GTR 2 is the sequel to last year’s GTR, which was arguably one of the best racing simulations ever been made for the PC. GTR 2 not only measures up to the first game’s standards, but raises the bar for future PC racing games. With better graphics, physics and many other enhancements, GTR 2 improves on an already great racing simulator.
While GTR 2 boasts on the back of the box that it has “more than 140 grand touring cars reproduced down to the finest detail from the GT, NGT and G3 classes,” and “34 variations of real tracks like Spa, Monza and Hockenheim,” in reality there are 25 officially licensed cars, with a wide variety of paint and decals, and about a dozen tracks with different “variations.” What this means is you will race on the same official FIA tracks as in last year’s game, but the layouts change depending upon what circuit you’re racing at that time. Let’s just call it “creative” wording by the marketers. Even so, there are plenty of tracks and cars to keep you racing for a long time.
One new feature is the racing school mode, which challenges new players with tasks such as braking, taking the best line through curves and racing laps against a ghost car. Once you have finished your training, you can choose from three different racing modes: Novice (low realism arcade setting), Semi-Pro (a little more challenging) and Pro (brutally realistic). If you choose to play the professional setting, be prepared for a very challenging experience.
Also, keep in mind that GTR 2 is a gear head’s dream; you could spend days just tweaking and tuning your car to get the best performance out of it. In fact, if it’s a truly hardcore simulation you’re after, GTR 2 is fully compatible with the MoTec telemetry software available for free from the manufacturer’s Web site. Professional racing teams use this software to analyze such things as damper settings, effects of steering sensitivities and tire wear, which means you can see exactly how each adjustment you make to you cars will affect it during a race.
If you want to get the most out of your GTR 2 racing experience (the actual racing part, not the tuning), I suggest playing with a decent steering wheel/pedal setup, or at least with a good controller. I do not recommend trying to play with the keyboard/mouse, because you will spend more time in the grass than on the blacktop.
Last year’s GTR was probably one of the best-looking, if not the best-looking, racing game I’d ever played on PC. Until now. GTR 2 uses a new graphics engine, and the cars are the most detailed vehicles I’ve seen to date. The cockpits in these cars are just as painstakingly detailed as the exteriors, and while driving in the 3D cockpit view you will see full working instrument panels that are true-to-life recreations of the real thing. The tracks are also very detailed and realistic; you can even see the grooves in the turns from the wear and tear of the racing tires. The only drawback to having such spectacular graphics is that you will encounter some choppy frame rates from time to time, and you may have to lower some of the details depending upon your hardware specs.
Another update in GTR2 is the online play, which seems to be much smoother this time around. I played several races with about 15 players and never had any noticeable lag. If you don’t want to spend hours tweaking your car to race online, you have access to tons of pre-made car setups that you can download and try out. Just make sure you prepare to race against some serious tuners.
- Overall: 8.5
- If it’s a hardcore racing simulation you’ve been looking for, then give GTR 2 a spin. You will not be disappointed.