Iím not really sure how to categorize this article. Itís not an addition to the review, nor is it our GT4 USA review. Itís not a formal gaming guide either. Think of it just as additional fan discussion about Gran Turismo 4 that I think other fans will enjoy. There will be some talk, some track discussion, and of course some great photo mode car shots. Think of it like you would a bonus feature on a DVD movie.
Iím assuming youíre a fan of the Gran Turismo series, or at least driving games. Iím assuming that youíve already ordered Gran Turismo 4 and read our review from the beginning of the month, and you are probably the type of fan who already knows that February 24, 2005ís episode of The Apprentice will have the teams working on making a promotion strategy for the game (and if you didnít, youíre probably getting a tape of the show).
I didnít start writing for FiringSquad as a game reviewer. Iíve never been a full-time writer for FS either, even though I started writing for the site in 1999 and ďretiredĒ from writing last year. Now, the only time I write is when some website needs some sort of specialized expertise I can bring to the article. One of those specialized areas of expertise is driving games with force feedback wheels. That said, Iím a driving enthusiast and not a hardcore driving game enthusiast.
One of the gee-whiz features of Gran Turismo 4 are the extended endurance races, including several ď24 hourĒ races. This is a race where you drive, non-stop for 24 hours. No breaks. No saving your game half way through (though you can cheat and pause). There are gamers out there with the interest, willingness, and stamina to do the 24-hour endurance race. To those gamers with that kind of stamina and focus, I salute you. Iím not one of those gamers. I enjoy driving, but not that much.
There are other Gran Turismo fans who want to ďbeatĒ the game. They want to complete every last race and license challenge in the game with gold, own every car, and even own multiple colors of the same car. They may even keep track of the mileage and oil changes for every one of their virtual cars, as well as their fastest time on the Vegas Drag Strip and the Ďring for each configuration. To those gamers with that dedication to achieving the highest score, I also salute you. Iím not one of those gamers either. I appreciate fine machines and enjoy driving, but itís not my only thing.
I enjoy Gran Turismo 4 for its fairly realistic experience of driving. Iím not a professional race car driver, nor do I aspire to become one. I have a colleague who owns a Carrera GT, and another whoís confirmed to be invited to purchase the next Enzo, but that doesnít mean that I donít enjoy test driving a regular car such as a simple Volvo S60 or even a Mitsubishi Galant. For me, playing a game like GT4 is like skiing down an intermediate difficulty slope. Itís not about going for the triple black diamond and having the impending sense of doom, or taking it too casually on a bunny slope.
Note that I said it was like skiing rather than snowboarding. This was intentional Ė with snowboarding, you learn the right technique from the very beginning and so while itís tough to get started, once you make it past the first hurdle, itís all downhill. Driving is like skiing Ė itís pretty easy to get started, but you learn bad habits and itís much tougher to break those habits.
So, coming back to GT4, I think that if I had access to every single car and every single track in the game from the beginning in the arcade mode, Iíd rarely touch the GT World part of the game. Iíd already be able to get all my fun from the actual driving. So, this article is here to help those of you out there, reach that goal of being able to drive almost any car you want from GT4ís catalog. Some dedicated fans will call our strategies cheating, but I think itís simply about having different goals.
In the second half of this article, Iíll talk about some of the tracks and cars in the game that Iíve really enjoyed.