Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec Review
Its endless tuning options and many racing events will keep you engrossed in the game for many months, and it's accessible enough to be enjoyed by anyone who's the least bit interested in driving an exotic car.
Some would argue that Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec isn't the most accurate racing or driving simulator currently available, and those people would be correct. There are and have been many specialized games that more realistically depict a single aspect of motor sports--games like Grand Prix II, Mobil 1 Rally Championship, NASCAR Racing 3, F355 Challenge, Le Mans 24 Hours, and Grand Prix Legends. However, no one game has ever captured the broad essence of driving cars that hail from all walks of auto-racing life like Gran Turismo 3 does, and certainly no one game has ever offered the depth contained within this ambitious game. And while many ambitious games seem to miss their mark, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec achieves its goal of re-creating a believable racing experience in a package that's both easily accessible and difficult to master.
At its core, Gran Turismo 3 remains essentially unchanged from its two PlayStation predecessors. The game lets you drive over 150 real-world cars on racetracks and road courses, some of which are modeled after existing locations and others of which are simply loosely based on a number of cities like Tokyo, Seattle, and Rome. In fact, anyone who's played either of the two previous games will be instantly familiar with Gran Turismo 3's layout, interface, and control scheme, all of which mimic the same formula that the series established back in 1998. Certainly, the fact that the gameplay remains the same shouldn't be viewed as a lack of innovation on the developer's part--fans of the series will undoubtedly welcome the return of the intuitive layout, as well as the rally mode. As an added bonus, Gran Turismo 3 also includes the ability to drive Formula 1 cars from the mid-1980s, an era when these cars were generating upwards of 1000hp. It should also be noted that while the game includes only 25 percent of the total number of cars that were available in Gran Turismo 2, gone are the "econobox" vehicles that you were forced to slave through before being able to drive the high-end cars. Instead, Gran Turismo 3 focuses strictly on the truly exotic cars and only includes a handful or so of the low-end models.
The game is composed of two core components: the arcade mode, which is fairly straightforward, and the simulation mode. Here you'll get to choose from a wide variety of cars that include exotic convertibles, rugged rally cars, and powerful touring racecars, and you'll race on one of six racetracks. Placing first on each of these six tracks will unlock another group of courses, and placing first in this batch of tracks will unlock yet another group until a total of 34 tracks become available to you. These 34, however, are variations of 19 individual tracks that include ovals, city streets, professional racetracks, and dirt roads, most of which are relics from the first two games. There are some new tracks, however, and all the courses in the game--new and old--have been completely remodeled. While the arcade mode will let you race on all of Gran Turismo 3's tracks, it'll only present you with a fraction of the 140 cars present in the game.
It's the game's simulation mode that's easily Gran Turismo 3's most considerable aspect, because it's here that you'll actually have the opportunity to drive and own some of the most coveted cars in the world. In the simulation mode, you'll create a persistent persona and start out with a small sum of money with which to buy your first, relatively humble, car. You'll then participate in a number of racing leagues, accumulate more money, upgrade your existing car or buy a faster one altogether, compete in more-advanced races, and repeat that process until eventually you've completed all the racing events in this mode. Naturally, this is no easy feat, and it will require you to complete hours and hours of racing before any notable progression through the simulation mode even becomes evident. There are five different racing leagues--beginner, amateur, professional, rally, and endurance--and each is made up of anywhere from 20 to 25 racing events. These events have specific requirements that will dictate what kind of cars are allowed to participate, and they include the Type R Meet, which requires that you own a Honda or Acura Type R-model car; FR races, in which only front-engine, rear-wheel-drive cars are allowed to enter; and MR races, which require that you own a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive car. Within these events, you'll find a number of individual races. This number will vary from three to ten individual races, and each will reward you with a certain sum of money, depending on how you place. You can participate in these events in any order you feel comfortable with, so long as you meet the car-type and license requirement of that race. Once you complete an entire event by successfully placing first in each of that event's races, you'll be awarded with a free car, which you can either sell for more money or upgrade for additional performance.
- Player Reviews: 223
- Game Universe:
- Gran Turismo 5 (PS3),
- Gran Turismo (PS, PSP),
- Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Spec III (PS3),
- Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (PS3),
- Gran Turismo 4 (PS2),
- Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva (PS2),
- Gran Turismo Concept 2001 Tokyo (PS2),
- Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Seoul (PS2),
- Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (PS2),
- bleem! Gran Turismo 2 (DC)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: