The waiting is over, GT4, the long awaited sequel to GT3, and easily the most realistic driving simulator on the market is now available. I got my copy, along with Logitec's Driving Force Pro 900 degree steering wheel, at BestBuy for $200 and got a $20 gift card for my trouble.
I noted improvments in many areas. More cars and tracks of course, but the vehicle dynamics are better as well. Carry too much speed into corners and your car will understeer predictably and the feedback throught the wheel captures the "softness" caused by understeer very well.
I started buy driving an E46 BMW M3 around Laguna Seca - something I have done for real many times. I was astounded by the improved force-feedback function. After getting into the wall in 6 and again exiting the corkscrew I finally got a solid lap - 1:42. Nice. Then I discovered that they added another of my favorite tracka - Sears Point (now called Infinion Raceway). I took the M3 there and found it very realistic compared to the real thing. Turn 10 - a 100+ MPH epic in real life, is much less scary in the game.
The Logitech Driving Force Pro steering wheel is a wonder. A bit smaller than the previous version, the whell is rubber covered and a pleasure to use. The new shifter has a positive clic with each shift, a significant improvment over the previous Driving Force wheel. I wish they has added the same click to the "Paddle Shifters" they provide little or no direct feedback.
The force feedback is much more sophisticated then GT3. It's less noticable, but always there. I quite like how the steering goes soft when the car begins to slide - just like the real thing. The feedback is nothing like the original force-feedback game, Pole-Position, where the wheel basicly shook violently when you left the racing surface. It is much more subtle now, it just pushes back against input nicely, shakes a bit over alligator teeth, and and feels as real as any simulator I have ever driven.
I raced in the Sunday Cup and the 4WD challenge Beginner racinf series and found the behavior of the other cars are completly different in GT4. They seem to have personalities, some will give you room at the apex, others wont. In the Sunday Cup a dark green Audi A6 could always be counted on to whack me at the worst possible time, but a white WRX would always leave a bit of room when necessary. Same in the 4WD cup - a black WRX whould hit every other car on the track to prevent them from passing. Sadly an all too common occurance in real racing too.
I four hours last night I completed the first licence test, and won both the Sunday Cup and 4wd Challenge racing series. A couple of quick car sales and I am back in my favorite car a Nissan Skyline R34. In addition to a number on new car options, GT4 now offer two different used car lots and inventory changes regularly so be sure to get there early....
If you want the best driving simulator you can find - look no further than GT4 and the Logitech Driving Force Pro steering wheel.
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