could ever want in a racing game. The only time you'll stop playing is to give your fingers a rest.
Reviewer's Impression 10
It's everything I expected and more. A damn-near perfect racing game.
Overall 10
Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec is a must-have for the PS2. Plain and simple as that.

Nearly every gaming publication has named this "the best racing game made" or the like, and it's true. I have never seen a game look this good or look so real in my like. Even Microsoft's Project Gotham Racing has nothing on this. It looks as if the only racer to beat Gran Turismo is a seqel to Gran Turismo. Screen shots do not do this game justice. You have to see this game in motion to see how amazing this game looks. Exquisite detail on cars (so good, you can actually READ the nameplate on the car), gorgeous courses and many special effects such as lighting and reflections. Speaking of reflections, your car reflects anything that is passes, not just some generic effect. I've never seen a game do this (or do it so well).

The courses look wonderful. Even though I've seen most courses in past GT's, they look so much better that it's like a whole new course this time around. I can't see any flaws in the graphics except for minimal pop-up, and it only pops up a building or a sign, not the course. The draw distance is excellent and much better than GT2. The only real gripe I have is in the textures. Most look great, but there's some that makes it look like GT3 is still a game (like a hillside in Midfield Raceway).

The replays, as always, are excellent. Before I've read that replays in GT2 look like it's brodcasted, but i've never felt that way. In GT3, I do. T he replays make GT3 look so real, that it does actually look like a racing brodcast on Speed Channel or the like. It's just unbeliveable.

The gameplay has remained much of the same, but there are more varied competitions this time around, plus there are options to run in single races or a whole series for some events, which GT2 lacked. The rally mode returns, but I wish it was more in-depth. Hopefully we'll see it expanded in GT4, but untill then, I'll wait for V-Rally 3. There is a new mode, however. GT3 introduces Formula-1 cars to the mix. While it's only one series, the races are 30 laps each, which could rival that of EA's F-1 series. There is so much variety in GT3, it's hard to decide on what to do next, provided you have the licences. Speaking of licences, those tests are back (again). I'm getting rather sick of this, since I've had to go through the tests provided in GT and GT2. Why couldn't I transfer my GT2 licence data into GT3? I had the Super Licence, and I did not want to do it again. The tests are tougher in this version as well. Not nearly as bad as GT1's IA Licence tests, but the Super tests here are brutal. I don't know how many times I lost due to missing the mark by .010. It could be worse, the physics could be like Vanishing Point's.

Once you do get into the races, the game does become fun, but after ahwile, you're funds become limited. It took a lot of races just to make enough money to buy a car. If you don't know which car to choose at first, go for the PT Cruiser. It's the most powerful for beginners. Once you have enough money, go for the Camaro SS. Once you start making the money, the game gets better, but GT3 is a slow start, which may lead some gamers to just give up. Later races give more money, but the laps are longer and starting in the Amatuer leauge, there's tire wear. That, to me, is unceccessary. Why should my tires recieve damage in 5 lap races? Save it for the endurance races. This is probably the most aggrivating aspect of GT3. I haven't even gotten into the arcade mode. It's much like GT2's arcade mode, where you can unlock cars depending on difficulty, but GT3's arcade mode doesn't rely on the licence tests to unlock courses.

The sound is great, and each car has their distinct sound. Music is now random and not repeating, which is good news for longer courses. Also, you have control on which songs you want to hear, and the song list is pretty big. Too bad you don't have control over effects and music. This review has gone too long now. If what I said has not influenced you to go and get GT3, then I feel sorry for you. You are missing out on one of the greatest games made with unparalled replay value. I can't wait until Gran Turismo 4!