Why I think Gran Turismo 2 is the best racing game ever
In 1999, Polyphony Digital launched what became considered one of the best racing games ever sold. Released as a sequence of the Gran Turismo 1 (Which was the bestselling game for Playstation), the game sold a total of 9.37 million copies, making one of the biggest hits for Playstation. Although it sold less than the previous game, Gran Turismo 2 was more complete, offering more cars (around 650), more tracks (with rally stages), more licenses and more championships.
I consider the best racing game first of all because it was simple and complete. Think that in 1999, a game with those capabilities meant a lot. You could racing modify a car, modify its transmission, aerodynamic, braking settings. Gran Turismo 3 and 4 didn
t have many of Gran Turismo 2 resources, like the racing modification. Cars didnt have ESC and TCS as standard, so when you bought yourself a Dodge Viper, it really felt like the beast we became used to. If Gran Turismo evolved this game, instead of creating new stuff like the photo mode, I believe we would have a better Gran Turismo than today.
Here are some of the things I love about the Gran Turismo 2:
Racing Modification was unlocked after installing Weight Reduction Stage 3. It was the most expensive item and it transformed the exterior of the car into a racing spec. The Taurus received the same livery from the NASCAR Taurus. Europeans sedans usually received the BTCC livery.
The menus were simple and the game focused racing, and racing only. There weren’t useless photo or B-Spec modes. The soundtrack was also gave the game a very good atmosphere, the intro had the hit “My Favourite Game” by The Cardigans.
Cars didn’t have ESC and TCS as standard, they were sold as upgrades for cars. This made driving a lot more challenging than the future games. Also, although it had only 5 AI players, they seem to be more challenging than the ones found in future games.
The two player mode was good and simple. You could load the garage of the simulation mode from the inserted memory card, so you would have more options than the cars available from the arcade mode. Also, there was a score after each race, you could gather your friends and make your own championship.
There were lots of cars from the 90’s that never appeared again in a Gran Turismo game. This cars are one of the reasons people still play Gran Turismo 2 and think about the 90’s nostalgia that will come in the next few years.
Images from IGCD, the best source to know which car appear in the games you play…