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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
GT Concept stays on pole
Gran Turismo
The car graphics are first rate

The Gran Turismo (GT) series of titles have held pole position as the best console racing games for many years and they remain a flagship franchise on the PlayStation 2.

The last in the series, GT3, remains the ultimate driving simulation for many racing aficionados, with meticulous attention to detail and a quite bewildering array of options, cars, tracks, tyres, suspension setups etc.

Racing cars
Take control of racing cars
Put simply, it reeks of axle grease and fuel so real is the experience.

But if there is one complaint often levelled at GT3 it is that the game, in its desperate drive for realism is not much fun to play.

It is so earnest in its pursuit of simulated perfection that the fun of driving some of the best cars in the world is almost lost.

Arcade feel

For those of us who care not if the tyre pressure is not quite right for the type of tarmac along comes Gran Turismo Concept.

Out goes some of the more fussy elements of the game and in comes a much more adrenaline-inducing arcade feel.

There are more than 100 different types of car to drive, including a series of "concept cars".

You can get behind of the wheel of the Volkswagen W12, the Mercedes SL55AMG, the Audi Abt TT and the bizarre-looking Toyota Pod, as well as more familiar models such as the Aston Martin Vanquish.

Mundane

Each of the cars has a different feel and dynamic to drive and all of them are rendered quite beautifully, with all the dynamic lighting and reflection effects one has come to expect from top notch racing games.

GT Concept
Less glamourous cars are also available to drive
The tracks - of which they are five - are disappointingly mundane and lack the graphical excellence of Project Gotham Racing and Moto GP on the Xbox.

But most importantly the game recreates that sense of speed and daring needed to make a racing game come alive.

Satisfying experience

The vast sense of scale and depth that characterised the earlier GT has been dispensed with so the longevity of this game will not be the same but at least more casual racing gamers will get more of a rush sooner from this title.

It is best played with a force-feedback steering wheel and decent-sized television in order to really appreciate the driving but it remains a satisfying experience for those of us with a dual shock controller and 14inch television.

GT fans might be a little disappointed by the title as there is no sign of evolution in the game but it should be considered as a spin off and not as a sequel.

GT Concept is out now on PlayStation 2.

See also:

19 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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20 Jul 01 | Entertainment
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