When Gran Turismo was released back in 1997, it used in a new era of the racing genre. While there were other racing games that preceded it such as The Need for Speed and Ridge Racerno other game at the time was able to capture the imagination of many as Gran Turismo did. 25 years later, the original game and its sequel still hold a special place in the hearts of many gamers.
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Despite the technical and content progression of the series, the originals still hold up to this day with their content and gameplay.
Visually, a lot of PS1 games did not age well. One of the games during that era that still looks aesthetically pleasing would be the Final Fantasy series, but that was mainly due to the pre-rendered backgrounds. While it wouldn’t be fair to compare Gran Turismo with an RPG with a large budget, the graphics were in a league of their own.
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The reflection of buildings on the windows or the light bouncing off the exterior showcases the little details that are commonplace today. For its time, it was one of the better-looking home console games that still holds a candle to this day.
4 Car Selection
Gran Turismo and its sequel boast a staggering 140 and 650 cars respectively. Compare that with another racing game at the time, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, which had 321 cars. While the number may seem overkill at the time, it provided players with a vast amount of options ranging from the typical Honda Civic to the legendary Nissan Skyline.
If anyone could think of a make and model of a car, it was bound to be there. And while visual customization of the cars was limited compared to its successors, the overall simplicity made them stand out and continues to resonate with many.
3 Track Selection
Along with the number of cars available also came a variety of tracks. The original game had 11 to choose from, while the sequel had 27. From the streets of Rome to the islands of Tahiti, the diversity of locations was unmatched by other video games. It had a good mixture of both fictional and real to choose from.
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Each course had its own personality and nuances that make a player think about what car would be best to use. Some tracks had tight corners requiring more agile cars, while others require rally cars as they have dirt roads.
Gran Turismo came to the scene with a different approach to car handling. Compared to Mario Kart and Ridge Racer which leaned towards arcade-style of racing that revolved around drifting, Gran Turismo was more realistic. The cars felt like how they would perform in real life.
For example, at the beginning of the race, if someone steps on the gas pedal, the car won’t immediately launch, it will be a gradual acceleration. While there were other car simulation games before Gran Turismo, it paved the way for the genre to become mainstream. The handling physics found in the PS1 games found their way to other titles, which are still in use today.
The PS1-era games’ main menu is simple. In simulation mode, players are greeted with a map layout where the options are laid out in the guise of landmarks. It is easy to navigate for anyone and compared to more modern examples such as Gran Turismo 5 and 6, is not cluttered and overwhelming to the player. While in arcade mode, it goes back to a standard list menu.
With the release of Gran Turismo 7 Earlier this year, the franchise has gone back to the map-based menu that hasn’t been seen since the 4th installment, showing that the style of the original games is timeless.
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