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Gran Turismo 4

Developer: Polyphony Digital Publisher: SCE
28 December 2004
Gran Turismo 4 - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.03 / 5.0
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584 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#172 All-time
#15 for 2004
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2004 Polyphony Digital SCE  
DVD
JP 4 948872 170017 SCPS-17001
2005 Polyphony Digital SCE  
DVD
AU NZ 7 11719 65611 1 SCES-51719
2005 Polyphony Digital SCE  
DVD
XNA 7 11719 73282 2 SCUS-97328
Show all 5 releases
2005 Polyphony Digital SCE  
DVD
ES SCES 51719
Gran Turismo 4 Platinum
DVD
CZ SK PL HU 7 11719 69056 6 SCES-51719/P
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Title
The turning point for the series, from "simcade" to full-on simulator.
It's difficult to rate Gran Turismo 4 relative to the games before it, as this game started a new era for the series. For the first three entries, Polyphony had a fantastic formula that embraced both arcade and simulator racing and offered the best of both worlds. With GT4, most of the arcade-like elements of GT3 were removed in favour of realism. I feel that this was a blessing and a curse, for reasons I'll get into.

GT Mode is much easier and more forgiving this time around. While there's more licence tests, they give prize cars even for bronze, making it pretty much impossible to get stuck. One thing I dislike about the licence tests, however, is that assists are often enabled and can't be turned off. This is especially annoying in some of the full-lap runs where you're driving a 100hp FF that can't accelerate out of corners due to ASM and TCS.

The used car lots return, and unlike GT2 where the used cars were much better value, a new car will almost always have superior performance. A car's engine and body rigidity wears out after 800km, and since most used cars have huge mileages, you're not seeing your car's full potential unless you pay 50,000 for a rigidity refresh. GT3 already experimented with engine wear, and Polyphony decided to double down on it in this game, for better or worse.

The game's progression plays out very similarly to GT2. If you know what you're doing, you can get a very strong start and earn enough credits to buy your second car after just a few races. My preferred start is to buy the Suzuki Cappuccino and use it to win the Suzuki K-Car manufacturer event for 15,000 credits and a Swift concept car after only 3 races. If you want to get straight into it, you can also buy a Lancer Evo as your first car and use it as a tuning platform.

With all assists disabled, I feel like rear-wheel drives handle much better in this game compared to GT3. Tyres seem to grip more, and this works in the favour of FR's that used to experience heavy wheelspin and power oversteer. However, FF's and 4WD's were nerfed considerably; many FF's can't be powered up past 250hp or they'll become uncontrollable without proper throttle control. This gives wheel users a pretty big advantage over those playing on pad.

Some great track additions to this game, especially Nurburgring. Even though it's always a 7-8 minute trek per lap, I'm always glad to see it appear in an event. Infineon and Twin Ring Motegi turned out to be fun additions also. Polyphony thankfully learned their lesson that people don't like driving a Vitz for 10 laps around Test Track, so no boring top speed tests in most of the events.

Just like GT2, the prize cars are ridiculously unbalanced. The chief example of this is the RSC Rally Raid car, won after a very easy race in the Special Conditions hall that only requires an A licence. Not only does this 400hp behemoth destroy the early rally events, it can also be sold for 265k credits, and you can repeat the event to win more RSC's. There's many examples of this across GT Mode, especially in the Special Conditions events and some of the manufacturer events. Given how tight GT3's balancing was, I question how much playtesting went into some of these events.

On the topic of rally, the dirt physics were completely changed compared to GT3, and snow rallies were introduced. Cars now grip much less than they used to, and you'll often exit corners way too wide and hit off walls constantly. This is a problem due to the addition of penalties for colliding with walls and AI drivers. I feel like this mechanic was very poorly thought-out, especially on single-lane tracks like Grand Canyon and Ice Arena. It costs the AI nothing to overtake you, but you risk a 5 second penalty every time you attempt an overtake. Oftentimes, if you're not in the lead by the end of the first lap, you've already lost the race. This makes the rally races the most unfun events in the game in my opinion.

