It’s been some time now since I sat down and played a good racing game. The last racing game I played quite a bit was Nascar Racing 2003 from Papyrus. Once I heard about GTR2 coming out I decided to go get the demo and see if it was any good and man was I surprised..
The first thing I noticed about this game was its price unlike a lot of games that cost 50 dollars or more this game cost $29.99 Canadian. When I first seen the price for the game I was starting to think oh great if the game is this cheap then it wont be all that good.
Once I put the game on the computer I loaded it up for a quick look. I went into the graphic settings and cranked everything I could so the game was playing at its best visual quality. Next I went in and took one of the cars for a spin. It was while taking my first spin around a track that you could see this was going to be a great game.
Before I get to far into this Review I should point out the game features as listed on the game box.
Authentic physics, dynamic day/night/weather cycles, impressive damage system.
More then 140 grand touring cars reproduced down to the finest detail from the GT, NGT and G3 classes as well as 24 hour racing from two full FIA GT championship seasons
Note: despite what the box says about the 140 cars you do NOT have 140 unique cars in the game. A lot of the cars have the same body type but have a different paint job / decals. Despite this there are still a lot of Unique cars you can pick from.
34 variations of real tracks like Spa, Monza and Hockenheim
Unparalleled realism of the artificial intelligence driven computer opponents
>>Scalable Difficulty Levels
3 game modes from novice to simulation
6 Game Events: Open Practice, Race Weekend, Championships, Time Trials, 24 hour races, Driving School
>>World Wide Racing
Fully integrated multiplayer mode for racing against other human drivers from all over the world
As I was saying above this game is a real blast to play. The one thing I love about the game is that on my system I can run the game full out in terms of graphic options. A lot of the new games you buy today you need the very latest computer to even come close to running them at max graphics buts thats clearly not this case with this game at all.
If you happen to be someone with a older computer then this game will still look fairly good because it has a ton of options that you can adjust in terms of graphics based on the performance of your computer.
The sound in the game is also quite good and matches the level of detail that the rest of the game has.
I think for me the biggest things in this game have to be the multiplayer and the day to night transitions. The day to night transition might not seem like a big deal but it adds a lot to the overall look of a race. When you start the race out nice and sunny and slowly it goes to night time and you see the sunset it will make you smash your car up because it looks so real.
You can also adjust at what time a race starts so the game can set the appropriate day/night cycle. Plus you can adjust how fast the day to night cycle changes as well. Along with the day to night you also have weather that you can control as well. With the rain in the game they did a really good job making that look realistic as well. The best part of the rain is how the road surface on the track looks wet, again they did a great job on the visuals in this game.
As you can see in this screen shot below the rain effect in game is top notch.
Once you get to night time this game is a whole different story. What really blows my mind about the nigh time driving is the LCD display that lights up. When the LCD is lit up it looks so realistic. On top of the LCD lighting you also have the headlights on the car and this game is simply amazing when it comes to how them head lights work in the game.
A lot of race games I have played have tried to do night time lighting such as the lights on objects and the road and quite simply they have all sucked. When I fired this game up and played a track at night time the first thing that came to my mind was REALISM. The lights when hitting the road look like you would expect if you were in a real car and driving at night.
Below is a screen shot of the track at night time with the car headlights on.
While on the topic of night driving another nice touch with this game is the track side lights, when you drive by them they will light the inside of your car up just as you would expect in real life. Doing races at night time is a blast to say the least. For me the lighting in this game is what I have been waiting years to see in a game.
The screen shot below is again a night shot of the game this time though you can see the track light lighting up the inside of the car.
The multiplayer in this game is very solid as well. I spent most of my time testing this game in multiplayer since I don’t normally like to do the single player stuff this game offers. This game really comes into it’s own when your online and your racing half a dozen or more people at one time.
While testing the game in multiplayer I was pleased to see there was little to no ghosting with any of the other players I was playing. I have seen a few race games in the past where you would be side by side when racing someone then they would all of a sudden vanish only to show up either behind or in front of you when they finally did reappear. This is not to say I didn’t see cars do a bit of ghosting but for the most part that seemed to only happen with people who had high ping rates and or a slow computer and just couldn’t keep up with the game.
One thing that sort of got on my nerves with the multiplayer was there doesn’t seem like a there is a lot of people who play these types of games online. This is not something just with this game I have had a few very good race games that had online multiplayer and they to didn’t have a lot of people playing. What this leads to is despite the fact there will be a few servers people have set up to play on there really isn’t very many people to play with. While testing the multiplayer out I never seen any online races I was in that had more then half a dozen people playing.
As for the single player as I said above I didn’t really spend any time with that. For me if I’m going to spend time playing a racing game I want to do so with other humans online. The few times I did load the single player up it did seem like it was fairly complete.
The creators of this game really did want to make a game that the end user could customize and I feel they did that in spades. The amount of stuff that you can tinker with in this game is amazing. There is screen after screen of stuff you can turn on and off depending on your play style or even your computer horsepower.
Here are some screen shots of the Graphic options along with some Difficulty settings you can change in game.
The overall feel of the cars on the track very from car to car and also depend on what level realism you have on. When you play the game on easy mode a lot of the hard work is done for you such as ABS brakes enabled spin recovery and the like. When you turn all the assist stuff off and go into simulation mode the cars at first are hard to handle. Once you get used to the simulation mode and not having any of the assists on then you can see how much more control you have over the car.
All the tracks I raced on also seem really well done. I’m not a huge race fan but even still the tracks look detailed to me and the amount of work that must have went into them is unreal. When you get flying down some of these tracks its really like what you would expect to see in real life in terms of the track details.
Below is a random shot of one of the tracks and some cool looking cars on the track.
Like all race games I have seen this one also has it so you can customize your car like the tire pressure and suspension and all that. You can save each profile you make for all the different tracks as well. If you don’t want to make a new profile for all the different tracks then you can use the stock profiles that come with game for whatever track your racing on.
Below is a screen shot of the screen you see when you want to change the car settings like gearing, tire pressure and the like.
One thing I get a kick out of is the replay mode. This is handy to have when you want to see how certain parts of a race went. Also any time you set a time record on a particular track that lap will be saved in the replay section as well.
Here you see a screen shot of the replay system thats built into the game. You can adjust the camera angles and what car you watching the replay from and all that.
The last thing on the list is the in game interface where you have all the options for the game and here I think they did a good job as well. Everything from what I can see looks like it was laid out well and I certainly have no trouble finding options in the game.
I tested this game on the following computer..
AMD 64 X2 4800
ASUS A8N-SLI DELUXE
GEFORCE 7950 GT/OC VIDEO CARD 512 MEG OF RAM
2 GIGS OF PC3200 RAM
2 MAXTOR 120 GIG 7200 RPM 8 MEG CACHE EIDE ATA 133 DRIVES
SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY SOUND CARD
In conclusion I don’t see how one could go wrong picking up this game. What you are getting for the $29.99 Canadian is a very good game that has had a lot of work put into it. Every time I load the game up and just look over the options you have that you can tinker with I’m amazed. If you want a game that doesn’t require a super computer to be able to run it with all the graphics on high then this is the game for you. Also I must give the creators of the game mad props for doing a multiplayer that kicks ass and runs nice and smooth. The only thing missing from this game is more people playing online..
For more information on this game you can go to the GTR2 web site here..