Game Review: GTI Club+ (PS3)

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The summer of 1996 holds many of my fondest memories.

Example? Spending all my money, and most of a weekend at a local pizza parlor/arcade playing GTI Club.

Now that oversized cabinet has been condensed into a downloadable title for Playstation 3.

Am I still obsessed, or does time tarnish all?

Catch the review inside.

From a purist’s standpoint, this game is pretty much flawless. The arcade controls are missing, but the DualShock support replicates the twitchy feeling of being on the edge of control. There is no damage model… you can hit anything at top speed and not effect your car in any lasting way. I wouldn’t advise blasting into random objects, or even nudging them though; if your vehicle so much as brushes any wall, tree, or competitor’s car, your speed takes a dramatic drop. And these cars take forever to get up to speed.

You may not take damage, but you don’t want to hit anything.

The soundtrack is the familiar late 80’s/early 90’s techno that you’d come to expect from games like Ridge Racer or one of the many Sega racers from the same era, so if you were hoping for something modern, you’re out of luck. Along the same lines, voiceover work is the same over-excited, melodramatic, badly translated announcer we’ve become accustomed to hearing. Think Time Crisis with a dash of Virtua Fighter 5, while mixing in a healthy dose of Ridge Racer.

Graphically, GTI Club+ has received an upgrade from it’s arcade predecessor. Skies, backgrounds and textures are much more detailed, and the lighting is nice. I just wish they had updated the car models to take advantage of the higher resolution.

I felt like I was driving a refrigerator box with High Definition stickers posted on the sides.

While multiplayer races are part of the feature set, when I attempted to get a good feel for the gameplay involved I had a hard time finding other people to join a race. It felt like a ghost town. In the rare instance I was able to get an online race started, it was immediately clear that no one wanted to play unless they were winning. After three attempts, I had yet to complete a single lap that didn’t narrow the field to just two players: whoever was leading, and myself.

It seems the cars are so evenly matched, and catching another player is so difficult, most players will bail out if they aren’t leading halfway through the first lap.

Another problem (or benefit, if you’re into this kind of thing) is the outdated physics model. It is the physics model from 1996. Cars can get incredible air, smash into the side of a building and slide along it’s face smoothly to get back on the road. In the unlikely event that you actually flip the car, it’s likely to land on all four wheels, pointed in the right direction.

The game only comes with one track on Easy difficulty, with Medium difficulty starting you at a different point on THE SAME TRACK, with a few shortcuts opened up. The Hard difficulty setting puts you on the same track in reverse, but starts you POINTING THE WRONG DIRECTIONS (so you have to make a U turn to get headed in the right direction) and opens a few more shortcuts.

Want to win races? Use all the shortcuts, and don’t hit anything. Hope the other guy doesn’t know where the shortcuts are, or makes a mistake. Rinse and repeat. Replay value is non-existent.

If you are looking for a nostalgia inducing arcade game, this is most definitely the right title for you… but at $9.99 I think it’s severely overpriced. This should have been a freebie inside the Bowling Alley or Arcade in Playstation Home.

If you’re not old enough to remember the original incarnation of GTI Club… well… I think you’re going to find that the new version sucks harder than the entire vastness of space. You’re better served spending a few extra dollars to purchase Burnout Paradise.

MATT SAYS DODGE IT

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1 Comment

  1. […] game with a review but no trophy list. If you still want to get the trophies after reading Matt’s review, check out the trophy list on the other […]


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