Gran Turismo 3 was the first game most of us on saw running on PlayStation 2, thanks to the “GT 2000” demo that appeared alongside PS2 when it launched in Japan in March 2000. A little more than a year later we’d get the final version of GT3, and boy did it ever show off PS2 to the maximum.
Even now, loading up the six-year-old PS2 game is a staggering event. Religious, even. It still has the power to shame the puny efforts being put out by other game-makers today, thanks to its slick looks, impressive speed and vast collection of flash visual effects.
The light bounced off the bodies of the cars like we’d never seen before, the heat haze effects were bewildering, plus the way the game let you see the tracks winding off into the distance was so far beyond what other game-makers could do - it was a joke. Whatever Polyphony Digital was putting into its water was sure as hell working.
The game part of Gran Turismo 3 was, again, not much more than a slight reworking and ignoring of old complaints. You could still use enemy cars as mobile barriers, slamming into them to slow down for corners instead of braking. There were no Ferraris still, and the silly six-car limit in races often meant you’d get a little bored of the occasional event.