I can summarize this review with three statements
If you own the Logitech Driving Force Pro, buy Enthusia
If you own a GT Force / Formula Force GP, read this article.
If you play driving games with a gamepad, skip this game.
Any time a new driving simulator hits the gaming market, the first question to be asked if itís a Gran Turismo killer. To date, no one has been able to beat Polyphony Digital at their game. Forza Motorsport, ďwith the power of the Xbox,Ē has come close but without a force feedback steering wheel, Forza can never transcend into being more than just a game.
Today, weíll be looking at the newest Gran Turismo challenger: Enthusia Professional Racing from Konami. Thereís a lot going in Konamiís favor. Theyíre one of the only development studios with the technical know-how and track record of producing games with flagship graphics for the PS2. After all, it was Metal Gear Solid 2 that started the PS2 hype train. Likewise, the very first released videos from Enthusia were vehicle dynamics comparisons showing how close the in-game physics matched real-life footage. According to Konami, Enthusiaís goal was to reward the driver and not the machine. Winning races would reflect driving talent rather than super-turned vehicles.
In a traditional game review, Iíd take some time talking about the various game modes. In fact, several pages could be dedicated to the single-player mode in Enthusia, titled ďEnthusia LifeĒ alone. Itís unquestionably complex and overly so. Only certain races are available each week, and thereís an odds system in which drivers are rewarded for winning more difficult races. Unlocking new cars involves racing against them, winning, and then getting lucky in a raffle. Sometimes youíll come in first place, but be unlucky in the raffle and end up with no prize car at all!
Iím not going to go over these details.
See, thatís not the point. No one should ever buy Enthusia over GT4, and so the only reason to buy Enthusia is if it can do something better than GT4 and this means physics.
But Iíll summarize the other parts of the game in this paragraph: Graphics are on-par with GT3. Enthusia has better geometry in the track but less sophisticated lighting. If it werenít for the aliasing, it would actually hold its own against GT4 on a standard definition TV, but clearly the reference standard is GT4 in HD. Itís possible that the poorer graphics quality was needed to allow more CPU time for the physics. Iíll summarize audio by saying itís a little worse than GT3, with acceptable engine sounds but poor road and wind noise and that the music feels like 80ís vintage Konami music.
How we tested
As we have done with every Gran Turismo review, we only test using force feedback steering wheels. This is distinctly different from other reviews you may read in the traditional gaming press in which the gamepad is used. We used the 900-degree Logitech Driving Force Pro and the standard GT Force Pro/Formula Force GP in our tests.