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ups: Gorgeous Car Models, Real FIA Simulation, Lots of Cars, Tracks, Customization
downs: Steep Learning Curve, Buggy Multiplayer, Damage Models Could be better, Long Load Times

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GTR: FIA Racing Review
review
game: GTR: FIA Racing
four star
posted by: Chris Martin
publisher: 10Tacle Studios
developer: SimBin Development Team
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ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
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date posted: 04:22 PM Sun Oct 23rd, 2005
last revision: 04:22 PM Sun Oct 23rd, 2005



Click to read.Wow, this one came out of left field. GTR: FIA Racing is a simulator built off real telemetry data for FIA GT Racing, and with tracks taken directly from satellite imagery. Let's put it this way, GTR claims to be the most realistic driving simulation out there (have we heard this one before?), but in all honesty, I'm not one to deny that. GTR is an excellent racing simulator. It doesn't do hundreds of choices a la Gran Turismo, car detailing or part buying like in Forza and Need for Speed Underground but you cantune to your heart's content. What GTR: FIA Racing doesis simulate the FIA Racing circuit better than any racing game has, period. More than that, it simulates racing better than any other game has. Still it's not the most impressive racing game out there because gamers are gamers and we love hundreds of car choices, upgrades, and tracks. But GTR stands alone as the best in the FIA Racing division of simulators. Not only will it keep the hardcore racing fan satisfied, but it might even entice a few others to buy a wheel for PC and, dare I say it, become hardcore.

It seems like a simple premise: a game to simulate an entire real-life circuit, but it had to be damn hard. The fellows over at SimBin Development Team have built enough into the game to allow the most hardcore players to race in the most hardcore way-all this without hot girls having sex on the side of the road. There are very few options from the main menu, basically you can race online, or offline, and from the offline mode you can take the Arcade, Semi-Pro, or Simulation. While the Arcade mode does a decent job catering to those who are newer to racing games (allowing all sorts of handicaps) it's the Semi-Pro and Simulation modes that make this game what it is. With full damage models (which, sadly, are not quite as impressive as they could be), less-or no-handicaps, and no capped top-speed, the more challenging difficulties of the game are the most rewarding.

Strangely, while the Arcade mode allows for a more forgiving driving model, it does cap your top speed, and you'll find yourself being passed on straights and making up time in slower turn sections.

The AI in GTR is awesome. Taking into account all the crap Artificial Intelligence we've seen in games of all genres (from Rainbow Six Lockdown to Gran Turismo) having competent opponents who will pass, block, and brake intelligently is welcoming. There were many times when I'd be braking into a corner and hoping the AI wouldn't slam into my tail. Luckily, they never did. Though they did, at times, have unfair advantages in the Arcade mode, I'm sure SimBin did this to try and wean you off handicaps and get into the tougher modes.

Graphically, GTR is nothing to scoff at. The cars are meticulously detailed and the tracks, while not the most beautiful things, are good enough to not be ugly. However, the backgrounds do look rather stale after a while, even while cruising at 200 kph.

I have to say the peeps at SimBin did a fine job of letting you insta-tune your car by downloading settings from their servers. This is done in the garage and you might or might not be spending time there, depending on how deep you want to take GTR. The car settings are rated by players who have used them, so there's no real need for trial and error when downloading them. In addition, this builds a wonderful sense of community within the game. Almost like going up to a rival racer and carrying on about good races-the nature of the community in GTR is welcome when we have so many unfriendly game forums out there.

If you're not going to play GTR with a wheel (or at least, a decent gamepad) you shouldn't be playing GTR. The keyboard, as with many racers, is just not very user-friendly, the camera angles are not on single keys, but cycle (which is annoying) and the sensitivity of the arrows is too high.

As its greatest fault, however, are the excruciatingly long load times. Load up a race and you'll likely be wondering what to do in your spare time. Nibble your fingers, clean your desk, grab a snack from the kitchen. Supposedly, the load times vary depending on your computer hardware. While my computer isn't top of the line-not any more-I still felt that, for its graphical complexity, the game should have shorter load times, maybe some pretty pictures to look at in the interim.

In the garage you can customize nearly every aspect imaginable of your car. Customize, as in tune. You cannot change the colors and put on decals, but you can adjust the damper, gear ratio and more. Without a doubt, GTR is the deepest and complicated racing simulation out there. This is good in some ways, and, in other ways, bad. For hardcore gamers, this isn't even an issue, but for racing fans who like arcade racing over simulation, I suggest thinking twice before purchasing GTR. GTR is most definitely a hardcore racer's racer. And the Arcade mode, while a nice tool to get you into Semi-Pro and Simulation, doesn't hold up under time and you'll get bored with it sooner than later.

For being the most complicated racing simulation out there, it does run over its own foot now and again. Taking the game online I experienced some average to horrendous lag. If it weren't for the terrible network code the game might have scored an extra star. Still I cannot deny the single player merit GTR has, the depth of customization, the air of breadth that many games lack. While you can adjust the variation of simulation (car damage and tire wear, etc.) having everything on full can cause your car to lose wheels, bust the windows, and even burst into flames if you're not careful.

All the cars are here: Lamborghinis, Vipers, Corvettes, and Saleens, to name a few. And they all look great. Each real-life team's livery has been created true-to-life. And fans of FIA will immediately recognize the teams and their colors.

To conclude, there is nothing that even compares to GTR in the racing simulation. It is, most definitely, the deepest and most realistic racing game out there. Even games like Forza Motorsport for Xbox and Gran Turismo for PS2 bow to it when it comes to realism. And even though Forza has the win in decals and GT in number of vehicles, GTR beats both in realism and depth of play. While my Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo copies are not necessarily getting dusty, GTR will have a place if it's own in my library of racing games. It's not likely to be outdone in the places it shines anytime soon.

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