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Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly realistic..., 26 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix 4 (PC CD) (Video Game)
To start with, Grand Prix 4 has undoubtedly some of the best graphics I've ever seen in a driving game. The cars are all modelled with a high level of accuracy, and the racetracks are all exactly as they would be in real life. All the drivers, teams and tracks from 2001 are included, and the pit crews will actually change the wheels, unlike in some games. You can also adapt the difficulty of driving by enablling or disabling nine different driver aids, from automatic brakes to launch control, meaning even a rookie can finish a race.
NOW THE BAD NEWS!
This game is seriously bug-ridden. I have a high-spec computer (Athlon XP 1700, 512MB RAM, NVidia GeForce 3 128MB, 60Gb Hard Drive), and yet GP4 constantly crashes to desktop for absolutely no reason. It gets extremely annoying, especially when you're one lap from the end of a race, only for you to be staring at your desktop again.
Also, for some utterly bizarre reason Geoff Crammond made all the default setups with SEVERE understeer. If you disable steering help completely in the Controls section, you will not make any of the corners. This means that you will NEVER get as quick a lap time as the other cars. If you alter the setup to try and counter the understeer, you will invariably spin off. I have tried and tried, but it is almost impossible to get a truly neutral setup.
The pit stops can become strange as well: if you lose a nose cone, for example, when they change the nose you will gain a brand new nose on your car, only for that to be removed and ANOTHER one stuck on instead! There has also been the odd case where the suspension is being repaired (a bit unrealistic there!) and they don't put another wheel on. This is rare, but very strange nonetheless.
Damage is also slightly worrying in terms of realism. If you get a puncture, your car immediately slows down and stops, without any visible damage to the tyre, and as mentioned above you can lose a whole wheel, suspension and all, and still get another one stuck on in the pits. Then there's the retiring itself: you cannot withdraw from races at all, even if you're in last with no hope of finishing, and when you pull off the track, your driver cannot get out of the car, even when the engine is billowing smoke and flame! If they are making a Grand Prix 5, they really need to address these problems, as they are rather obscure.
Finally, the penalty system employed is laughable. If you cut a corner, you are given an immediate black flag (which in real life means disqualification!) and you slow down to about 70mph. If there is a huge accident, there are no safety cars, and I have NEVER seen a red flag used, even with the largest of accidents. There are also no drive-through or stop-and-go penalties, which prove that despite FIA approval, the GP4 team do not understand the penalty system at all.
All in all, this is a pretty unrealistic game, and despite numerous advances in graphics and motion-capture, I was disappointed when I played this. If you are a serious GP fan, you will still buy it, but for the rest of us, it may be a good idea to consider other games.
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