Not a Review of Gran Turismo 4

This post is more than 2 years old.

I am a big fan of Gran Turismo 3. In the realm of realistic race driving games - it is simply the best you can get. (For non-realistic driving, I highly suggest Burnout 3.) One of the things that always bugged me, however, is the lack of crash damage. You can drive a car straight into a wall, at top speed, and not have a scratch on the fender.

The reason behind this, apparently, is that car manufacturers don't want to see their cars damaged.

So let me get this straight. BMW is seriously worried that someone may drive thier car (virtually of course) into a wall - see the damage - and decide to take their business elsewhere? To... you know... that company that sells cars that never get damaged.

As a friend said - it's like a boxing game where no one gets hurt.

Yeah.... that makes sense. I was up in the air between GT4 and Forza Motorsport - now I'm definitely going for Forza. (Although I will probably get GT for the PSP when it comes out.)

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Ryan Guill posted on 4/11/2005 at 10:26 PM

I got gt4 when it first came out and know where your'e coming from. For a game that is wildly realistic in the driving of the individual cars, the lack of damage really does take a lot of the reality out of it. But I also read and interview with the developers (which I can't find right now) where they talked about why they did not implement damages into the game. They said it was because they were basically using all the ps2's system resources as it was, and they could not afford, resource wise to implement it. They said that even mild damages (ie, you hit a wall your fender falls off completely) is very resource intensive and takes a lot to implement well. And that makes sense, I mean they are already managing hundreds of variables when driving (just look at all the settings) and this would definately add to the load. It would have been nice though, except too, the game is hard enough without it!

Comment 2 by Ray Camden posted on 4/11/2005 at 10:32 PM

I had heard resources were a bit of the reason as well. To me, that isn't an execuse. Or... no, that's wrong. What I mean is, it is a bad excuse. I'd rather the cars be less cool looking since the lack of realism in damage stands out soo much.

If that makes sense. ;)

Comment 3 by Barneyb posted on 4/11/2005 at 11:57 PM

I'll agree that it's a bad excuse, but it's also a very valid reason. The PS2 hardware is friggin' ancient as far as video game hardware goes, and the guys at Polophony have done a fantastic job squeezing every ounce of performance they can get.

Something that you do have to mention is that while there isn't any damage, you do get penalties for driving into walls and stuff. You don't see them until you're a ways into the game (maybe 5-10% game completion), but they're there, and are just as effective at keeping you from running into stuff willy-nilly. Basically the harder you hit, the longer your car is artificially limited to 31 mph. And that suck when you bump the wall coming around a fast bend into a long straight.

Of course, I suspect that licensing really is reason and "hardware resources" just happened to be an available (and plausible) excuse to cite for weaseling out of saying that. Which isn't to detract from a simply amazing game, in any way.

Comment 4 by M. Schopman posted on 4/12/2005 at 12:41 AM

I bought GT4 two weeks ago, and now I am totally addicted. There are only a few negative points like a totally irritating pacecar, the licenses, and the low returnvalue on fully tuned cars (invested 150k in my Aston Martin Vanquish 2004, now with full tuned engine, suspension, soft, medium racing tyres, and I only get 46k in return.. *ugh*)..

Seriously.. buy GT4 , you won't regret it.

Comment 5 by Frank N. Earnest posted on 4/13/2005 at 6:45 AM

There are two reasons why car damage in GT is a bad idea.

It's a racing simulation game, not an arcade game. The point is to not hit the walls. If you making crashing fun like Burnout 3 then people will crash. By not having crash damage you're encouraging people to play it like a simulator. If you were to take your personal car onto a track you'd make sure you're not hitting the walls.

System resources are huge. It's not just a matter of showing a hanging fender on screen, it's about calculating the drag based on the fenders location at that exact moment. Now say the whole front is mashed. You have to calculate the lift by wind under the busted hood, tire wear and steering based on wheel misalignment, etc. Those aren't normal racing conditions.


Comment 6 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/13/2005 at 4:43 PM

Frank: Sim versus game: I don't agree with this. Burnout 3 gives specific bonuses for bad, or crazy, driving. In GT, running into a wall simply stops you - or as I think someone else said here - slows you down for a while. If we were going with the sim argument, a crash into a wall should _end_ the race.

Resources: I agree with you, but again, I think it is a trade off. You can't simulate _everything_, but I think not-simulating damage is a mistake.

Just so it is clear - I'm sure GT4 is awesome. It _looks_ awesome. GT3 is, without a doubt, the best racing sim I've evern seen in my life. Still - I'm going to pick up Forza instead this time.

Comment 7 by Barneyb posted on 4/13/2005 at 10:21 PM

I was actually thinking about "hit to hard, race is over" last night while I was playing. It makes a lot of sense, but it would detract from gameplay enormously. It'd really suck to be doing one of the endurance races, get a little off-kilter an hour and a half in, bump the wall and have to start over. The game's supposed to be fun, and simulation is the means to having fun. Putting the simulation at a higher priority than the fun is a good way to not sell many copies. I think Polophony made a good call with the time penalties for eratic driving. It's a nice balance between the two that encourages you to drive like hitting stuff will kill you, without making it a totally demoralizing event when it does happen.

Comment 8 by Ray Camden posted on 4/13/2005 at 10:41 PM

That's a good point. I still think they could have gotten damage in - and in a way that wouldn't encourage damage. I'll need to put GT4 on my Amazon wish list so I can compare it to Forza. ;)

Comment 9 by johnb posted on 4/13/2005 at 11:27 PM

how's halo2? ;)


Comment 10 by Ray Camden posted on 4/14/2005 at 12:02 AM

Heh, playing it along with Halo2, GTA: SA, KOTOR2, and Mercs. So far - I like it. I didn't think I'd like a shooter on the XBOX, but after I got used to the controls, it began to "groove" on me.

Comment 11 by Frank N. Earnest posted on 4/14/2005 at 1:52 PM

Just to expand on Barneyb. The game is designed for people of all skill levels. And as Barneyb said, if you had the crash/game over rule for all races you'd make a lot of people angry.

But that mode is in the game. Try getting all Golds on the S License and you'll see how good your skills are.


Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/14/2005 at 4:05 PM

I remember those license tests from GT3 - man I hated them. I've heard there are worse in GT4.

Comment 13 by johnb posted on 4/14/2005 at 5:02 PM

but you can import $100,000 credit from GT3 and if you had GT4 prologue you can start at a b-license


Comment 14 by emmet posted on 4/15/2005 at 3:15 AM


Whats your Live Gametag? I'm on halo2 quite a bit. It's the only game that's hectic enough to push all thought out of the brain.

emmet (GameTag: renhack)

Comment 15 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/15/2005 at 3:37 AM

I haven't connected yet. My network is a bit wierd. My office is right above my living room - but I think the walls were a bit think. So I use powerline ethernet to my kitchen - and from there I use wireless. I'd have to get a wireless hookup for my xbox to connect, and I'm not sure it is worth it. I mean, I _definitely_ love multiplayer, it is _definitely_ worth it, but I only play games for a few hours a week since I have 3 kids. I'm just not sure I'd make the monthly charges (after the free trial with Halo2) ends. If that makes sense. :)