GT4 saw the introduction of B-spec, where an AI driver races for you in your place. Honestly, I'm not sure how to feel about it. If you set the pace to 4 and enable overtaking, the AI will generally drive competently enough to win the race without any further input, as long as the car is strong enough. Personally I feel it's a bit of a crutch, and I always feel guilty for going B-spec when I feel too lazy to finish an event or championship by myself.

The game establishes the concept of A-spec points, but doesn't do anything to reward the player for accumulating them. Basically, the game checks your car's power, weight and tyres against the rest of the line-up and calculates the A-spec points you'll earn if you win the race. It's an interesting idea, but it's broken and ultimately quite meaningless. The Dodge Ram breaks the game's algorithm due to its huge weight, and you'll always earn 200 A-spec points with it regardless of its power.

While there's still no racing modifications like in GT2, the game gives you the option to add a rear spoiler to your car. These often look quite ugly, but they serve the same purpose as racing modifications: adjustable downforce. Considering you can buy a spoiler for just 1,200 credits, it's one of the best value-for-money upgrades in the game. You just need to remember to increase the downforce to 30 / 30 before starting a race.

The driving missions are a neat addition, though their difficulty varies. The One Lap Magic missions are intense and rewarding, though the long wait at the start is a bit of a killer. NTSC players were blessed with a more difficult Mission 34, the SLR McLaren at Nurburgring. My condolences.

Moving on from gameplay features, it's time to talk about the game's aesthetics. I'm kind of torn on this; there is much more of a 60's vintage lounge vibe, which is interesting in concept but the game feels...soulless compared to GT3. The softer music and sound design feels very dry, giving the feeling that you're walking around a vintage showroom. Which, of course, is the vibe that this game is trying to capture with its 'Legendary Cars' sections and whatnot. I don't know, I feel like GT3's style was much more exciting, even if it wasn't as timeless as GT4.

This soullessness applies to the track designs as well. Gone are the bloomy sunsets and mood atmospheres of GT3's Laguna Seca, Deep Forest and Grand Valley, in favour of overcast skyboxes and hyper-realistic track layouts. Twin Ring Motegi does capture a nice sunset vibe, but I would have liked to have seen more. Again, one can say that GT4 has aged better due to its realistic approach, but I feel that GT3 had much more of an identity.

One big change from GT3 is the save system, as the game now autosaves constantly, even when you disable it. I assume this was done to prevent people from exploiting trading like you could in GT3. I feel like this was a huge mistake; look at the amount of people online who suffered from corrupted game saves and deleted garages due to how this was implemented. My advice: disable autosaving, make back-ups if possible, and be very careful with managing your save files.

Despite my grievances with the rally events and various other things, I can't really deny that this is a well-crafted driving simulator, especially for its time. I sunk many hours into this as a kid, and continue to do so to this day. Personally though, I feel like GT2 and GT3, despite having their own issues. did a much better job at being fun video games. Whether you prefer GT4 over the rest of the series will depend on whether you prioritize style over realism.
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TeaKanji 2022-09-20T16:27:47Z
2022-09-20T16:27:47Z
4.5
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Title
My 25 Favorite Games I Played Before Turning 25, #6
As far as the capabilities of the PS2 go, Gran Turismo 4 pulls off some impressive technical wizardry. Even accounting for all the dupes, the car list is massive, and the track selection is no less impressive. In addition to the classics of the series, such as Trial Mountain and High Speed Ring, Gran Turismo gets some impressive real-life pulls for the series. A detailed Monaco GP is featured in here alongside the Nurburgring Nordschleife, Le Mans, and Suzuka. The selection doesn't stop there, as Gran Turismo 4 introduces a handful of new, memorable circuits like a rally near the edge of the Grand Canyon, and city circuits that travel through France, Hong Kong, and New York. Even by current day standards, this level of variety is impressive. Sure, the list of cars might be inflated with casual Hondas, Nissans, and Toyotas, though it doesn't take away from the selection of concept cars and other oddities. Some standouts include the Ford Model T, Jay Leno's Tank Car, the Nike One concept car (which was designed with the year 2022 in mind!), as well as various niche kei cars and LM monsters.

