Always synonymous with intricate detail and a complete, whole driving experience, Gran Turismo has set the bar for all other racing games in the past. Few have managed the level of quality and detail, features and quantity that we’ve come to expect from GT.
After Prologue and a string of brief ‘demos’, we finally have a full-fledged GT title for the Playstation 3. It’s been a long wait. It’s been surrounded by hype, misinformation, delay and anticipation.
It’s finally here. And after 5 loooong years, everyone hope’s it has been worth it. Anyone who knows me will know all the reasons why I hope it’s been worth it.
Once I’d gotten the hefty (~45 minute) install out of the way, and downloaded and installed the day one patch (~120MB), the intro movie rolled. I literally couldn’t believe it. It was actually happening. I was about to play Gran Turismo 5.
Immediately there are some familiar sights. Backgrounds from Prologue are familiar, menu structure and layout are similar. From the main menu, you can select from GT Home, or Arcade to get right into racing.
GT Home is the main hub to everything GT career related. You’re introduced to the basics of each mode and setting up your profile as soon as you start clocking away.
New to GT5 is a set “Level system”, that defines which events you can enter and most importantly, which cars you can drive. A Mazda Miata might require just level 0 – a good starter car then – but a Lamborghini LP670 R-SV could require you at level 14 before you can get behind the wheel. Experience is earned from race events, special events and license tests – and comes pretty quickly, so I was busy driving Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s a few hours into my game.
Much like prior iterations of Gran Turismo, you also have the A-spec and B-spec distinctions. A-spec is entirely solo play. B-spec however, has had a bit of an overhaul. It’s now more reminiscent of a “Manager” game, where you create a driver (or team of drivers), choosing their starting statistics, and push them into events where you can control their on-track antics, when to push, when to cruise and when to overtake. You can’t jump in the car and share the experience with B-spec drivers any more.
The B-spec experience is limited though and is merely more than a cinema viewing. You can’t speed the race up and you do miss being able to jump in for a few laps to get back in the race after the AI bungles it. That said, the more I’ve developed my driver, the more I’ve enjoyed watching him race. There’s plenty of glory to make up for the last corner stacks.
AI is slightly underwhelming. While the number of on-track cars has increased to up to 16 in some events, their on-track ability hasn’t changed a considerable amount since Prologue. They still appear glued to the racing line, they still pile directly into the side of your car if you happen to spin on the racing line (and continue to try and drive through you like you’re not even there). They still mid-corner brake and perform other odd, forced errors which can be a nuisance in License tests and Special Events where you’re immediately disqualified for bumping, just brushing another car. And they’re not penalised for error while you take the brunt of all the mistakes. After all this time, it is disappointing.
You have over 1000 cars at your disposal, just over 200 of those are Premium and the rest are Standard (more on that later, see Graphics), and you’ll quickly start building a mega garage of prize cars and your favourite purchased exotics. The Dealerships system has improved vastly from Prologue. The layout is quicker and easier, you’re advised from the main menu what cars you can buy from what Dealership matching your current level, so there’s no wasting time. In browsing cars, you can also watch a (very neat) driver demonstration of your chosen car in action.
Winning a car is slightly frustrating however as “Car Delivery” has been added, a feature which forces you to accept the “ticket” for a car you’ve rightfully won, load a delivery screen, watch the car roll out of the darkness, accept that you’ve got the car, then load the main GT Home menu again. It literally takes a good minute to receive a car. Very annoying when you might have just won three cars from completing all Golds in a license test – and you have to receive each prize car individually. Definitely needs a “Quick Add” feature there.
Tuning has been revamped, refreshed – but still offers all of the same classic upgrades for your cars. You can still turn your crappy used Japanese import into a monster, uncontrollable 800HP beast and watch it transform into a crazy race machine. My only complaint though is the loss of “Brakes” modifications. You can chuck 500HP at a FF Civic, but you can’t add a big brake kit to slow it down?