Developer(s) – Polyphony Digital
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Designer – Kazunori Yamauchi
PEGI – 3
Released on the back of immense success on the original PlayStation with the first and second installment, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec had a lot of hype to live up to the pending release, and was able to do so in spectacular fashion; even gaining a score of 39/40 from Japan’s Famitsu, becoming only the eighth game in the publication’s history at that time to receive this honor. Though I do have to say as a prerequisite that I spent a lot of time playing this game when I was a kid, the more I’ve grown up, the more I’ve started to see this game as being more generic than its initial reviews probably suggested; despite the fact I still enjoy playing it to this day.
Graphics – 10/10
Though it is very easy to look upon this game nowadays and see largely outdated and inferior experience to what is normally portrayed in racing games these days, especially if you belong to a younger generation of gamers, at the time, a video game that looked as good as this back in 2001 was nothing short of phenomenal. I remember not only did it blow me away at the time, but it also made me extremely excited for what games could expect to see later on in the shelf life of the PlayStation 2. We all thought the Dreamcast was something else compared to the like of the Nintendo 64 and the original PlayStation, it was games like this that helped Sony to take gaming visuals to the next level, so to speak. Aside from that, the game also has quite an impressive soundtrack, featuring songs from bands such as Feeder and Ash.
Gameplay – 7/10
Very much like Driveclub for example, I find this title to be enjoyable enough to play and hold my attention for a fair few hours. As far as most see it, it’s simply a carbon copy of the first two Gran Turismo games, but made bigger and better; perhaps the most effective strategy to employ whilst developing a video game sequel. There’s nothing wrong with giving players more of what they already like and in greater quantities, and it made the third game just as good as its predecessors; arguably better.
Controls – 10/10
For me personally, this was the first game I played that incorporated a fair control scheme in a conventional racing game and one that also made it feel like an authentic racing experience reminiscent of real-life competitive rally sports. Before that, the likes of Destruction Derby and TOCA Race Drivers were games that I couldn’t get to grips with at all. I even have trouble with Formula One games as it is, which is why I was baffled to get as good a time as I did when I tried out an actual F1 simulator at Play Blackpool.
Originality – 2/10
The only way in which this game innovated in any capacity is indeed in its visuals, which whilst exemplary at the time, would go on to be outdated relatively quickly; especially as both Need for Speed and Project Gotham launched shortly after it, and blew it out of the water in terms of graphical advancement. But aside from this, the game is, in essence, the same as every other racing game to have come before and to come after, and especially these days, it’s far too difficult to be able to differentiate between them all in positive ways in my opinion.
However, to summarize, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, is again regardless not a terrible game and is still quite enjoyable to play, and I would recommend it to anyone who may be a fan of the generic racing game regardless. Racing games remind of Alan Partridge’s theory of how if there may be too much of something, another way of looking at it could be that people like it, so more of it should be made. Gran Turismo was certainly a catalyst for this theory to be put in play throughout the 2000s in gaming, and the third game was one of many that managed to impress at the time.