So, are the physics better?
Yes and no, but mostly yes.
One, itís as if Konami developed Enthusia for use with the Driving Force Pro only. The game is completely unplayable with the gamepad, and still very difficult with a standard force feedback steering wheel. Unlike Gran Turimso 4 which replicated the feel of having racing slicks, Enthusia is centered around realistic modeling of street cars exclusively with street tires
The physics are accurate. These cars perform pretty similarly to how you would expect them to in real-life. The weakness is that because we drive far more aggressively in a game than we do in real life, controlling your car is incredibly difficult. (Although thatís realistic because many teenagers are killed trying to replicate their Gran Turismo skills in real-life).
Driving in Enthusia is a mental workout Ė unlike the leisurely pace of driving of GT4, driving in Enthusia requires you to be completely aware of everything you are doing. Slamming too hard on the brakes will lock your wheels causing you to lose control. The requirement for throttle control is significantly greater than that in GT4. Whereas I had a sense of accomplishment and entertainment with driving in GT4, it was often a humbling experience in Enthusia. One lapse in judgment or mistake with fine throttle control or braking, and the race would be over as I watched myself drop from first to last place. Even more humbling is when you see your in-game ranking drop after completing a race because you did not participate in a challenging enough race. This is part of the reason why Enthusia has received such lackluster reviews elsewhere Ė with a gamepad, you simply donít have the fine control of the throttle or braking or steering that you would need to comfortably control the car.
The learning curve of the game is incredibly steep, especially if you have a lot of bad driving habits from playing too many games. Early on, all you will want to do is to stick with slower underpowered cars. You do this hoping that the higher odds ratio will give you more points with your victories and help you progress through the game and unlock tracks, but you also do this because the weaker engines are easier to control. Unfortunately, you cannot do this for more than one weekend because you will eventually need to move onto faster cars in order to participate in competitive races and the problem with faster cars is that they can be more difficult to drive. Enthusia, however, really highlights the strengths of different cars Ė some cars have too much power for their own good while others have a uncanny balance.
Well, how do you know the physics are better and not just different?
The best measurement of Enthusiaís quality physics came when I returned to GT4. After a week of Enthusia, I had weaned myself off most of my bad driving habits that hadnít previously been noticeable in GT4. When I returned to GT4, the careful throttle and braking control that I had developed resulted in some of my fastest GT4 times ever. Whatever Enthusia is doing, it does help you become a better driver.