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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gran Turismo 4 Review

John Marine | 2:01 AM | |
(UPDATED: April 6, 2012)

John's Blog Space was where this blog post initially came from. It has since been edited specifically for this blog. Gran Turismo started strong, got bigger, downsized a great deal for a new console... so how would GT4 fare? Freaking huge, that's what. Gran Turismo 4 completely overpowers the whole scope of the Gran Turismo series. It was the debut of many things and is the ultimate Gran Turismo so far. That is, until Gran Turismo 5 comes along. If you loved the GT Force wheel, you'll love the wheel that was designed for this game called the Logitech Driving Force Pro, a lovely evolution of the previous wheel. It allowed for 900° motion and nearly impecable driving dynamics.

--- Overview ---

Gran Turismo 4
^ from:
Get ready to play this game for months to come... it has MANY challenges for beginner and veteran Gran Turismo racers alike.

Gran Turismo 4 is the largest and most challenging Gran Turismo to date. Arcade Mode allows you to race MANY cars on all the many courses this game has to offer. You get about 240 cars to choose from among many car companies. Your progress in Gran Turismo Mode (formerly Simulation Mode) will help you unlock more cars and tracks for Arcade Mode. A few new tuning options are available, including Nitrous, Increase Rigidity, Normal Tires, and more. Some cars can even be given original tuner car parts from the new Tuning Village. There are three different secondhand dealers. And for the first time ever, you can purchase used cars of many nationalities, more than just used Japanese cars.

The biggest aspect of this game is B-Spec. B-Spec allows you to be your own race director as you pilot a race car in an event using an AI driver. Many think that this mode is controversial because in most peoples' minds, B-Spec is the game playing itself for you. But, I like to think of this as a chance for you to win races if you aren't confident enough to win with your own abilities. Do you want to win or not?

The License Tests are back, and are now bigger and tougher. However, it doesn't take too much to clear each test. They are all easy to learn and difficult to master. Trust me. If you're a good racer, you'll easily accomplish bronze in all tests before eventually going for silver and gold in tests. You don't need to win all-Gold to win cars. Just going all bronze will earn you cars. These cars will help fill your garage that can hold about 1,000 cars.

New to Gran Turismo is Photo Mode. This gives you the chance to take pictures of your rides either from dedicated Photo Mode venues or from racing action. The many venues take you to places in Japan, the United States, and Italy. You have to set up a Photo Drive (for a fee of about three credits) to do Photo Mode action on the track. You know there's confidence in great graphics when you're able to take great pictures of your car. Photos can be stored on a Memory card, saved on USB Flash Drives, or printed directly to your printer.


Gran Turismo 2 was the standard for multiple cars in a game. This game surpasses that with over 700 cars (though many will complain about copies of the same car). GT4 was the debut of many kinds of vehicles. It's the first Gran Turismo to put a focus on Tuner cars and drift cars. This GT even debuts open-top racing action as well as the debut of Le Mans Prototypes (LMPs). You can enjoy racing with the top down for most races. Many kinds of concept cars are available to try out. This game even debuts the old-school Grand Touring Prototypes of the past. The cars have a new driving model. And to be honest, the steering and all the handling dynamics seem absolutely heavy at times.

This game debuts the most number of nationalities of car in series history- the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the Korea Republic. Every car you earn in Gran Turismo Mode will set you up to take on a long and winding career of Gran Turismo racing without having to spend your starting 10,000 Credits.


Tracks are divided into four categories. The World Circuits are real-world race courses. Everything from the tricky confines of Tsukuba to the almost 13-mile long nightmare known as the Nürburgring Nordschleife are all available for you to race in World Circuits. The Original Circuits are all the original works of Polyphony Digital at mostly permanent race courses. This is where you race tracks like Grand Valley Speedway and the returning High Speed Ring. The City Courses are all the courses on city streets in a combination of real and fictional locations. Try out courses like New York, Hong Kong, and the high-speed confines of Seoul. This even includes new tarmac rally courses at Citta di Aria and Costa di Amalfi. The Dirt and Snow courses feature all the off-road courses. Try out courses like Grand Canyon or old favorites like Tahiti Maze. Also, you can race on snow and ice for the first time in series history. In all, you're looking at almost 50 courses (many more for the courses that can be run in reverse.

