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 noticeably.


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 AI interaction.

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 the fans.

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