Reviewed: April 24, 2006
Released: January 23, 2006
It’s here! When I did the review for GTR last summer -- the game that 10Tacle and Simbin made before making GT Legends -- I couldn’t help but mention this upcoming title as well. And now GT Legends is out, and it’s everything you could have hoped it could be.
If you played GTR, you know that the creators of this game, Simbin, have a deal with the FIA to help them make the most realistic game possible. With GT Lengends they have continued that tradition, making a game that is complex and realistic enough to entertain the most knowledgeable of motor heads, but still have customizable difficulty levels that allows even the inexperienced drivers to have a good time.
Whereas in the previous game, you were given free reign to choose whichever car you wanted to drive, this game incorporates a vehicle earning system much like those used in the Gran Turismo games. You start off with two cars in your garage that allow you to take part in the first few cup challenge races, and as you win, you earn points that then allow you to purchase more vehicles and add them to your collection.
Vehicles in this game are from the 60’s and 70’s, including the Mini Cooper, the Shelby Cobra, the ’65 and ’74 Corvettes, and many, many more. If you’re curious as to how these different cars drive and don’t want to wait until you’ve got enough to buy them, there is a “Test Drive” option where you can take these puppies for a spin at no cost.
The five different difficulty levels are excellent stepping stones for the learning curve. A true beginner can start off with no damage, full driving assistance, and slower AI to allow them to learn the basics of racing. But, when you get good enough to use the hardest difficulty, be ready for some of the most intense AI and full damage to the vehicles, including busted headlights, bent axles, and blown transmissions.
For those of you who really enjoy tweaking your car and know a lot about mechanics, you’ll enjoy the garage where you can change everything from how much gas is in the tank for a particular race to the camber of the wheels, to the amount of brake bias you have on each of the brakes.
Once you actually get into the vehicles, you’ll be impressed at the realism. If you use a force-feedback wheel, which I highly recommend to get the full experience with this game, you’ll swear you were driving a real car the way that it reacts. The programmers at Simbin did an excellent job of giving the vehicles each their own weight and driving characteristics.
The graphics are improved since GTR. The races will occur over actual day/night cycles. You may start a race at 7 pm and watch as the sun slowly sets, turning the sky red, then race at night, having to turn on your headlights. Or start a race before sunrise and squint as the sun comes up over the horizon, blinding you as you come around eastward facing turns. The lighting effects are amazing. Expect framerate hits, especially for night driving, on slower computers.
The level of detail to the tracks and vehicles is amazing. If you burn out and leave skid marks during practice, they’ll still be there at the end of the race. Also, your car will get visibly dirty as the race progresses, as well as realistic damage represented on the cars. If you hit someone in with your front end, expect to bust out a headlight. And good luck then, if you’re driving at night!
The vehicle sounds are the icing on the cake for this game. All of the engines are authentic recordings of the actual vehicle that you’re driving. Each engine of each car has its own unique sound. If you play the game long enough, you won’t even have to look in your rearview when a Shelby Cobra is on your butt, ‘cause you’ll recognize its sound.
Also, the sounds of the tires scrubbing on the pavement as you slide through corners adds a great level of feel to the game, allowing you to know, along with the feel of the road through the force-feedback, whether or not your tires are keeping you on the road or if you’re just about to slide uncontrollably off into the dirt.
If what you want is a racing simulation, and not an arcade racing game, look no further. Any game that Simbin produces is going to be a testament to how realistic a game can be, and GT Legends is no exception. You will be able to sit and play this game over and over and always be trying to shave a few seconds off your lap-time at any of the numerous racetracks that come included with the game.
Also, with the online options, you’ll be able to race friends, or even strangers from around the world. And there is never a shortage of player created tracks to add to the already huge list of places to put your collection of classic cars to the test.
Any racing fan who likes old muscle cars, or classic exotics, will drool over the chance to get as close as you may actually ever get to sitting behind the wheel of these beautiful cars.
I highly recommend this game to any race fan, no matter the skill level. The people of Simbin have made another quality product that will stand the test of time due to its attention to detail and passion for the sport of racing.