Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gran Turismo, you've lost me

I recently started playing Gran Turismo 4 again, and I came to the realization that I don't really like it anymore. It has become much like spinach, vigorous exercise and the collected works of John Milton. I know they are good for me, but I can't muster any real enthusiasm for the experience.

I should have known something was up whenever I looked through my games and I passed Gran Turismo 4 over for other titles. It never used to be that way. I mean, I used to absolutely love Gran Turismo back on the original Playstation, and the term fanboy would probably be applicable for my defense of the franchise.

At first, I didn't understand what had happened, but after giving the matter some thought, I think I realize where me and the game started moving in different directions.

That moment was when I started having the computer race for me. I think that was the factor that really brought this to a head for me.

Simulation of events is a staple of sports gaming, and I understand that, but there was just something sort of strange about a game that has events that you must run with the computer driving your car, and for those of you who haven't played the game, it isn't some quick simulation. No, you have to watch it as it races(you can go to a map mode and speed the action up 300%), and given the fact that some of these races are supposed to take 8 to 24 hours of real time to finish, well, what kind of fun is that?

I mean, there are games that I've finished in their entirety in 24 hours of gameplay. It is just demented. I finished reading Ulysses and Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man together in less time than that. I've been devoted to a game before, but at some point, you have to ask the designers, "Are you out of your ever-freakin' mind?". That is taking simulation a little bit too far.

Then there is the fact that there are cars in that game that, to put it politely, are for masochists. I am talking about the 50-100 cars that are really, really bad. I mean, yeah, having a few cars like the Daihatsi Midget and the Fiat 500 is entertaining and informative, but having so many cars like them in a game is a bit sad really. That thrill I used to get when I beat a bunch of high performance sports cars with a souped up Mini Cooper seems to be gone as well.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Burnout. Once you've played Burnout, you can't go without, because even when you are going 240 in GT, well, you don't feel like you are going really fast. In Burnout, even 70 miles an hour can get your heart racing. Of course, there isn't the same level of depth or even real cars in this particular racing series, but it is still fun, which when you are playing a game is the point really.

I am not denying that Gran Turismo is a well-designed game, because it truly is. It is just that it doesn't offer the thrills that it once did. Perhaps I will reconsider someday, but at the moment, I think me and GT are going to have to take a break.


Jim Squires said...

I started feeling the same as you after the third Gran Turismo. Luckily, I've since discovered Project Gotham Racing 3. :)

It seems the happy medium between two extremes - the detail, number of cars, true-to-life handling, etc.. are just like what you'd expect in Gran Turismo, but the controls are far more forgiving and slightly arcadey, just like Burnout.

And there's no license test before you can play. :)

Mayren said...

All is not lost MC. you'll get your "drive" back in another game i'm sure.

MC said...

Jim: Alas, I am not part of the X-Box generation. Though I sort of like the some of the licensing tests as a barrier.

Mayren: Perhaps, perhaps.