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GT Pro Series Review

Developer: MTO Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 19, 2006 Also On: None

Launch titles are generally hit or miss, and gamers have seen the praise corralled by Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and a few of the Wii’s other titles. One might start to wonder if there are any misses, but surely enough something comes along and proves that nothing in gaming is perfect. That something is Ubisoft’s GT Pro Series, and it’s a crash, burn, and all of the excruciating pain during and after. Gamers, allow me to introduce the biggest loser of the launch, and possibly the worst launch title in ages. Before explaining the slew of what went wrong, I’ll explain the ONE thing that went right. Ubisoft packaged a plastic steering wheel accessory with GT Pro Series; an accessory that could prove useful in future racing games. Well, that about sums it up.

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Moving on, GT Pro Series is an arcade racer in a sim’s skin. The ridiculously dry and uninspired courses seem to place emphasis on quick turns and drifts rather than careful, calculated entry and exit maneuvers. After forgetting about the plastic wheel accessory and taking note of the core mechanics, it is realized that absolutely nothing is new here. In fact, some classic games like F-Zero have more unique and interesting racing perks. You accelerate, brake and turn. Sometimes you drift. That’s it. I’d insert a Wii pun by saying “Wii!” with the implied sarcasm that would come from saying “whee,” but the Wii doesn’t deserve to be discredited in such a way.

The game treats you to a few equally boring gameplay modes. First, you have the awfully dull Championship Mode that takes you through different tournaments and events. Winning these events yields new cars, parts and events. You don’t purchase anything. You simply win stuff to unlock more stuff. Outside of that, there’s a Quick Race that will likely go untouched and a Versus Mode for anyone with friends willing to play a racing game as terrible as GT Pro Series. Then there’s the Drift Combo Mode, which is the biggest load of gameplay slop I’ve seen in a racing game. Drifting controls are, for the lack of a better term, uncontrollable. Going into turns at high speeds and driving sideways should be fun, not the mess that GT makes it out to be.

There are 80 licensed cars and 10 tracks (20 if you include their mirrored versions) to race them on. Unfortunately, none of the 80 cars control uniquely. In fact, most of them, when put through the tracks and their ridiculously placed turns, will have you wildly spinning your Wii remote around trying to stay on course. Who cares if you’re driving a Mitsubishi Lancer if it steers like a minivan? Speaking of steers, an enraged bull would be as controllable as GT Pro Series often is. I’ve actually turned the opposite direction that I was motioning in my hands. I’ve even driven through corners and stuck to walls. What’s with the physics? Oftentimes there is no repercussion whatsoever for banging into the CPU racers that otherwise drive in a set, unchanging line. Tuning your cars fails to do anything interesting or unique, though I was curious as to why GT Pro Series lets you change the type of seats in your car when you can’t ever see them through the car windows, which are tinted by default. The point is, I don’t care how many cars are in your video game if the game itself is a boring one that is unimpressive in every other possible way. I’d rather look at a harmless picture of a Toyota Celica than virtually steer one into walls and get stuck on them.

Unbeknownst to me until doing some research, GT Pro Series was actually a racing game that came out in the middle of the GameCube’s life on Nintendo’s last-generation console. It shows through its technical factors, especially when you take a look at the visuals. Cel-shading is great and all, but GT Pro Series does it so effortlessly that it seems to be a cheap, easy exit out of making detailed physics and to-the-last-detail car models. There are virtually no special effects to be found, spare the SNES-quality dust and particles that come up when you drive through grass (it’ll happen a lot) or drift through a turn. The track designs are as unique, original, and interesting as a bleach-blonde sorority girl wearing tan Ugg boots and thin, black sweat pants listening to “Fergalicious” on a pink iPod. At least the names aren’t deceptive. “Downtown Street” takes you through a blocky, grey urban area. Imagine that. Don’t even get me started on the music that could have been created by turkeys pecking furiously on an electronic keyboard. Still, the worst of all production values are the sound effects. Probably the only thing that doesn’t make one’s ears bleed is the sound of the Wii’s Home Button being pressed to remove this game from your television screen. Really, if under some catastrophic circumstance you absolutely have to play this video game, do it on mute.

No quality keeps GT Pro Series from the lowest dismal status I’ve seen in a long, long time. The plastic wheel is a nice peripheral but the circular plastic apparatus that comes with it is as worthless as the thin plastic that you remove to open the plastic game case. If you’ve got money laying around and contemplated picking up this smoking pile of rubble, I’d more than urge you to look at something else; for example, I mentioned F-Zero earlier. Download it for a tenth the price of GT Pro Series on the Virtual Console. To end this tea-bagging of Ubisoft’s awful racing game, if this is the way that Wii racers will fare in the future, I hope that developers abandon the racing genre and Nintendo keeps their Mario Kart franchise on the DS.

Graphics: 3
Sound: 0.5
Gameplay: 3.5
Creativity: 2
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 3
Written by Cliff Review Guide