I always used to approach racing games with an air of nonchalance, and a knowing smirk, safe in the knowledge that my elite driving prowess would ensure my undisputed victory against any hapless AI competitors. This bloated self-assurance diminished somewhat upon my first race in the original GTR, which saw me sat dazed within my demolished car as it lay alongside a rather obstinately unmovable concrete wall, rubbing my head and wondering what the hell had just happened. On the first corner.
GTR didn’t care what kind of an amazing driver you were, it picked you up with its iron grasp and brutally flung you back to the foot of the humility ladder. Simulation racing at its finest, here was a game that didn’t mollycoddle your ego, but proved to be one of the toughest, yet most rewarding experiences any gamer will have ever had the fortune to play. Sadly, the dedication to realism lost the interest of many casual gamers.
GTR 2 is promising to be a lot more accessible to the mainstream gaming public now, with additional modes to curb the realism for people who don’t know their hood from their trunk. Thankfully, the core simulation experience will still remain, offering all the refined ultra-realism of the original.
Additions to this sequel include even better graphics for both the cars and the locations. Every single vehicle is modelled in intricate detail to replicate the real-life GT race hogs. You can now also tear these beasts to shreds in even more dramatic ways than before, with plenty of crumple zones and detachable parts to spread around the track. And the wonderful object physics ensure the other racers will suffer from your detritus, as each body part has its own physics properties that can affect other cars. So losing a wheel at a carefully timed point in the race may actually prove to be a tactic.
Atmospheric and weather effects are particularly breathtaking, with real-time sun, rain, wind and more. Even more impressive is the fact that the dynamic weather conditions have noticeable effect on the way the cars handle on the track. A sudden downpour will make things a lot more hazardous than you might expect. We haven’t yet seen if snow will make an appearance, but if it does you can be sure that SimBin will have given ample consideration to its qualities of lubrication.
And to educate the lesser drivers among us, there is even a driving school, where you can learn the basics, right up from acceleration and braking, to advanced handling and manoeuvres. A useful tool for all, no matter how impregnable you deem your driving skillz to be.
With included online play to test your mettle against like-minded petrolheads, as well as the vast array of tracks and cars, GTR 2 is looking to be a long-term proposition. Keep an eye out for our imminent review, where we will take off the hood and examine the innards of this fine looking beast.