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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