IGN Review of GT Pro Series
On a system that embraces creativity and innovation even more than the DS, Wii makes a statement to the entire industry by providing intriguing gameplay at all costs. Take, for example, a game like Wii Sports. It's a first-party Nintendo product, a pack-in, and it has an amazingly entertaining gameplay mechanic, though it delivers some of the most simplistic visuals we've seen on a home console in years. Even still, the gameplay is entertaining enough to provide a total package that - while leaving more to be desired - is still fun. But how far can we stretch the "It's all about gameplay" philosophy before a focus on innovation turns into pure laziness or a quick cash-in? Well, we've just found the line. GT Pro Series may have decent gameplay, but it comes at a sacrifice that's so bold it manages to block out any potential audience strictly because of its dated look, basic presentation, and overall simplistic approach to this new generation.
Here's the scoop with GT Pro Series if you're late to the party. The title is a simplistic cel-shaded racer from Ubisoft that originally hit Japan on GameCube over three years ago, but never made the move over to good ole' USA. Rather than attempting to push the graphical power of the GCN, GT Cube took the route of a cel-shaded presentation that - while stylistic - was still admittedly weaker than its competitors. In short, GT Cube was all about the gameplay.
Fast forward more than three years to the Wii launch, and a little title by the name of GT Pro Series lands on our doorstep. It's the same game, features the same licensed cars, the same 10 tracks, and the same visuals. In fact, it's the same game down to the most minute detail. The only difference is Wii control support, and a tiny wheel shell that comes packed in for the $49.99 price tag.
Is the package worth the price of admission? To put it bluntly, no. The game offers over 80 real licensed cars, the ability to tweak parts for each of them (both for added visuals and performance), weather and daytime options for each of the tracks, and a flip mode for each course as well. Aside from that, the game is setup around a few basic tournaments, each necessitating a different style of car. Rather than having to purchase the varying vehicles like in Gran Turismo or Need for Speed, however, you simply need to unlock them by completing earlier tournaments. Once a car is unlocked, you're free to use it as much as you'd like.
Moving away from the basic structure, GT Pro Series is like any other racing game out there, as it relies entirely on its core gameplay to validate lasting appeal. The main problem here isn't the use of the Wii controller though, oddly enough, it's instead the fact that after blazing around a few tracks with the new control there's really nothing left to do. Sure you can tweak your cars a bit or play flipped versions of the 10 tracks with varying weather effects added, but it's really going to boil down to tilt control on Wii, and how long you can stomach the amazingly dated visual look and uninspired structure of tournaments and races. As a game that offered an interesting racing alternative during the earlier days of Cube, GT is a simple but validated little time-waster of a racer. As a launch game going up against titles like Excite Truck or even Need for Speed - games with more speed, more style, and more lasting appeal - GT Pro Series shows its age, and will inevitably come up short in the entertainment category.
Where the title actually shines though is in the control, which allows total tweaking of the Wii-mote's dead zone and turning angle to allow any hardcore racing fan to fine-tune their virtual wheel to the perfect sensitivity. After a few times jumping in and out of the options menu (there's no way to test your settings during a race), most players will have found their sweet spot and will be good to go. A perfectly-tuned Wii-mote feels great for competitive racing, but again the lack of overall depth and sense of accomplishment will stop players from spending too much time with GT Pro Series. In fact, while there's literally nothing we'd change about the Wii-mote calibration in the game, we simply want to see it put in a much more mature racer, as it's the accompanying gameplay that really kills GT's appeal. The roster of cars is actually pretty deep, but when it comes to tricking them out, collecting them, and using each car for series-specific races GT Pro just feels too shallow, too cookie-cutter, and entirely lackluster.
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