Review: The Drive of Your Life? Hell, enough hours with this game and you won't even have a life.
Hard to imagine that it's been almost 4 years since the last Gran Turismo release in the US, but indeed Gran Turismo 3 saw its release in July of 2001, and was hailed as the savior for a new console looking to acquire exclusive, AAA content with fierce competition on the way from Microsoft and Nintendo. Since then, the PS2 has established itself as a force more than capable of taking on the competition, and the lineup of must-own software is like a traffic jam on a California freeway. Yet now, we've made a complete circle, thanks to Gran Turismo 4. Releasing at a point where it's not as high-profile or even as important as its predecessor, GT4 feels like an old friend back from a lengthy absence ? albeit one that perhaps hasn't changed much, but is still a very welcome sight because it's just so damn good.
Since GT3's release, racers have went online, have added realistic damage models, and have sometimes managed to make a game mostly realistic yet an extremely fun experience. GT4 on the other hand?well?is Gran Turismo. Nothing more or less, really ? and this is not a bad thing by any means, since the GT series is Sony's most vital. Polyphony Digital has managed to craft a deep, entertaining, and fun driving simulation, at the cost of progress, it seems. With online pulled at the 11th hour, the lack of any kind of damage system, and a real feeling of ?more of the same' GT4 will not be a catalyst for new GT fans, but instead the pinnacle of a beloved series, a perfection of sorts. Don't read these critical words wrong ? Gran Turismo 4 is an amazing, amazing racing game that is fine-tuned to perfection, but don't think you're going to see anything ?new' about it other than a seemingly endless amount of races, cars, and tracks. Simply put, if you're a GT fan, Gran Turismo 4 is going to be heaven, for months upon months until you finally reach 100%. The game simply has no parallel on the PlayStation 2, despite itself.
We'll start this out with statistics. 700 vehicles, from incredibly fast Ford GT40's, Nissan Skylines, the 787B, and pretty much any of your dream machines, to common cars like a Chrysler 300M, a suite of Lexus vehicles, to bizarre additions like the Ford Model-T and a pair of Mercedes-Benz horseless carriages. Polyphony has tried to include a near-complete encyclopedia of cars, and though they've failed to do so with GT4, the ridiculous car selection that spans many eras is an admirable beginning. Though as always GT4 has a very Japanese-centric car selection, it does have many, many more American and European vehicles this time around. And in GT2 fashion, many dealers have their own special races for certain cars or car series (like type Z's from Nissan to start), which is Polyphony's way of making you check out more than just a few cars from start to finish if you wanna get 100 percent.
Next up, tracks. With reversals and variants, there's over 100 tracks to race in GT4. Many make their return, including the triumphant PS2 debuts of High Speed Ring and Autumn Ring Mini, along with a ton of new courses, many of them city and world circuits. New York, Paris, Seoul, and Hong Kong join the likes of Tokyo R246 in the city courses, while famous tracks like Sears Point, Fuji Speedway, Motegi, and Suzuka (which has finally arrived in GT4 after appearing in every freaking racing game since GT3 came out) join up with Laguna Seca amongst other returning tracks. The rally tracks consist of Grand Canyon, Citti D'Aria (which was on GT4 Prologue and just an amazingly fast yet narrow road rally course), and even some snow rally tracks to add some variety there. Even without reversed courses and variants, there's about 50 unique tracks, even if a lot of the real world courses have numerous versions.