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Gran Turismo 4

2006

I've been thinking about this quite a bit, so bear with me here:

"Gran Turismo 4" is the biggest, longest, deepest video game ever made.  Period.  Bar none.  It's an open-and-shut case, because it took me at least 200 hours of game time to finish a mere 51.4% of the game, according to the Status screen in my Home Garage.  I had won more than 80 cars and 300 races, and I was barely halfway done.  That's right, and to beat the other half of the game would take another 500 hours, easy.  Why?

Because I beat the easier half of the game.

Between tournaments, country-based races, dirt-and-snow track races, license acquisition (you need them to compete in each level of race available), model-specific races (Audi TT Challenge, for example, is a five-race circuit that only features that coupe), and time-trial races (known in the game as "Driving Missions"), there is so much here that I've already decided I will never buy another "Gran Turismo" game ever again.  I don't need to!  "GT4" has so much to play through that it was the only game I played for literally three months; if it had online play, I wouldn't need to buy another game ever again.

What is here, though, is fabulous.  The game looks so good that in Replay Mode, one truly wonders if games can ever look any better.  (Certainly, that answer is yes, since the $600 PlayStation3 is coming out this year.)  There are more than 700 cars to choose from; what can't be bought must be won, and it's funny to win cars both bottom-of-the-barrel (sweet!  I just won a Honda minivan!) and top-of-the-line (winning a '98 Jaguar race car with 912 HP was the career highlight).  The game features races for all levels of players, but eventually you must get good to win the championships in each geographic location, as well as the Gran Turismo World Championship, which I did not beat and don't plan to try any more, since it was eating major time just to win one race in that badboy!

And with a career mode that tracks your progress and the world's greatest simulation engine, you can trick out every part of your car, right down to the hubcaps.  Matching all of this with the fact that the game only costs $20 right now since it's a Greatest Hits game, "Gran Turismo 4" has now eclipsed "GTA: San Andreas" as the greatest value for a game ever.  Even if you don't love driving games, this one is worth checking out.

Rating:  Opening Weekend

 

Feedback?  Comments?  Hot doughnut tip?  justin@bellviewmovies.com

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09