Being a car nut, I was looking forward to this game very much. After several delays, it has finally come out and is well worth the wait. The variety and range of cars is amazing! There are many different kinds including compacts, classic muscle cars, exotics, luxury sedans, and even pickup trucks. There are even a couple of cars from 1886. (No, that's not meant to say 1986.) The tracks are nice too. Along with the city courses, most of which are realistically recreated, are several real racetracks (including the highly challenging Nurburgring) and several of the original tracks the series is known for. In the cities, many of their landmarks are easily visible during the race. On the rally courses, there are actually guys who stand in the track, take pictures of your approaching car, then scurry out of the way.
As for the soundtrack, there's more good variety. I've driven exceptionally long endurance races (some as long as 8 hours, or more) with the default soundtrack set up and it took two hours for the music to cycle around. What played in that two hours was nicely chosen. I heard some good new songs from Jimmy Eat World, The Donnas, Jet, Chronic Future, Dirty Americans, and Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers. Also, I heard some nice older tunes from Judas Priest, Yello, and Van Halen. Everything else was at least worth listening to.
There's also an oddity new the series in this game called B-Spec. With this new mode, you can let the computer drive for you while you manage its pace, tell it when it's okay to pass opponents, and when to go into the pits. This can easily make many of the longer endurance races more manageable.
Recommending this game to car nuts with a PS2 seems almost useless because they most likely have this game already.
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