Konami unveils new details about Enthusia
Konami's GT4-killer is becoming more and more promising.

- Konami today unveiled new details about their upcoming realistic racer, produced by Manabu Akita, who worked on other racing games (first of all, the popular Ridge Racer) and was a contributor to the Le Mans-winning Team Goh racing team. The key gameplay elements announced today confirm that Konami plans to make of Enthusia Professional Racing one of the richest games scheduled for a 2005 release.

The game, announced in the first quarter of features photorealistic graphics, hundreds of car models from 40 different manufacturers, and an accurate physics model.

New features announced today :

  • Realistic controls: Enthusia Professional Racing utilizes a number of key advances, including a non-linear throttle to give the player total control over acceleration and deceleration, while the PlayStation 2's controller is also used to effect a side brake and clutch.

    The side brake has been implemented via the R1 button to allow for easy drifting around corners, while the clutch is used by pressing the L1 button. As such, the clutch can be used to create different drift styles, and increase the revs of the car. Players, can, however, opt for an automatic clutch system when changing gear.

  • Key changes to the Virtual Gravity System: One of the vital elements of Enthusia Professional Racing's realism is Akita's 'Virtual Gravity System.' An on-screen guide that allows the player to determine where the car is feeling the most pressure and turn accordingly to keep up their speed, the VGS icon was originally an arrowed icon. This has now been changed to a ball that moves from a central position to show the direction and strength of the G-force and allows for more precision on the player's part (new version pictured).

    The system has also been altered to show the stresses on the car's tires. Initially, the VGS icon would flash to indicate the car was at its upper levels for grip tolerance. Now, however, all four tires are shown individually, allowing the player to gauge their drift timings with more accuracy. The angles of each tire are also shown, adding further precision to the game.

  • Play area: Akita-san has stressed that the visibility offered to the player must be as clear as possible. To this end, the screen remains uncluttered, with the key dials information shown in an instantly recognizable format. Speed is now shown by a smooth-moving meter, allowing players to accurately gauge their speed and use it for smoother gear changes, while new 'Torque' and 'Power' lamps indicate when the car is nearing its maximum torque or speed, allowing the user to adapt their driving strategy to work within these parameters.

    The visible play area has also been widened, to emphasize when the car is slowing or accelerating. With more of the play area on screen, players can now also judge corners more easily, with the screen shaking to indicate rougher terrain.

  • New Courses: Enthusia Professional Racing uses a mix of real and fictitious courses, with circuits included from all over the globe. Japan is represented by its Tsukuba Circuit which is ideal for the game's Time Attack mode, being an equivalent to its European counterpart Nurburgring. Similarly, an all-new mountain path has been included, allowing for plentiful hazardous power-sliding as the player descends!

    The game's Route de la Seine Paris level has also been changed. Plans to utilize an authentically-modeled recreation of the French course have been changed to make for a more fun experience that still boasts the tight corners and hills of this suburban locale, but has changed it to make it even more challenging.

  • New Cars: Old and new versions of the RX-7, 180SX and Imprezas are now included, while the Garaiya an originally modeled sports car created by Japanese manufacturers, Autobacks has been faithfully recreated.

Says Manabu Akita of the revisions: "Enthusia is always improving as it goes along, and the biggest change this time is showing an overview of all four tires. You can now easily see the angle of the tires, the grip and the traction, while the new ball system demonstrates the VGS far better than before. We hope that these additions show we are constantly striving to make Enthusia the definitive racing game to date."

(Posted: Friday, December 3, 2004, 9:37AM GMT)

- Harry

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