Gran Turismo 4
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game provides players with more cars, more race courses, and more high-speed fun than earlier versions, though gameplay is only slightly different from its predecessor. While the game is a good alternative to Need for Speed Underground games, parents may be concerned about advertising in the game, and the speeds at which cars travel around the racetracks.
What's it about?
GRAN TURISMO 4 offers racing fans an authentic gaming experience that features more than 650 automobiles representing more than 80 manufacturers, along with 50 diverse racetracks. There are two main game modes: arcade and Gran Turismo. Arcade mode is ideal for beginners and younger players because they don't need to have mastered the game's intricate control system. Gran Turismo mode is accessed by earning points in arcade mode to unlock more challenging courses.
In Gran Turismo mode, tires slide more easily off of the course, cars move faster, and just keeping the car on the track requires good hand-eye coordination. The most noticeable difference from earlier games: pop-up visual guides that help you control momentum and turns along the racecourse. As with previous versions, players earn points for performance that can be used to purchase vehicle upgrades. New upgrades in this edition include nitrous oxide, bigger engines, tires, braking systems, and heavy-duty suspension packages.
Is it any good?
You can feel comfortable purchasing Gran Turismo 4 for just about any member of your family. It's a more family-friendly alternative to the Need for Speed Underground series. Players younger than 6 can give the game a test ride, but probably will be frustrated because keeping the car on the track takes hand-eye coordination and quick thinking.
Commercialism and reckless driving are the downsides of the game. Logos from top car manufacturers are visible everywhere. Also, because cars consistently crack the 100 mph threshold while speeding around sharp corners, a discussion about safe driving is highly recommended.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about marketing. All of the cars have logos from top automakers prominently displayed. Ask kids: How did you decide which car to drive? Which brands did you notice while you were playing? Why do you think these ads are in the game? What do they do to your opinions of the brands? This might lead to a broader discussion of advertising and the desire for labels. Also, a discussion about safe driving practices is a good idea (especially for kids around the 16-year mark).