Our very own @matt has been raving about this game’s merits for a while now, and I finally picked up a copy this month. And it’s certainly been interesting enough to warrant a thread, especially when you consider the reception the game received at launch.
GTI Club: Supermini Festa (World Race in Japan) a home port of Konami’s 2008 GTI Club arcade game of the same name, co-developed by Genki and complementing Konami and Sumo Digital’s earlier reboot of the original GTI Club on PS3 at the other end of the spectrum to the series.
Simply put, you drive small but maneuverable high performance ‘GTI’ cars around manic, dense city streets. There are five cities from France, Italy, the UK, Japan and North America, and there’s traffic to contend with as well. The handling is deliciously malleable in the sense that you really can steer these cars around with a satisfying sway, allowing you to weave in and out of traffic or drift into a side road at the last possible moment - useful for a game that tests your reactions so thoroughly.
There are also minigames which suit this handling model to a tee - stuff like car football and the equivalent of hot potato. These are dull on easier difficulties but quickly ramp in intensity on Intermediate and Expert.
And that’s the rule for the game in general though - true to its arcade roots, harder difficulties aren’t just a matter of racing against smarter (or cheatier) AI opponents, but they up the complexity of all the cities in terms of the routes you race through, while also increasing the amount of traffic on the roads. This game very well clings on to the old idea of arcade racers where less is more.
Honestly, I’m puzzled how this game ended up with a 46 on metacritic - the main criticisms from a crude overview of reviews seem to be it’s either is a minigame collection, which is plain false, or that it’s too easy and basic, with the best content requiring playing through the easy difficulties.
The last point is very well true - the designers foolishly lock everything but Beginner difficulty, even in Arcade Mode, behind Quest Mode progression. But it only took me an hour to play through Beginner in Quest Mode to unlock Intermediate and Advanced difficulties in Arcade Mode, and the game uses a medal ranking system such that even if you can handily beat the AI in beginner difficulty, you’re not guaranteed a Gold rank, let alone Platinum, unless you turn in a near-flawless experience. The progression system doesn’t drag the game down as much as it does in other games…
…which brings me to my other point: I’m disappointed that racing games of the period, like Ridge Racer 6, Pure, and Burnout Revenge, which also featured grindy and arguably more boring campaigns to play through before you get to the challenging and good races, got a free pass, while this game did not.
I regret not picking this one up sooner, really, especially as it had online multiplayer which has now been shuttered, and would have become inactive by now anyway.
Did anyone else give this one a shot?