Where do you begin with a game with so many different events, anyways? Same place as any other Gran Turismo game: the god damn license tests. I always felt like this was a bad way to introduce the player to every GT game, seeing as getting the gold medals are typically more difficult than everything else in the game. Not only that, but GT4 goes overkill with the amount of license tests. If you thought the 60 tests from GT2 was bad, GT4 has 80 of these bastards! That's not including the 'coffee breaks' or the 34 Driving Missions, either. If you're looking to 100% all of GT4, you will have to put yourself through some serious nonsense, and a lot of it, too. You don't actually need to get all gold medals on the licenses to beat the game, though I'd recommend going for silvers to get that Mazda Kusabi.

After that, the next destination would be the Sunday Cup, where you take whatever car you want while racing against some easy opponents on short tracks. After doing a few easy events, the game starts to open itself up. Events are splattered everywhere. On the main screen, you can easily find the events categorized by nationality, difficulty, and the extra rally events. But when you look in the car manufacture pages, you'll find even more events hiding! The Daihatsu page even has two events! And every single event gives you a prize car if you get 1st place. Because of this, Gran Turismo 4 makes it far easier to farm prize cars to progress instead of trying to save up money to buy cars.

With all this content comes its limitations. You can't change the color of a car after you bought it, cars have no cosmetic damage, the opponents have practically no AI, no cockpit view exists, and so on. None of these problems are game ruining, though GT4 comes with its own questionable design decisions. Gimmicky cars are typically banned from most events, meaning you can only drive them on a track by yourself. Most of the vehicles you can acquire are either locked behind prize car requirements or are buried in the used car dealerships. Many cars can't be taken on rally courses since they can't equip dirt/snow tires. Some problems even exist during some of the license tests. The player will have to deal with following the now infamous Sklyline pace car around a track, where bumping or passing the vehicle causes an immediate fail. This reliance on the brainless AI makes for a frustrating experience, especially when going for gold medals.

And then comes the insane requirements of late game events and challenges. Seeing as this is the first Gran Turismo game to include the Nurburgring and Le Mans, you can expect to be racing on these tracks quite a bit. Most of the game's hardest challenges involve either setting a speedy time on these two tracks, or racing on these tracks for a long time. One of the most intimidating events is the Formula GT World Championship, but to even unlock the F1 car to participate, the player must win the Nurburgring 24 hour endurance event. In case you weren't already aware, this race does take 24 hours to complete in real time. Even worse, this is just one of three 24 hour events, with the other two taking place on Le Mans. Unfortunately, GT4 has no day/night cycle, making this task a hell of a lot to ask for considering how stagnant it becomes. This puts a lot of faith in the hardware as well, since the race progress can't be saved! If your PS2 crashes or freezes, you need to start it over from the beginning. For those not looking to dedicate all the time and effort, you can set the game to b-spec mode and have it auto-pilot the race on fast forward, making the F1 unlock more reasonable, though it still means you have to leave your PS2 on for an entire 8 hours hoping that nothing goes right. Then when you finally get to the Formula GT World Championship, you're presented with a 15 race series with some brutal race requirements. 78 laps of Monaco? 62 laps of Grand Valley? Once again, these lap counts aim for realism, but I can assure you that F1 cars will not be racing around the Nordschliefe anytime soon.

Gran Turismo 6 is far more slimmed down for pure time-trial bliss, but Gran Turismo 4 has the better tracks. And a drag strip! The original Gran Turismo tracks such as Trial Mountain and Deep Forest are perfectly designed for testing cars. But I also like throwing cars around the tight turns of Monaco and ESPECIALLY the city tracks like Seattle. And the teeny little weird tracks like Citti di Aria and Motorland. Seriously, this is most of the reason why GT4 ranks so highly for me.

