Grand Prix 4
Genre Sport -> Racing
Today's Rank 0
Date 2002-10-16
Publisher Atari
Date 2002-06-21
Publisher Atari
North America Retail Box ArtUnited Kingdom Retail Box ArtIn the world of F1 racing games, Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix series has long been the benchmark by which other games are measured. Grand Prix 4 is an evolution, rather than revolution of the series, but still has plenty to offer. If you are unfamiliar to the phenomenon of the Grand Prix series, then you are in for a treat. This simulation provides all you could hope for as an F1 fan, with a game engine legendary for combining a realistic driving experience with an enjoyable and accessible game. The most notable addition to the series since GP3 has been an overhaul of the graphics, which are truly sumptuous, but also incredibly demanding. The game will run on a PII 400 Mhz with options turned down, but even on a PIII 800 MHz, with a GeForce 3 graphics card it limped along at 8fps with all the settings on. However, once you have struck a balance between frame rates and graphic detail, you are in for a racing treat. The cars drive superbly and all the tracks have been mapped using GPS data for supreme accuracy. The pit crews are now fully 3-D modelled and the opposition cars are smart, looking to block your overtaking moves, without risking accidents. All this takes place in a world where dynamic weather conditions are in place, so you can find yourself having to stop half way through a race and switch from dry to wet tyres, in order to compete. The in-game menus have also been radically improved. There are still some flaws, which regulars of the series will be disappointed to find haven't been addressed. No safety cars, no proper stop/go penalties, no restarts and opposition cars making poor use of qualifying windows. The season data is also still a year out, with 2001 drivers and cars included in the game. This is compounded by the likes of EA's F1 2002 having made great strides forward and now being a worthy rival to the king of racing sims. Grand Prix 4 hasn't made enough advances for GP3 owners to find this an obvious upgrade, especially those who already opted for the GP3 2000 add-on. However, if your PC has the power, it is worth it for the updated graphics, which give you an absolutely stunning ride around the streets of Monaco. If you are new to the F1 racing genre, then a copy of Grand Prix 4 plus a copy of EA's F1 2002, will provide ultimate satisfaction. If you're budget will only stretch to one of these titles, it's now a very close call. --Jason Weston
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