The free steering wheel and solid tilt controls shouldn't fool you into thinking this dated game is worth your time or money.
When Ubisoft announced how many games they'd have available during the Wii's launch period, it was clear that most of them would be ports of GameCube games. One such game, GT Pro Series, is a port of GT Cube, a racing game that was never released outside of Japan. You'd think it would be great to get a chance to play something that Americans have never seen before, but there's a problem.
GT Cube was released in 2003, and it wasn't that good. It just so happens that I reviewed the game back then, giving it a “could-have-been-better" score. Did Ubisoft do anything to make the game better? Surely they would have done something with a three-year old game to polish it up for a re-release on the Wii. Right?
The only graphical difference between the three-year old GameCube game and Wii launch title is the addition of widescreen support. What looked like a first-generation GameCube game when it was released still looks like one, making for one terribly dated Wii launch title. Blurry textures, blocky backgrounds, ugly colors and muddy lighting are just some of the things you'll see while going through the game. The cars have a nice cel-shading effect on them, but even that is simple and could have been made to look better with the more powerful Wii hardware. It's bad enough that a Wii game looks like this, but the fact it was not improved upon from the original GameCube version is too great of an insult for me to ignore.
Since the rest GT Pro Series is unchanged from how it was set up in GT Cube (as explained in the review), just about all the issues in the GC version can be found in the Wii edition. Things are made much worse because of the antiquated nature of the game. The racing is boring because it feels like your car is just going around the track on rails. Moving up in speed class doesn't always mean you'll be racing against faster cars since you will be forced to participate in cups that use slower cars. Driving a minivan around in circles for seven minutes isn't fun, and that's what the game makes you do. Since you'll be hopping in and out of different cars all of the time, having to re-equip all the upgrades you've earned to every single car isn't cool. It doesn't help that all the menus are slow.
I'll spare you a description of how bad the game sounds. Trust me, it's bad.
The only thing developer MTO did to make Pro Series different from the GameCube version is to include tilt-sensitive steering controls for the Wii remote. I was actually quite surprised at how well it works. In stark contrast to every other aspect of the game, the controls are responsive and well thought-out. Tilt sensitivity and dead zone settings are adjustable. Though the game works fine without it, the included hard plastic steering wheel accessory makes the game feel a lot better. The only reason why I played this game for as long as I did was because the controls worked so well.
Don't let the offer of a free steering wheel fool you, however. It's obvious why Ubisoft commissioned this port: Quick and easy money. I find it appalling that publishers can get away with charging $50 on a game that might be worth $10 on a good day. The only thing you can do to let publishers know that we're not going to put up with this kind of crap is to not buy GT Pro Series, a task that should be easy considering the quality of the product. The last thing the Wii needs is GameCube ports of mediocre games. This system should have original titles that make use of the Wii remote and hardware from the ground up, not old GameCube games that weren't worth a look in the first place.