Also included is a drag strip on the streets of Las Vegas. No proper drag racing is included, though. It's primarily to test your car's acceleration. Picking up where Gran Turismo 3 left off, you can choose to race at any given venue. You now have to pay a small fee to use the race course. You can also choose to race a track in normal or reverse. You can have any events like these:

• Free Practice - a solo run at any track
• Track Meet - a Track Day where you race against cars tuned at your level. Use this to compare your car's tuning against similar cars on a certain track.
• Photo Mode - you're free to drive however you want, and then be able to take pictures of your best (or worst) moments.
• Family Cup - this is where you can run a simple race against opposition. You can select the level of difficulty of your opposition, allowing you to go for an easy race or a hard race. Races are two laps long with 500 Credits for a victory. No license or fee needed to compete. They do not tie into the 100% completion, so enjoy a stress-free race.

(NOTE: Not all tracks have all of these events.)


Races are bigger, longer, and tougher in GT4. Races can last as long as 1 laps on a long track to 24 straight hours. The official events are in the Beginner and Professional Events. Upon completion of those races, you can then race in the Extreme Events with some of the most intense challenges to come. New to Gran Turismo are racing events specifically catered to certain Nationalities of car. You have American Events, European Events, and Japanese Events. These are races requiring you have these kinds of cars.

The 34 Driving Missions test your ability to succeed in pressure-packed situations. Driving Mission events range from passing a car within a given amount of track all the way to the epic One-Lap Magic battles, where you must pass all five cars (that get serious head starts) in one lap. Also, there are better regulations, mostly towards kinds of tires and limiting Production Cars from racing. The assumption is that Standard/Sports tires means it's only for street cars and not tuner cars or racing cars.

The One-Make Races take many forms, from Single Races to Championship Series. It is an evolution of Gran Turismo 2's method, only that you race on multiple courses and even a few championship series. With no Racing Modification, there aren't any racing-specific events in the One-Make races.

An important change from GT3 to GT4 is that you can exit championships to take care of your car and go back to work when you're ready. Quickly change your oil before going back to racing.

Photo Mode.

It won't help you win the Gran Turismo World Championship. It won't help you go faster. It won't help you complete the game. However, if you love showing off your rides, the best way to do it without diamond grills in your teeth and your shorts hanging off of your booty is to go do some Photo Mode pictures. You can choose from many dedicated Photo Mode locations, or do some free running on a race track and take pictures after your run. You have many options to tilt and adjust the view. You can adjust the focus of your images as well. This is your chance to be a shutterbug. Saved pictures can be saved on your Memory Card, but I highly recommend you save them onto a USB Flash Drive to share your pictures to the world.

--- Online Play Controversy ---

You can do multiplayer racing, but only on a LAN setup. Gran Turismo 4 was touted as being the first Gran Turismo game to feature online racing. But when this game decided to do away with online gaming for Gran Turismo 4, it left many fans disappointed (and even angry) that this game didn't have online play. Does it take away from the experience? Absolutely not. The game still remains classic.

--- Why Should You Get This Game? ---

The biggest Gran Turismo. The fastest Gran Turismo. The hardest Gran Turismo. Convinced?

--- Negatives to this Game ---

The biggest negative to me is that you cannot load your game whenever you like. This is likely a measure to prevent cheating. I know that when I've done terribly that I want to quickly load my last game and try again. You WILL lose your first race (unless you're very good). There's no true online play, which is a major deterrent for most gamers. I'm not an online gamer, so I wasn't really bothered by this.

This is the latest major Gran Turismo title. Play this game if you haven't already. It'll keep you company, unless you have a PlayStation 3 and enjoying Gran Turismo 5: Prologue or the latest Gran Turismo 5 demo.

Thank you for reading!

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