by Empire Interactive
Gran Turismo is never going to come to the PC. The thrill of having to drive your way up the ranks making money as you go, so you can buy better cars or parts to improve you car is a joy that has been unknown for the PC gamer. That is until now. Sega have brought their Dreamcast Sega GT to the PC and it offers pretty much the same ingredients as the Playstation masterpiece. Let's take a look at how it shapes up for the PC.
With 22 tracks, 130+ cars and the ability to build your own car from scratch certainly sounds impressive. If you've played Gran Turismo you'll know what it's all about. First of all you obtain the lowest licence available then you buy a decent car with your 10,000 starting money. After a while you've won a few races, upgraded your car with better components, gone on to slaughter the opposition in all the available races and collected all the price money that comes with this. You then go on to gain higher grade licences and repeat the whole thing again until you reach the top echelons of motor racing. This sounds simple but as any GT fan will tell you it definitely is not. What it is though is wonderfully addictive.
All of this sounds like absolute heaven but before you get excited by all of this there is, sadly, the reality that it isn't is as good as it should be. The first major disappointment is the controls. I originally tried to use my Microsoft steering wheel. Off I went into the game and loaded up a race. The control was horrible; lethargic and unresponsive. So I came out of the game and tweaked the control settings. After about six attempts at this I eventually got a half decent control of the car but it was nowhere near what I have in other games. Out of curiosity I decided to try the keyboard and to my surprise it was much improved. My lap times were much improved and the control was far better.
Graphically the game is a real stinker. I can't think what happened in the port to the PC but the graphics look poorer than most PSone games nevermind the Dreamcast. The textures look pre-DirectX and to make matters worse you are stuck at the 640x480 resolution. The game was played using a Kyro II graphics card and even this card with it's famed anti-aliasing couldn't do anything to improve the look of the game. It's been about five years since we saw games as graphically poor as this and that fact in itself is shocking.
Another disappointment with the game is the interface. Almost everything takes two or three key presses. This may not seem a problem at first but after a while it really becomes an irritation as you have to back and forth between menus.
There is nothing in this game that would disadvantage the deaf gamer. No vocal content exists and no reliance is place on being able to hear anything.
The crazy thing is that when you play the game using the keyboard or some other non-analogue controller then the game is quite enjoyable. However for £29.99 you really want the game to look the part and be able to use the steering wheel that you paid £50-£100 for. If you can live with its faults and are desperate for that Gran Turismo experience then I would shop around and see if you can get the game at a lower price. If you are not so keen there are much better driving games to be had for less money.
Overall Game Rating: 5.4/10 A wasted opportunity.
Quality of text / Visual Clues : 8/10 Simple but nothing missing.
Graphics: 3/10 The ugly duckling of the racing genre.
Visual Presentation: 5/10 Passable but nothing more.
Interface: 3/10 The interface is awkward and frustrating.
Gameplay: 8/10 Despite the faults there is a decent game here that offers a true GT experience.