Gran Turismo 3 A-spec
ESRB Rating: EveryoneGenre: Driving
GRAN TURISMO 3: A SPEC NLAThe PlayStation2 takes the Gran Turismo franchise to new heights in the third edition of the venerable racing series. The graphics are sure to grab you--the cars and tracks are awe inspiring, and there are some incredible lighting effects. This game is much more than eye candy, though. The gameplay in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec is the same as its predecessors; fans of the previous games will feel right at home, while newcomers will be able to pick things up easily. There are more than 150 cars from which to choose, and plenty of tracks upon which to race them. Arcade mode works well for a quick fix, while simulation mode provides outstanding replay value. The sound effects are impressive--each engine has a unique sound, and tire screeches from different cars sound noticeably different. The soundtrack is a good mix of original compositions and a wide variety of recording artists, including Motley Crue, Raekwon, Jimi Hendrix, and Snoop Dogg. One minor flaw with the game is its relatively predictable artificial intelligence. Computer-controlled cars follow distinct lines, and you'll be able to pick up the patterns after a few races. Considering how far the graphics have come since the original Gran Turismo, it's disappointing that the AI hasn't progressed similarly. Despite this, GT3 remains an outstanding game. Few games offer its combination of high quality and immense variety. --Raymond M. Padilla Pros: Incredible graphics Excellent physics and controls Great soundtrack Cons: Predictable AI No Porsche or Ferrari licenses The third title of the Gran Turismo series takes full advantage of the new PlayStation2 game engine, which is capable of rendering about 20 million polygons per second--roughly 10 times the number of total polygons of the series' previous installment, Gran Turismo 2. Real-time lighting forces your eyes to adjust to changing conditions, such as when a car rounds a turn and the sun comes out from behind a building to cause glare on the windshield. This makes the game harder, but more realistic. Heat rises off the ground and mist swirls around vehicles as they make their way across the racetrack.Gran Turismo 3 also features more than 100 distinct cars, each with different statistics, including the Subaru Impreza Rally, Dodge Viper GTS-R, and Mazda's RX-7 RS. Computer-controlled opponents benefit from enhanced artificial intelligence; they don't act like baby ducks following their mother, but instead respond to other cars, the course, and the conditions in much the same way that real drivers would. Pressure a car, and it will pressure you back; cut one off in the early part of the race, and expect to receive similar treatment down the course. They don't drive perfectly, either; some will spin out and make other mistakes over the course of a race.
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