This game is like getting one of the racing giants for cheap. GTI Racing has a realistic experience that is in my opinion just as good as NASCAR,F1,Gran Turismo,Forza,GRID,and other racing sim giants. People tend to call it an arcade racer based on graphics alone,which they aren't the BEST honestly,like their better than the screenshots would make it seem,they have reflections and shadows,decent plant life and city enviroments,good car models,not QUITE as good as like a Gran Turismo game that's $60 or something,but if your like me and couldn't care less if it's "realistic" as long as it's not PAINFUL to look at or anything,then you should really appreciate this game. If your willing to suspend disbelief and cut the game some slack since it's only $5,the graphics and in-depth customization as well as physics will be a pleasent surprise.
The car selection is pretty good,the cars appear in the dealership every 2 championships or cups or series' or whatever,their in basic levels. Standard being the first,and Extreme being the final level you get right before you finish the game. The cars get better each level,but the stats CAN vary,so i advise looking at the stats of a car before you buy to make sure your getting the biggest bang for your buck. Their always in the same price range,you aren't gonna pay like $3,000 for a car in the $7 level or anything. The game never says $ by the way,it just says "credits". Cars can range from the famous 2005 Golf GTI,to several variations of the "bug",to the somewhat aggressive Golf 3/4 (my personal favorite),to even some of the most obscure Volkswagen models! The car variety had me thoroughly impressed.
As for tuning,i haven't poked around with the other stuff,since with some basic training and a few practice runs in the car test mode,i was able to drive the default setup just fine,but i advise setting car height to "high". Having it on Low or Medium never gave me a noticeable stat boost,though it DID stop me dead in my tracks if i even TOUCHED a little piece of grass,but with high you still get the same amount of grip,offroad terrain can't stop you,great top speed and decent acceleration. If you buy the most expensive suspension kit,you also gain access to "very high",which is even better.
The races take place in a few main locations: Bavaria Germany,Texas USA,"British Race Track",Paris France,and Italy. Bavaria tends to have a rainy forest enviroment,with an occasional coastal cruise overlooking the ocean. Italy tends to take place mostly on boardwalks and beach roads. Texas is in nothin' but desert,with many races sending you on soaring jumps between the dunes,Paris will have you going through small towns,winding country mountain roads,and most of all,cobblestone paths for some reason. And finally "British Race Track",by far my favorite,can range from a dirt ring for you to drift around to an actual speedway with winding turns,resembling a road track like in NASCAR and other motorsports.
Races are usually just that,races. Then there are Drift Events. if i can reccomend anything about GTI Racing,it is STAY AWAY from the drift events. I made one slip up,-20,000 points! It was IMPOSSIBLE to make that up in the short track and time given. Legal race events is "Life in Idiot Town Simulator" as people sillouhettes will walk out in front of your speeding vehicle blindly to brutally take away 5 seconds of time for each one you hit. Oddly enough,these are enjoyable. Cross-country event is where you go to texas and hop over the hills in a car (preferably a highly tuned one) to collect lights before your opposition get to them. Finally,drag races. Just press A when your speed meter won't go any farther. You gotta do it fast though,or else your opponent can go SOARING past. These are by far the most common later on in the career mode.
Customization varies from paint jobs to wheels to body kits and wings for visual upgrades,to Engine and Suspension packages,transmission upgrades (by far the most effective),and brakes for performance. Once you buy a performance part,you can tweak it's stat boost in tuning to suit your driving style. Again,i mostly leave everything but suspension height default for best results and just make my car the highest possible. Buying the highest possible engine package will come with a lovely bonus - turbo boost! And while you might not NEED it as long as you've got one of the faster cars from the level your racing,turbo makes a MASSIVE difference. I wouldn't reccomend spending that much money on an engine package though unless there's just one car you MUST make fast to keep as long as possible. Paint jobs and rims have no real difference,though they do look great compared to the stock. Wings are rarely on any cars once you get to the higher levels,but if there's a car you like that has a decent wing,it's so satisfying to see it during a race,and it looks awesome.
In the end the only issues i have had with this game is walls glitching holding my car to them where i had to press R to reset my position (though when it happens to enemy cars who can't press R,it makes the race way easier),flipping over when turning (probably something i did wrong when tuning though),and the keyboard sometimes locking up,though it's only happened twice in the 2 months i have owned this game,and i think that was mostly the keyboard's fault. So if you want a nostalgia trip to games like NFS Most Wanted,Underground,and others from that era,yet still want to be able to tune your car for the most realistic experience possible,then this is the game for you. It's like having an ENTIRE COLLECTION of racing titles for only $5! The lack of cars besides volkswagens rarely bothered me,and i was too caught up in the gameplay and thrills to notice that it's pretty much an interactive volkswagen advertisement.
Another thing to keep in mind is at times the AI racers can be a bit aggressive,like trying to spin you or run you off the road,but their easy to take care of in a decently fast/powerful car,and the tiny cost of repairs FAR outweighs the satisfying SMACK their cars make when i force them into the edge of an incoming fence or building.
i give this game a 5/5,even my least favorite parts of this game are funner than my favorite parts of some other games such as CS:GO. Like i said,your basically getting every possible racing game ever for $5 if you can get decent at tuning in this game. Who can beat that!? Offroad,Race Track,Demoltion Derby,Drift,this game has it all!