Eurogamer Expo 2008 Hands On: GTi Club+
We love to grade games based on their storytelling, convincing visuals and creative use of sound. So what if I was to tell you my favourite game at the Eurogamer Expo 2008 had none of these? There was no opening cinematic of a young boy shoved into his father’s spotlight after an untimely death, struggling to cope with the weight of expectation as well as exacting revenge for his loss; I didn’t find any mention of realistic weather effects, car modifications or technical details. GTi Club+ is a simple, pick-up ‘n’ play racer.
The idea is to navigate through twisty courses with shortcuts hidden away to take advantage of. Each track has pedestrian traffic filling the roads creating obstacles and ensures that the action is kept tense and chaotic. The cars on offer during my playthrough were all licensed hatchbacks; Golf, Lancia and Mini, and their small size allows you to nip through gaps in traffic and weasel your way through rush hour. There didn’t seem to be indication of the performance of each car, and whilst each handles more or less the same, I found the Golf to be the speedier of the vehicles on offer.
The straightforward style of play is reflected on the environments in that all are indestructable. Jumping off a blind summit and into the sign belonging to a petrol station yields no explosions or flying debris, only the loss of speed. Traffic isn’t there to be bumped off the road, each vehicle has to be navigated around. Curbs cannot be mounted and as such no pedestrians can be sent scattering through untimely crashes. Whilst at first the invisible wall feature may feel cheap and detrimental, it’s somewhat humbling that the makers of GTi Club+ stuck to their principles and didn’t ‘borrow’ from other titles in the genre. Knowing that obstacles can’t be smashed through adds further danger to straying wide after sliding around a corner, lending the gameplay more tense moments.
Many folks claim that the PlayStation 3 needs triple A titles to really get going next year and play catch up with the competition. Whilst the majority of this is true, it’s good to see titles planned (hopefully at a budget price) that can offer fun by leaping into the action rather than having to work for three hours before reaping any sort of reward. GTi Club+ fits that bill perfectly.