GT2 is often, if not always, referred to as the quintessential racing
simulator, the benchmark by which all other companies should make their
racing games, that has never been bested. When TXR came out at the DC's
launch, people debated if it played as well as GT, when Sega GT came out,
people compared the physics and AI to GT2's. Most people seemingly
considered GT1+2 the games to be beat, even after SegaGT, F355 and MSR were
released on the DC. Certainly no one argued the graphics, but which game
had the most accurate (or sometimes just the most entertaining and fluid)
physics was often debated on the newsgroups.
What I believe qualifies me to make these comparisons is that I was a driver by
profession for five years, a well tuned Honda Prelude 85'
is my vehicle of choice. Well, let me
first talk about GT2's graphics, accelerated for the DC through the emulator called Bleemcast.
The resolution is 640x480, like most to all DC games, AntiAliasing is
turned off, but texture filtering is on. This means that the textures
appear blurry up close instead of blocky, but there are still 'jaggies', but
mainly just on the roof of the cars, and hardly anything serious. However,
the polycount is so low, and the texture size so small, that this game,
graphically, barely compares to Test Drive 6 for DC. With texture detail
literally popping in just in front of the car, pop-up in the far background,
cheesy three tone 'shine' effects on the cars, and bland gray, brown and
gray color schemes for the levels, this game shouldn't turn anybody's head
compared to the dedicated DC games that are abundant.
The graphics aren't bad either, especially if you are used to the PS
version, as the framerate appears to be improved for the most part as well.
With the possible exception of replays, and scenes when all eight cars are
on screen, which slow down, but stay at the same framerate, quite
On to the gameplay, the real meat of all gaming. I'll use Sega Rally
for the Saturn for comparison here. In Sega Rally, if you are sliding on
asphalt, and hit dirt, things change accordingly. Meaning you will slide
further in the dirt than you would on asphalt, and the jump from one to the
other causes the car to react accordingly. If you're powersliding on dirt
and your back or front tires hit asphalt first, that end of the car gains a
sudden stick to the ground, that again would occur in reality.
In GT2, when you're sliding on dirt, and hit asphalt, there is little to
no noticeable change in your slide, when your back tires hit dirt while
you're sliding, the car's back end does not slide out faster than it would
on asphalt. Instead, environment effected physics are replaced by a
tendency to allow the car to completely spin around. This ease of spinning
is not as much increased on dirt, as it is slightly changed. You don't have
less traction on dirt in GT2, you just have slightly different handling.
Which tires are off the road does not appear to effect the car at all
though. This effect is exasperated by the fact that the smoke effect does
not change on asphalt to dirt, and there is not a noticeable tire to dirt
and rock sound while on dirt.
On to the AI, the other meat of a racing game. First collision
detection, when you are driving and another car hits the side of your car,
there is a slight push in the opposite direction, and the car bounces in
rapid concession off the side of your car, until the 'AI' was programmed to
drive to another part of the track. Instead of an impact, and recoil from
said impact, based on how hard you were hit, the gameplay is effected like
your front end alignment is off, and pulls you away from the other car, so
long as they are still bouncing off your side. The 'AI' is hardly that at
all, you effectively drive against 8 ghost cars in GT2 that don't react to
you, or even each other's presence in the slightest bit, when they pass you or
another car, they just bounce each other out of the way. The 'AI' only
represents a time, nothing more.
GT2 came out in 99', Sega Rally (for the Saturn) came out in 95'. They
have in common the way the AI and collision detection is treated, but in
Rally racing, you race against the clock anyway. GT2 could at least have
added better collision detection, and avoidance of other vehicles into the
With GT2 running at a higher resolution on my DC, Sega Rally still has easily
comparable, if not better looking graphics. With more track side detail, no
slowdown or framerate loss, smoother, more colorful textures, less pop up, and
far less noticeable breaks
between the polygons, or the
texture pop up
that can be found in GT2. Certainly GT2
has nicer looking cars, and more cars/tracks to choose from. This is infact,
the meat of GT2, the menus and options. The time you can consume in GT2 vastly
surpasses SegaRally's, simply due to the number of vehicles, tracks and modes
available. However, I'd personally take Sega Rally with more cars/tracks, than
GT1 or 2 any day.
I shouldn't need to say, that with GT2 for DC comparing in graphics, and physics
to the six year old Sega Rally, that there are better games available for the
DC. SegaGT, F355, TXR2, Test Drive: Le Mans, and MSR all provide unique experiences,
and more modern gameplay, AI interaction and graphics than GT2 does. My opinion
is, that if GT3 plays like GT2, as the reviewers all state, that the graphics
can't possibly make up for its shortcomings as a next gen racing game. Actually,
I find the physics of GT1+2 to be lacking for a last generation console game.
To be fair, it's easier to get one car's physics right in a game dedicated to
less than four, than it is to get it right for a game featuring 300+ cars, and
GT2 was first to do this.
Effectively, the real point to the GT games' game
play is not the challenge of the race, from physics and opponent AI at all.
The meat of the GT games' game play is in hours of playing different races,
to earn money for upgrades and new vehicle purchases. The GT games are vehicular
RPGs of a sort, the point is to build up your car and collect new cars, and
thus the physics and AI play second fiddle in the minds of the developer and