Gran Turismo may be the golden boy of the racing sim, but while we loved version 4 it didn’t move forward as much as it could’ve. Consequently, the door may be ever so slightly ajar for its nearest rival TOCA.
Number 3 looks set to go all out for the title too given the absolutely stunning graphics that have been released to preview it. The game engine has been completely rebuilt to improve computer AI, enhance the rendering engine and make even better crashes!
Superficial as it may seem, the full car damage modelling TOCA 3 has is probably its biggest weapon over Gran Turismo, which still refuses to even scratch the paintwork of its expensively licensed models. (I know the first thing I will be doing with TOCA is driving my car the wrong way round the track and ploughing head on into the leading racer at 200mph!)
It’s not all sordid motoring mayhem, however, there is serious racing to be had in TOCA via the upgraded Pro Career mode which (depending on your preferences) can include race flags, pit stop refuelling, tyre strategies and over 100 different motor sport championships. There’s also optional practice sessions, car tuning, race lengths and (where championship rules allow) car part upgrades.
Like just about every modern game on the market today, an online element is available allowing for multiple player races and ladder competitions. Competition is varied too with 35 different motor sport disciplines of which the highlights are British GT, Muscle Cars, V8 Supercars, DTM, Monster Trucks, Baja Motocross, Formula Palmer Audi, Historic Grand Prix, Touring Sports Cars, Formula 3 and the BMW Williams F1 Team (if not the full F1 teams themselves).
It’s not quite time to start your engines yet, TOCA 3 is not due until the winter, but if you’re the proud owner of a PS2, Xbox or PC I’ll bet your pulses are already racing (sorry).