Gran Turismo 5 Review

So, the coveted Gran Turismo 5 is finally out in the world, after about 6 years of delays and teasers, we got the final product in our hands on Wednesday. The only thing is, was it worth the wait?

Well, I’ll start with the initial movie at the beginning. It looks superb, but I can’t quite figure out if it is rendered graphics, or real life video, but it’s spectacular none-the-less. One issue with it though, is it doesn’t actually show any cars driving around, or anything like that. It’s just a lot of industrial footage with some cool crazy pianist playing in the background. Still, it’s pretty cool.

Instead of jumping straight into career mode, I played arcade mode for a while. Now, this menu is pretty simple to use, and it’s is very easy to navigate. You get to choose from 4 games modes. Single Race, Time Trial, Drift Trial and Split Screen. Yes, that’s right guys, Split Screen. That’s a pretty rare feature today what with online gaming taking over. In single race, you can choose from your favourite cars, a selection of arcade cars, or cars from your garage. There isn’t that much of a choice in the arcade car selection, but it does hold host to some cool cars. You get to choose from the gran turismo original tracks, a selection of real world tracks, city tracks, snow and dirt tracks and to my surprise, your own tracks. The same goes for all the other modes in arcade. You get very basic tuning functions such as tyre type and ABS and other little things, and there are 3 difficulty levels. Pretty basic arcade mode to be honest.

Now, the actual racing is what you have bought this game for, and I shall review that. Did you play Gran Turismo 5 Prologue? Because if you did, then you will be very familiar with this game. I was very disappointed with this. The physics engine doesn’t seem to have had much of a revamp in the 5 or so years since Prologue was released. The handling feels very heavy, but with that it’s very easy to spin your car. I’m not too sure what it’s like in real life, but this is pretty annoying in a game. However, one thing they have kinda got right, or fun as it should be said, is their dirt engine. When you are racing on dirt or snow, the cars are pretty easy to slide along and it’s incredible fun. I mean, it’s not the best dirt engine around, but this is still very fun. Especially with the drift trials. They are a party game in themselves.

Something that was shown off was the weather engine and the change of light. These two features alone get a part in the review because of what they actually add to the game. When rain starts, it doesn’t just start full on like in other racing games (need for speed underground 2), it gently brings it in and then it can start thrashing should it wish to. This really affects the handling and causes your car to be more likely to slide. It is in fact very similar to the weather engine used in the F1 2010 game, which is fantastic. Now, the change of light is also epic. The way the sun sets, and the lights come on is epic, and not just that, but the lights reflect off dust clouds and road signs and it looks the balls. It is the most advanced light feature I have ever seen in a game like this.

Something else that was bragged about was the amount of detail put into the cars, eventually bringing it the title of most realistic looking racing game of this generation. I must admit, I am a little disappointed here as well. You get two classes of cars in the game. Standard and Premium. The premium cars hold up to the most realistic looking racing game as the in car detail is spectacular, and nothing has been missed out. Even when you look behind you see the back seats and the rear of the car. On these premium cars, there are a few extra features too, such as working windscreen wipers and a horn. That’s right, you can beep the horn throughout the race, annoying all the other racers. However, these features don’t appear on all the cars. The standard cars, which make up the most part of the selection only have the outside. You can’t even get behind the steering wheel. Compared to Forza 3, this is pants. Literally, pants, and coming from a game where it says it goes into extreme detail on the cars.

The career mode is very similar to that of forza 2. Some races are only accessible when you reach a certain level as a driver. This gives the game some form of progression, which is nice. However, the menu is scattered all over the place on the home page, and can be very confusing when trying to find your garage as some of the options aren’t labelled.  In career mode, you unlock special races which are races designed to test you. Now, these races are really cool. One of them is a camper van race on the top gear test track. That’s awesome fun, and another is a karting race. The issue with these races is that they are shown as being a huge part of the game, but they aren’t. They are only special races. Well, up until the professional races that is, i haven’t got any further than that.

The car customisation isn’t better than forza, and is actually still at a very basic level. You can tune up your cars by buying parts and such unlike the prologue, but other than that, it isn’t too good for the amount of time we’ve waited for the game. The theatre mode returns so you can save and watch your replays back, especially if you did something awesome. A feature i haven’t been able to test is the Playstaion Eye feature. Apparently you can look left and right just by turning your head or something. That’s cool, but i’m sure it’ll get really confusing should you turn to look at your cat, or to get a quick drink on a straight. Another feature i haven’t used is the track builder. I can only imagine what it will be like, but i’ll leave that for you to comment and tell me about.  On top of that, you can play the game in stereoscopic 3D if you have the capabilities. I tried that out at eurogamer and it was awesome, especially the view that overlooks the whole car. The car popped out the screen while the track went into the screen.

All in all, a 6 year wait for a game is pretty rare, especially when it is promised time and time again. Considering they pushed the release date again and again, the game doesn’t really hold up to it’s expectation. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic game, but doesn’t really beat anything else out at the moment, especailly Forza 3. The handling is heavy, the cars are too easy to spin, the graphics are good, but too rich. I’m giving this game a 7.1/10.