July 24, 2001

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec - Preview

Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price
10/8/2001SCEEPolyphony Digital1-6 via i.Link$99.95

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Just look at that trackside detail.
Gran Turismo was one of the biggest success stories on the Playstation. The first game, which was released in Japan in 1997 and America/Europe in 1998, has sold over 10 million units to date while the sequel, which was released just over 18 months ago, is well over 5 million sales worldwide. Although initially announced as Gran Turismo 2000, and as merely an upgraded Gran Turismo 2, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec now looks set to continue the series' fine tradition with some major upgrades planned for this all new Playstation 2 game. Upon each showing of the game the reports get better an better. Going from an improved PSOne game to one of the, if not the, best racing game ever is a big step in 12 months.

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Expect to suffer some damage.
Gran Turismo 3 has been in development since the completion of the second game. With the added power of the Playstation 2 the developers have been able to increase the accuracy of the physics engine. GT3 A-Spec will contain a total of 172 cars in the game, which is more then expected. Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet of 138 known cars in the game. 34 of the cars will remain secret until you actually play the game. This number is still more then in the original game, although a lot less then the 600 or so in the second game. Naturally the cars are a lot more detailed thanks to the power of the Playstation 2. Each car is based on real-life versions and the manufacturers have provided Polyphony Digital with real world data to make the game as accurate as possible. It may sound familiar, but that's because the series has always been ahead of it's time.

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Weather effect are the best yet seen.
There are some additions to this game including additional tracks that are based in Monte Carlo and in Japan among others. The game has also been re-configured to make use of the new Dual Shock 2 Controller for the Playstation 2. With support for analogue controls the game should be able to provide a much more realistic feel to the acceleration and steering of each car.

The game modes have always impressed with the Gran Turismo series. While the second game introduced rally style driving it remains to be seen if that will make it to the Playstation 2 game. What is certain is that Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec will include a new "racing simulator" mode which is yet to be revealed. Naturally the ability to select every major part of your car will also return. Those of you who like to select the tyres, exhausts and transmissions will be in heaven.

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The lighting is stunning.
Definitely the most exciting addition to the game is inclusion of a 6 player i.Link mode. By linking several Playstation 2's (with TV's) together and a couple of mates at your house it will be possible to play a 6 player race. It should provide the most exciting racing experience since Daytona USA in the arcades.

Graphically, Gran Turismo 3 is stunning. The amount of detail has improved significantly, with each car now comprised of 2,000-4,000 polygons, more then ten times the PSOne games. However, it's not until you see the game actually running that you appreciate just how close to reality the graphics are. While the cars are accurately represented with an amazing physics engine, it's the scenery that has been boosted with the additional power of the system. The game also includes real-time reflections from the cars surroundings and some other awesome lighting effects.

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Rally racing returns in this game.
Who knows exactly how far Polyphony Digital can take this title. The graphics are already stunning and if the gameplay can match the previous titles there will be no denying the "classic" status already given to other games in the series. With Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec not expected to hit the shelves until August 10 here in Australia there is plenty of time for the developers to perfect a game which already looked better then anything else over a year ago at it's initial unveiling. It really is hard seeing anything come close to this game for years in terms of quality. Now if only 5 of my friends had Playstation 2's, steering wheels, i.Link cables and a copy of GT3...