The US soundtrack has many strange inclusions like James Brown and The Roots alongside Papa Roach and Van Halen. The actual Isamu Ohira foundation of the game's menu music is just as strong here as it was with Gran Turismo 3, and it matches the deceptively clean white color scheme of the game. Which is to say, this game is not clean. It is an overstuffed, questionably organized mess of a simulator that completely goes against the precision and repetition that comes with doing laps upon laps of the same tracks over and over again. Your brain will be able to learn the tangled systems of Gran Turismo 4 regardless, because it's not as if the design is anti-user. Everything about it feels so bizarre and stupidly unreasonable because the series has proven that this is the winning formula time and time again. Gran Turismo 4 wanted to push the game's identity to its absolute limits, completely overloading it with content and challenges beyond the average consumer's comprehension. Even hardcore racing game enthusiasts will see the ideas presented throughout Gran Turismo 4, and have no choice but to feel baffled. Because ultimately, the most baffling aspect is how none of the ideas are intrinsically bad. Sure, the challenges are overly difficult, and the races become insanely long, but isn't this what the hardcore GT fans wanted? Polyphony sure as hell wanted to find out. They made sure that no matter what angle you come at GT4 with, you're going to find something interesting about it. I have a lot of respect for it.
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capeseverywhere 2021-05-08T06:32:59Z
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Catalog

blockhead1110 Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-21T19:31:11Z
2024-05-21T19:31:11Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
spacetrucker Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-18T04:41:14Z
2024-05-18T04:41:14Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Loveless01 Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-13T10:21:49Z
2024-05-13T10:21:49Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sathington_willoughby Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-12T20:40:00Z
2024-05-12T20:40:00Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MirM Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-06T20:50:44Z
2024-05-06T20:50:44Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
vieleiv Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-04T15:42:51Z
2024-05-04T15:42:51Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Integrus Gran Turismo 4 2024-05-01T22:36:44Z
2024-05-01T22:36:44Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
OolDSnake Gran Turismo 4 2024-04-30T21:50:02Z
2024-04-30T21:50:02Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ps2 classic
kenbenlen Gran Turismo 4 2024-04-30T14:59:44Z
2024-04-30T14:59:44Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
basementdweller94 Gran Turismo 4 2024-04-30T04:28:00Z
PS2 • XNA
2024-04-30T04:28:00Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
FirstMate Gran Turismo 4 2024-04-23T05:48:30Z
2024-04-23T05:48:30Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BlueCrimson Gran Turismo 4 2024-04-15T07:31:41Z
2024-04-15T07:31:41Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: All Ages
Player modes
1-6 players
Media
1x DVD
Multiplayer options
LAN, Local
Franchises
Also known as
  • グランツーリスモ4
  • View all [1] Hide

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  • Previous comments (15) Loading...
  • I0000days 2023-10-20 11:45:40.869066+00
    I don't get it, this is like GT3 but downgraded.
    reply
    • luna128 2024-01-19 21:05:07.517932+00
      craziest take on this entire website
    • Lutrick 2024-03-23 07:48:55.337924+00
      Are you stupid?
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • ThePsuedo 2023-11-17 20:42:57.165335+00
    The atmosphere and vibe of this feels cosy
    reply
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  • vmu 2023-11-29 21:11:00.87035+00
    this was the first gam ei ever played and it still rrules
    reply
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  • brewkirk 2024-01-09 00:04:09.040298+00
    Tried this for the first time over the holidays as a long-time forza player and holy shit this is immaculate. I'm downright obsessed
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Threntall 2024-02-22 12:42:51.56769+00
    im not a fan of simracers, but its incredible what they managed to pull off with this title
    reply
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  • bobwilson 2024-03-10 19:45:16.099293+00
    tried playing this recently holy rubberbanding
    reply
    • bobwilson 2024-03-10 19:46:34.876617+00
      im just beating everything with overpowered cars like im 12 again just not fun going in with a tuned vehicle
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Adamjohnson 2024-04-09 16:52:33.167753+00
    I wish GT7 made you grind like this
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Adamjohnson 2024-04-09 16:53:32.448735+00
    At the start of the game it takes like 3-4 race wins just to get a suspension upgrade
    reply
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