|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hammerware||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: DreamCatcher / Arcade Moon||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-9 (LAN)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Getting your boat moving is easy enough (keyboard directional keys control thrust and turning while the space bar and shift keys handle weapons and speed boosts respectively), but keeping it on course when dodging weapon fire or being rammed at high speed from another vessel is next to impossible. It helps that the controls are so simple that your family pet could operate them, but their responsiveness is largely determined by the make of your boat and how fast it's moving. Controls also get pretty touchy when you're maxing out your speed and have to make even slight changes to your course.
Though racing is what you'll be doing the most of in Powerboat GT, there are a few other activities that switch things up a bit and provide opportunities to increase your bankroll. You can taxi rich tourists around, save drowning victims, and pilot sluggish fishing boats and other assorted vessels to hunt for treasure coins on the open seas, to name a few. The most interesting diversion involves piloting a rickety plane to dive-bomb crates at specific locations. Much of your time will be spent seeking out money to spend on new boat upgrades or stylish paint jobs for your sweet powerboat collection. If you get really bored, you can always mess around with your in-game PDA. Fiddling with the device allows you to check the map, change the tunes, read e-mails from sponsors, and track your earnings. Online multiplayer would have been fun, but you're stuck with local LAN matches if you want to go up against buddies. However, you can take pictures of your boat and upload images and data about what ships you own to a website via the in-game menu, but I'm not sure why you'd want to do that.
Powerboat GT is a great looking game, and its beauty balances out its mediocre points. The distant scenery is pretty, and the close-up environments are equally attractive. The water visuals and physics are also highly realistic, particularly on higher graphical settings. Given the nominal system requirements, the game looks far more impressive than you might expect. It all looks good on medium-level graphical settings, but hiking it up to "perfect" makes the game world simply pop. At times, just glancing off into the distance is enough to provide a few moments of calm - if you hit the mute button first.
For a budget priced PC title, Powerboat GT is a solid game. With summer still months away, it just might be the perfect distraction to get you through the last remnants of cold weather. At $19.99, it's certainly cheaper than a boating vacation to the Caribbean.
CCC Staff Contributor