: Gran Turismo 3
: Polyphony Digital
: PlayStation 2
GT3 is supposed to be very realistic, and it is, to a considerable extent. The graphics for the cars are frighteningly close to photorealistic, and the tracks and backgrounds are pretty close as well, all without any noticeable jaggies. GT3 is, as its predecessors were, challenging to control. You can't just jerk the analog stick to one side to make a sharp turn. Turns require various orders of slowdown, from releasing the accelerator to applying the emergency break. The main problem here, is that even if you crash your car headlong into a barrier, nothing happens, you just bounce off and spin out. Too bad.
There are two modes, arcade and simulation, the former being more for two players and the latter for one player. As you progress, you can earn higher licenses, compete higher stakes races, and gather enough credits to buy a big fancy car and tweak it out. The real prize, however, goes to the replay mode in GT3. Amazing camera work and brilliant effects (like the heat ripples on a blacktop track and dust being kicked up in a rally) make GT3's replays amazingly similar to real TV racing action, with the same camera angles and everything. You can even play with the camera angle, and access ultra-cool angles like the "camera right next to the front wheel" or the "camera on the top hood of the car". Combined with the already superb graphics of GT3, this is a real treat.
Also, GT3 features music from several popular artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dogg, 8 Stops 7, Apollo 440, and others. The soundtrack is almost all good, and you have the option to disable songs you don't like and make a playlist of those you do.
Bottom line: GT3 rocks. Whether you buy it for the graphics, gameplay, or just the hype, you will not be disappointed. This game is one of the first real system sellers for the PlayStation2. If they all look this good, we're in for a helluva ride.