Gran Turismo 2 takes the PlayStation to new graphical levels and advanced gameplay. Featuring Arcade and Simulation modes GT2 has over 600 cars, 27 race tracks, and even an off-road rally racing mode.
The game is deeper than the original with HP requirements for races and nationality races and more license tests than the first game. It also features 4x the amount of prize cars and more cups and races.
The original Gran Turismo set a whole new standard for the PlayStation and the racing genre in general when it was released in December 1999. Gran Turismo 2 continues that trend, offering players a wide array of cars and tracks in both Arcade and Simulation modes. The game can also save race replays and view them from different camera angles.
The gameplay and physics are almost identical to the original Gran Turismo, but there are some significant improvements. For example, the brakes are much less prone to locking up during a turn. The graphics are also a huge step up, with every car looking like a real-world vehicle. The game even has a lighting effect that gives cars a shiny sheen as they drive by cameras, and it can accurately display the rotation of the hubcaps.
The game still suffers from some graphical bugs (especially with polygon dropout during certain isolated camera angles), but the overall quality of the graphics is outstanding. The inclusion of rally racing is also a welcome addition, and the game has an excellent selection of classic cars.
The graphics in GT2 are a lot smoother and more detailed than GT1s, but despite this, they still have some problems that GT1 didn’t: Several times there is a pop-up (scenery that appears out of nowhere), the cars look rather chunky (especially the front of the car) and the game has too many slowdowns.
The physics of the cars also seem to have been improved, the brakes now have less of a tendency to lock up and oversteer. The game also features a lot more content, with over three times as many cars and tracks as the original Gran Turismo.
The cheat code allows the player to force AI cars to use the highest LOD level (similar to the one reserved for the player’s car) instead of cycling between different levels of LOD like in the original game. This makes the cars look much better, especially when upscaling. In addition, it turns the Millenium in Rome 2 Hours Endurance race into a real timed endurance race, not limited to 99 laps or two hours.
As one would expect from such an influential series, Gran Turismo 2 has a wealth of sound effects to complement the beautiful cars. Neill Blomkamp assembled a team of recordists (including John P. Fasal, Ed Walker, and Watson Wu) and sound designers at TORQ/Source Sound UK (including Charles Deenen and James Evans) to capture and create the car sounds.
Unlike the original Gran Turismo, which included licensed tracks in its US and UK versions (Feeder, Ash, Bring Me The Horizon, etc), GT 2 features all-original music from series composers Masahiro Andoh and Isamu Ohira. While some of the songs are rearrangements from their respective predecessors on the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack, Andoh and Ohira still manage to impress with some great compositions. Their best work is certainly the rock-oriented “Never Let Me Down,” which features an excellent bass line and drum development which makes it perfect for speeding round the turns of the game’s courses.
Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo series is a technical showcase and a love letter to automotive culture. It’s a series that raises the bar for racing games and never looked back.
The gameplay in GT2 is similar to its predecessor but with improved driving physics and graphics. A more advanced game engine allows for fewer slowdowns and crashes, and the ability to use multiple cameras during races.
There’s also an impressive amount of detail in the cars and tracks. Everything from the tires to the dashboard is modeled in great detail, and even small things like the simulated headlights and rim-rotation effects add to the immersion.
The replay mode is also a huge improvement, as it allows you to view the race from several different angles, including overhead and beside-the-tire views. This makes the replays useful for learning how to improve your racing skills.