When I bought my PlayStation 2, I purchased GT3:A-Spec despite not enjoying the first two games of the series. However, I felt that the power of the PS2 would make this game more appealing. Four months later, and plenty of trophies later, I discovered that the GT series is the best racing game series ever made and GT3:A-Spec is their biggest creation yet.
Polyphony (sic) Studios has delivered the definitive racing game. With over 150 cars, all with their own characteristics, the player competes in multiple races to win money for upgrades and new cars. Tracks include Seattle, Rome, The French Riviera, and Laguna Seca. Car manufacturers from all over the world have their cars licensed. Some of the cars include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Honda Civic, and the Mazda Miata. As you get better, more exotic cars in the Formula One vein and rally cars are won.
While time trial and Arcade are O.K., it's in Simulation mode where the fun is. You start with a little money to buy a car and then win more money to upgrade it. Win a series and you'll win another car for your garage. Eventually, you'll be hooked on this game trying to win all the cars and races.
The graphics are beautiful with lots of detail for the courses. The cars handle beautifully even with a gamepad. There could have been more tracks (19 in all plus reverses) and also the later courses require from 10 to 100 laps to complete and I couldn't find a way to save the game in progress. Hopefully, GT4 will correct this.
Of course, the sound is the icing on the cake. Every car sounds different and has each manufacturer's quirks in them. The soundtrack of songs is stellar with a wide variety of licensed tracks. Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free", The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary", Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart" and others from the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Papa Roach, Masters of Mayhem, and Grinspoon. My personal faves are Grand Theft Audio's "As Good As It Gets" and Snoop Dogg's made for the game tune. The only disappointment is that you can't raise the volume of the songs; they can be lost sometimes in the engine's roar.
Still, the best racing game ever made and now a part of PS2's Greatest Hits. If you have a PS2, you must own this one. ***** out of *****
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