Enthusia Professional Racing - PS2

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Enthusia Professional Racing (PS2)
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Racing: Car
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Konami Soft. Co.: Konami
Publishers: Konami (GB)
Released: 6 May 2005 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+


Gran Turismo, whilst peerless in the field of bringing meticulously rendered cars, with immaculate physics and tuning options, to console owners, has always suffered from a couple of problems. Firstly, the other racers never stray from their automaton-like predetermined paths. Secondly, it has always been possible in the series to win races and progress even though you used a few walls to help you round the racetrack.

Konami’s Enthusia Professional racing, already released in Japan and coming soon to Europe, is on first sight very similar to the revered GT series, but aims to redress the balance somewhat. The game starts you off with 10 cars that are not exactly dream machines. Like any other racing game, the goal is to win, but how you win will greatly affect the rewards you earn at the end of the race. Not to say that the game rewards flashy near misses and other showboating in the style of Crazy Taxi, MSR and Burnout. On the contrary, simple, fast, effective racing is what is encouraged, with serious points lost for hitting other racers or parts of the scenery.

As you progress, you can upgrade the cars in your garage and add new ones if you are lucky enough to win them (the game contains more than 200 cars from over 40 real car manufacturers). But, again unlike GT, you are not offered a daunting range of modifications to pick and choose. Instead your car is upgraded a ‘stage’, and each car has 10 stages of development available. Once you cement your reputation as a racing demon, you’ll have access to all kinds of beautiful machines. But you may decide to use them rarely – you see, in Enthusia Professional Racing the lower the spec of the car you take to the races, the more points you stand to gain if you win – precisely the opposite of GT, which encourages you to take on cars running half the horsepower of your motor and dishonour them.

As if to further demonstrate the differences between the two games, EPR also comes with its own variation on GT’s very serious License Mode. It’s called Driving Revolution, a reference to Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution franchise. Players must race through a series of slalom gates without crashing, the twist being that you must pass through each gate at a certain speed, which could be much higher, or lower, than you might like. Less finicky that some racing games, but not as frivolous as others, Enthusia Professional Racing sounds very much to us like it’s found a gap in the market.