Gran Turismo 4 - PS2

Also known as: GT4

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Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Simulation: Car Racing
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Polyphony Soft. Co.: Sony
Publishers: SCEJ (JP)
Sony (GB)
SCEE (GB)
SCEA (US)
Released: 2005 (JP/US)
9 Mar 2005 (GB)
5 May 2006 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Features: Vibration Function Compatible
Accessories: Analogue Control Compatible: all buttons, Memory Card
Connectivity: Network Adaptor (Ethernet) compatible

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Summary

Veteran Gran Turismo fans - there's a lot of 'em about - where can your beloved series go from here? Surely the last in the GT family before the PS2 breathes its last, '4' arrives later than expected (in typical Polyphony fashion). Happily, we can report that, having stayed up for most of the night in order to explore as many possibilities as, erm, possible, Gran Turismo 4 has been worth the wait…as long as the last game in the series you played was GT2. You see, while we can heartily recommend number 4 to anyone not familiar with Gran Turismo (is there such a breed?) it's not exactly a huge step forward from GT3. Let us highlight the main points and some of the additions since '3'.

In Arcade Mode, Single Race provides the quickest access to competitive racing. Before a race can begin, you must choose a course type and then pick from the selection of tracks and vehicles available. As you progress through the game, more cars and courses become available. Arcade Mode also includes a Time Trial mode in which the objective is to complete the course in the shortest amount of time possible. This is a solo race, so you don't have to worry about interference from opponents as you tear around the track. 2P Battle is the mode for you if you want to race against a friend in Arcade Mode. There's also a Multi LAN Race mode with a 6-player facility - as long as you have the required number of consoles.

Gran Turismo mode is where the true essence of GT4 comes to life, as you're immersed in a world of racing where nothing matters but man and machine. When playing Gran Turismo mode for the first time, you begin with 10,000 credits which you can use to purchase cars, upgrade parts, buy wheels and even get a change of oil. But the first thing to do is get a car: once you have a car, you're ready to race. While you will have access to some races at the start, many more races are suitable for qualified drivers with a particular licence. To get the various licences, you have to take a series of tests. In addition to this, some races have vehicle limitations, so make sure you have the correct type of car. As you participate in races, you'll hopefully earn lots of additional credits. The more credits you earn, the more you can customise your car, or acquire a better, faster one.

So far, so A-Spec; but there's more to GT4 than mere racing. There's a B-Spec mode too, where you take on the role of a race team manager and give directions to your computer controlled driver as he races. Responsibilities as race manager include preparing your car for racing and dictating your driver's actions out on the track, thus sharing the excitement and challenge of racing in a completely new way. Oh, and there's a Photo Mode too, where you can capture images from your racing career and keep them in an album. It's your car, your pride and joy, so take it somewhere glamorous and take a picture! There's everything included to ensure you can take a quality shot, and even a facility to print the best, providing you have a printer available.

With a whopping 50 tracks to race, GT4 continues the series' traditional depth and breadth of gameplay. Venues include some familiar old favourites seen in previous GT outings, the notorious Nurburgring Nordschleife (one lap = 12 and a bit miles) and La Sarthe at Le Mans. There are also city courses in Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Seattle, Assisi, Capri and Monte Carlo, power and speed drag-strips, dirt and snow tracks, including the Swiss Alps and Chamonix.

The full list of cars available in GT4 is mind-boggling: there are 700 to discover. 700...that's an astonishing number of different vehicles to feature in one game. Almost every type of four-wheeled car is available at some point in GT4, from classic lumps of 60's American muscle to ultra-modern supercars such as the Ford GT40 - a car that first appeared in a slightly different form in the 1960's, strangely enough - and a car pornographically pored over in the opening FMV.