|06-05-2008, 04:36 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Maryland, United States
My 1st review!
Note: Click on thumbnails to view the large image.
Sim racing is a genre of racing which tries to simulate driving a real race, with a real car. However there is always the drawback of it being too hard. That is a problem faced by some racing sims in the past, like Grand Prix Legends. Nowadays racing sims are trying to be both accessible to beginners while still being deep enough for professionals.
A game development company named SimBin created GTR. It was a very good representation of the FIA GT season. Later on they made GT Legends, which was also a big success and it showed that vintage cars can be as much fun as GT cars. On September of 2006, they released the sequel to GTR, GTR2.
GTR2 is a representation of the 2003 and 2004 FIA GT season including all their cars and tracks. This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that it was represented very accurately. However, they could've made an effort to join the 2005 FIA GT season in which they didn't do, unfortunately.
Now, onto the review:
Graphically the game looks good. The cars are meticulously detailed, their modeling is excellent, from bodywork to engine to tire and even the cockpit with MoTeC. The tracks are equally good too, with a lot of believable trackside objects which make it come to life. However the cost of good looking games... Hardware. The game is hardware-intensive, but even mid-range gaming PCs today can run it with medium to high details while getting good FPS. The driver animations and spotter animations are great, and 3D pitcrew is a nice touch (no 3D pitcrew for the AI though)
The environmental sounds are excellently done, from grass and gravel effects, tire skidding, bumping into curbs, dust and debris at high speeds, even from the spotter but then, sometimes what the spotter says is a bit hard to understand. The musical soundtrack ain't bad, unless you have something against European techno-pop music.
The engine sound effects are good, but lack the “oomph” factor that some require. The Corvette didn't really sound like it had a big, burly, roaring V8. The Lister Storm was a bit too quiet. But I loved the other ones, from the purr of the Porsche GT3 to the wail of the TVR T400R.
Ah, finally. The gameplay. The heart and soul of every racing sim. The gameplay of GTR2 is its strongest point. SimBin made the game fun for beginners and pros alike. In Novice mode, every driving aid is turned on, so you can feel and experience GTR2 even with only a keyboard. Yes, you heard me. Even the keyboard. However the real fun starts at Semi-Pro and Simulation modes, with a gamepad or for better results, a force-feedback wheel, complete with pedals and shifters. Semi-Pro turns off most of the aids, while Simulation mode only leaves you and your skills behind the wheel.
The gameplay manages to be realistic and very satisfying, though there are a few rough spots which keep it from being a 10. First, it takes the AI quite a while to lap slower cars. Then, qualifying for the top spot is inordinately hard. You would most likely be on the middle to bottom pack even for a good qualifying time. Plus I have heard that in endurance races, after about some time, the AI slows down and loses 5-10 seconds a lap, allowing you to win or secure a podium even with an underpowered car. Plus you need to have experience and total focus when on championships because they are hard. Overall the gameplay is excellent across the board, despite minor blemishes.
Value for Money, Replayability and Features:
Value, replayability and features are important in some games, and GTR2 is one of them, and it does not disappoint. There is both single-player and multiplayer modes. The single-player modes consist of Free Practice, Race Weekend, Championship and 24-Hour Races. There is also Driving School, a new and great feature, especially for those starting out. It involves all the basics, from acceleration, braking, overtaking and then how to tackle certain sections of a certain course, it has it all. The replay feature is implemented well. Very well.
For the gearheads, there is a wealth of tuning options to suit your needs. But this all seems so overwhelming for the casual gamer. Luckily there is a feature that allows you to download online setups, in the game itself . How really nice of them. However, GTR was bundled with the MoTeC Analyzer and Interpretor (which I have no idea about) but GTR2 wasn't bundled with that. You have to download the software yourself.
The HUD of GTR2 is very informative, though it sometimes gets in your face, and that's not good. The cockpit view is also informative and with a toggle of a space bar you can monitor the temperatures, fuel and how you are doing. All in the MoTeC of the car, easy switching with the space bar. It gives you a reason to be in the cockpit. It adds to the immersion plus the interiors are very well done. The menu however, leaves a lot to be desired.
Online racing in GTR2 is possible, and they have improved the network code from the previous GTR. The problem is, that it's still buggy, and you'll rarely find anyone online unless you join a racing league. However there is LAN, but internet play is still the way to go.
The thing that makes you keep coming back for more GTR2, are it's mods. There are many mods, whether released or WIPs however, some of the mods' quality is questionable. Good mods to be had are the SCC Prototyes mod, which includes prototypes from 1998-2008 in the ALMS, 24H of Le Mans and the LMES. It is fully playable, plus the team is working hard on future versions. Another popular mod is the Australian V8 Supercars. It's a Holden vs. Ford slugfest. There are even Formula 1 mods, however they are not up to par with rFactor's F1 mods.
Graphics Score - 8.8/10
+ Very good attention to detail
+ Night racing effects rock!
+ Lots of trackside objects bring tracks to life
+ Excellent driver and spotter animation
+ Track Marshals
+ 3D Pitcrew is a nice touch
- Hardware-intensive, especially on night and/or rain
- Some effects are underwhelming and a bit out of place
- Trackside objects are a bit underdetailed, some are 2D sprites
Sound Score - 8.3/10
+ Excellent environmental sound effects
+ Spotter is very good and realistic
+ Music is decent
- Engine sounds lack "oomph"
Gameplay and Features Score - 9.5/10
+ Racing doesn't get any better
+ Provides fun for beginners and pros alike
+ AI is realistic, believable and excellent
+ Driving School is a great feature
+ Numerous tuning options
+ Easy downloading of car setups
+ Lag-free online racing with 28 players
+ Replay features are awesome
+ Ability to let the AI do your work in a snap
- Menu is confusing
- Some AI behavior problems
- Hard to find players in public servers
- Doesn't include the 2005 FIA GT Season (which it could have considering the game was made in 2006)
Value for Money - 9.2/10
+ You can get this for an extreme bargain
+ You get more than what you pay for
- You may have to cough up extra cash for a racing wheel or a gamepad
Replayability - 9.7/10
+ Mods, mods and more mods!
+ High quality user made tracks
+ Hundreds and hundreds of skins
+ Many ways to play
- Some mods are illegal conversions
- Some of the mods have quality that is not up to par with GTR2
Overall - 9.1/10
It's an excellent sim, offering good times from newbies to professionals alike. Plus the game is a bargain.
Last edited by ianfreddie07; 06-05-2008 at 04:40 AM.
|06-05-2008, 07:47 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Wilmington, United States
Wow, good review ianfreddie.
I just have one suggestion, it would be better if you shortened your plus/cons section near the end. It makes it sort of confusing, it's usually better to condense it into a Final Verdict type thing and then give a cumulative score.
If you're going for scores at all that is, a review is more about the words, which you did a fine job of here.
Oh, and how do you do with a force feedback wheel? I always worried about getting one of those because the rumble seems like something that would interfere with my ability to drive. It seems like a neat addition, but I don't want to place immersion over playability.
|07-05-2008, 01:44 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Maryland, United States
I still don't have a Force Feedback wheel my dad will buy me the Logitech Momo Force if he has the money.
Logitech have the best wheels. If you have the money, go for a G25. If you can't afford it, try it's MOMO Force. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.