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February 8, 2005
Enthusia: Professional Racing - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
May 2005KonamiKonami1$99.95

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Actual in-game graphics.
There is absolutely no doubt that the biggest and best racing game on Playstation 2 this year - or indeed during the systems lifetime - will be Gran Turismo 4, however Konami are looking to crash the party with this game Enthusia: Professional Racing which looks set to even rival Sony's game in terms of realism.

Konami are touting this game as the most realistic racing game ever and have included a "non-linear throttle to give the player total control over acceleration and deceleration, while the PlayStation 2's controller is also used to effect a side brake and clutch". This game is more about perfecting driving then souping up your car to win races - a nice change in this mod-heavy world.

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Stunning city tracks...
In terms of cars and tracks there are literally dozens to master. The developers are incorporating over 200 cars including old and new versions of the RX-7, 180SX and Impreza, while the Garaiya – an originally modeled sports car created by Japanese manufacturers, Autobacks – has been faithfully recreated. Tracks are based on bitumen as well as open road giving gamers the opportunity to master both racing types. The game will include several game modes, as well as normal races and championships one of the more unique modes is the "Driving Revolution" where gamers must pass through gates not only within a limited time, but also at acceptable speeds.

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13 meters behind.
One of the most interesting, and controversial, additions to Enthusia: Professional Racing is a VGS (Virtual Gravity System) meter which appears over the rear bumper of the car to indicate the G-forces involved as you move around the tracks and corners. Actually, we believe the developers have recently changed this to a 3D ball that moves around to indicate the forces. As well as this the game now shows the forces and stresses on each tyre on the car. The developers believe this allows you to generate a more realistic understanding of the car and how it handles around the corners. As Edge Magazine stated in their February 2005 issue this feature is still being polished and tweaked so it's final inclusion, and usefulness, in the game remains somewhat unknown. Another small issue is that despite being touted as the most realistic racing game ever there is still no damage. Sigh.

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Hitting the gravel roads.
Graphics in Enthusia: Professional Racing looks very sharp, and indeed Konami are pushing this game to the limits of the PS2's ability. While Enthusia: Professional Racing may not quite be as flash as Sony's title, it's not too far off and with four months of development remaining there's a lot more polish that can be applied.

With a release currently targeted for May 2005, and even after over three years of development, this game will certainly have it's work cut out for it to compete with Gran Turismo 4, which is coming out only a couple of months prior to Konami’s title. Still, if this game does everything as promised, and the VGS falls in place then this game should find a big audience.