Gran Turismo 5 Academy Impressions

Posted By | On 18th, Dec. 2009 Under Previews, Website

The Gran Turismo 5 Academy demo is out now on the PSN and we’re going to give you a run down of what to expect.

Gran Turismo 5 is arguably Sony’s top exclusive of next year. The franchise has always delivered a visually impressive, tight controlled, chart busting, and critically acclaimed racing experience. From what I played in the demo it seems as though that strong tradition will continue.

First let me make this clear, this is not intended to be a demo similar to Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Rather the demo is meant to be a competition within the Gran Turismo community. There is one track, Indianapolis, and two versions of the Nissan 370z (One of my personal favorite cars). One version of the 370z is not tuned at all while the other version has a different set of tires. The objective is to get the best time possible on the same track with both of the cars. Your best time will be put up on the leaderboards with all other racers.

This is a real 370z

This is a real 370z

I started my time with the standard 370z. Initially it took some time for me to get the hang of things as the demo runs at Professional difficulty, the most realistic of them all. If you are used to the handling of vehicles in games like Need for Speed Shift then Gran Turismo 5 will take a bit of getting used to. The controls are tight, but the physics are much more realistic. Gran Turismo doesn’t give off the same sense of speed that a game like Shift does and while it will lead to some poorly taken turns initially it adds to the overall realism once you get the hang of things.

The racing line quickly became my greatest learning tool as in Gran Turismo it plays a more proactive role rather than a reactive one. In a game like Shift the line changes base on what you are doing at the moment with speed control. In Gran Turismo it will lay out the red line signaling to slow down, but rather than go around the corner and remain red until you slow down enough it will stop at the beginning of the turn showing the last possible moment you can reach a low enough speed to make the turn. With this knowledge I found my self taking much more controlled turns in later laps and in turn it improved my lap times.

Once I couldn’t shave any more milliseconds off of my time with the standard 370z I hopped over to the tuned version and let me tell you, it was like night and day. The level of control I had with the tuned 370z was amazing. I was able to take turns at higher speeds and maintain control throughout. I was also able to reach higher speeds than I could in the standard version. I was truly shocked at how obvious the difference was. In other racing games I would upgrade my car and I wouldn’t feel it other than a slight difference here or there. In Gran Turismo I could feel the difference right away and could focus more on shaving off seconds rather than micromanagement of my car. When all was said and done I ranked around the 4000’s overall.

This is what it looks like in game

This is what it looks like in game

As I watched replays of my race I took the time to really look at the game. The car models are fabulous and are near photorealistic. While I found a few spotty textures and some parts of the environment felt a little weak the overall look is what I expected. Polyphony Digital has a real looker on their hands and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when everything is 100% in the retail version. There was no damage in the demo, but PD still promises to have damage in the final game.

While the demo may be small I found it to be all I needed to feel satisfied. To be honest I was still a bit on the edge about whether or not I really wanted Gran Turismo 5. After my time with the demo I am sold. The controls are tight, the game looks great, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one next year. If you haven’t yet go check this demo out. If you already have post your ranking and best time in the comments below. As always keep it here on Gaming Bolt!

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  • John Doe

    Wow, now this is cool stuff!@


  • b;ah

    I love the gameplay of gt5.
    Only thing is the graphics are not gt5’s. In gameplay videos from game expeditions like E3 or something you could see people were 3d and there was damage.
    I think its just a trial of gt5p, not gt5.
    But anyway im definitely getting gt5 and just cant wait.
    My top game 2010, followed by god of war 3. what a year to come.

  • alex c

    if its arguably the best game, i will argue, GOD OF WAR 3

  • alex c

    is the best game, then twisted metal, agent, and the xmas 2010 line up, then gt, you see, its not the same type of game hat you culd call game of the eyar or anything, however, it WILL sell 10 mill eroupe alone, so by halo statistics, it could win game of the year, to me this gt game is filler… god of war. it will sell a buket tho…..

    this game IS GOD nothing compares, im 4000 rankings also, game my brother the controller, (racing game lover) he came 893rd on his 1st go!!! damn…. 1st go!!!

  • Zee

    As someone who got into racing game because of the first 3 iterations of GT, and someone converted over to Forza 1 through 3, I had great expectations for GT5. I never played GT5P so this was my first GT playthrough on my PS3. I can’t say how disappointed I was with the arcade-y physics! Your car just instantly starts drifting, even at 35mph and when trying to recover, your car just swings back and forth in 45 degree increments. As someone who has done much stunting in my real driving life, Forza just feels like the real thing to me. GT still feels (so far) just like GT1. I love the car models and replays in GT but the track are very lacking with detail, especially the cardboard cutout trees.

  • Batty

    The stability of the graphics in the demo is noticeable improvement over GT5P. Love the in car view as well. Im still undecided on the “feel” of the car on the track – Ive never driven a vehicle in real life with tyres that squeal every time I adjust my steering wheel by an inch, even at low speeds…so thats odd, but I gotta say that the handling is distinctly better and more realistic than GT5P.

    Audio-wise the engine sound is great, but some of the transitions to environmental sounds are not that impressive – for instance sliding off the track and onto sand, or going from track to grass. Could be improved.

    Overall the demo shows a distinct improvement over GT5P – considering that at 200MB its a fraction of what the full game will contain Im hyped for GT5 to release.

    Oh, and everything else Sony has done with the PS3 is just a build up to God of War 3. All hail Kratos!!

  • MAUL

    This is a time trial demo written for GT5:P using GT5’s physics. The graphis will improve with the final release. I still havent figured out the driving bit though. Throttle control is important; i think I need to practice some more.

  • is the best game, then twisted metal, agent, and the xmas 2010 line up, then gt, you see, its not the same type of game hat you culd call game of the eyar or anything, however, it WILL sell 10 mill eroupe alone, so by halo statistics, it could win game of the year, to me this gt game is filler… god of war. it will sell a buket tho…..

  • I love this game,but I love god of war than this.

  • if the previous games were any indication of how much fun these ones will be, it should be an awesome game!

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  • I had to shut myself from the internet to stop me from downloading this to my PS3 during final Exams here. And now… IT IS TIME TO ROCK!

  • The 5 Series legacy is one of incredible performance, timeless style, and countless innovations.

  • Musser64

    Cool stuff!


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