Gran Turismo 5, a game that has seen a mammoth development time of 5 years and innumerable delays has finally hit the D-Day. When I started playing the game I was more nervous than excited since being a fan of the franchise I was wondering whether Gran Turismo 5 can live up to all the promises, expectations and hype that it had built over these last few years. And I am very glad to report that Gran Turismo 5 is well worth the wait. Developed by the highly talented development team at Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo 5 might easily be the best racer on the PlayStation 3 yet. Yes it’s not the perfect racer that we were all hoping for, it has its own share of issues, but the amount of content that is on offer here, can’t be missed by any PlayStation 3 owner out there. Polyphony Digital has created a beast and it’s absolutely packed with content that will hook you for many months ahead.
When you start up the game and I am assuming that you are also connected to the PlayStation Network, the game will give you the option to install a patch which is pretty small at about 133MB, but is pretty important. That patch will give you the option of installing assets of the game like cars, tracks etc. This is pretty important and make sure that you do that initial install. The only bad thing about it is that it takes pretty long, clocking in at about 20 minutes. If you skip the initial install then get ready to face some really long loading times, so again I will highly recommend doing that initial install. Once you have waited out, you will then be introduced to two major components of the game play. They are:
- Gran Turismo Life: This is where you are likely to jump in directly and start off your racing career.
- Arcade Mode: Here the player can jump straight in to action with a single player race or a duel with a friend. Time Trial and split screen modes are also available.
Now let’s explain them deeply.
When you jump into Gran Turismo Life you will be first ask to customize your home page. The home page is where you have your entire garage, A-Spec, B-Spec, Items store, Online etc modes scattered in a stunningly awesome manner. In this mode the player will need to level up and earn credits. Obviously as you level up and earn more credits by winning either the Gold, Silver and Bronze cups you will be able to buy new vehicles and unlock the various modes available within the A-spec mode. When you start off you will only be able to access the Beginners racing events within the A-spec mode. There are other modes within A-spec which will get unlocked as and when you reach to a particular level. The following are the modes that can be unlocked within A-spec, each having their own different type of events:
- Amateur Series
- Professional Series
- Expert Series
- Extreme Series
One interesting point to be noted here is that just like these modes; certain cars are not available for buying unless and until you reach a particular level. So in the A-spec mode it’s all about winning races or at least get the Bronze cup and in return you will get credits and XP which will increase your level. According to me the most addictive part of Gran Turismo 5 is the A-spec because this is where most of the hardcore racing and action lies.
Another mode within the Gran Turismo life is the B-Spec mode. It is again pretty much similar to what A-spec is, where you level up and earn credits. But there is a nice little twist. Instead of you driving, the vehicle will be driven by an AI driver and you will have to give basic commands like “Overatke”, “speed up”, “and maintain pace”and“slow down”. This mode is pretty interesting considering the fact that it actually requires a lot of concentration from the player to give the right commands at the right moment. As you level up you will be able to adjust each of your driver traits like Speed, Mental Strength, Career, and Type of Character etc. So your aim in the game is not only being a perfect driver but create a perfect driver as well.
Then within Gran Turismo Life there is a Special Events mode. These are nothing but a set of racing experiences for the player and are again unlockable by reaching the desired level. Here you can get an early feel on how to drive a Kart car, get tips from Jeff Gordon from Nascar, venture through the absolutely amazing looking Nurburgring and much more. Again each of these experiences has internal levels within them and the best thing about them is that winning them will unlock more credit points and more XP for levelling up. So A-Spec and B-Spec are not the only ways to level up in Gran Turismo 5.
Phew! I am getting tired of explaining the number of modes in Gran Turismo Life and I am not done yet. Besides the racing experience with Gran Turismo Life there is a License Center where you can unlock various levels of license such as Nation B license, National A license, etc. This can be unlocked by completing sets of challenges like Steering, Using Slip Stream, Using late breaking etc. There are hundreds of challenges on offer and again you will be rewarded for your achievements.
Buying cars requires credits and Polyphony Digital have implemented not one but two ways of utilizing those credits. If the user wants a firsthand car (and an expensive one too!), they can take a look in to the Dealership tab which boasts numerous cars from branded car makers around the world. And if you are short on money and are looking for a second hand buy, then we have something called as Used Car Dealership. The good thing about the used car store is that it updates itself regularly and random, so if you are short on credit you actually may get a much better deal there. One of the complaints that I have about these two stores is that there is no way to filter the type of cars that I want. For example in one of the races the requirement was a 1980’s model, at first when I came to the store I was all confused and I was not able to find a 1980’s car. After a bit of searching I was finally able to find one. It would have been really nice if there was any way to filter by year as this may irritate some users.
One of the other core aspects in Gran Turismo is to make sure you car is up to date and maintained. For this the developers have included “GT AUTO Maintenance” where you can get your car washed, buy aero parts, get a new paint, get your engine worked out, and repair damages and much more. Next is the tuning shop where you will be able to make your car up to date with the latest hardware. Here you can change the chasis, engine and also include turbo kits. Again this will cost you credits so make sure you are winning races! Community tab which is nothing but the online mode of Gran Turismo 5 is pretty simple and straight forward. You can create your own lounge and chat with your friends. Within the lounge you can create races and zoom in with your buddies. But one of the most interesting features is that you can send and receive gits in Gran Turismo 5. I can transfer/gift a car to one of my buddies, now how cool is that? I wish one of my buddies gives me that F1 2010 Ferrari, at least virtually 🙂
After Gran Turismo Life we jump straight in to the arcade experience. Again this is a nice way to recharge if anyone of you gets bored (well you shouldn’t) of the amazing Gran Turismo Life experience. Here you will have access to the single player modes, time trials, drift trial and two player split screen. Within each of these modes you can select the car you want, there is really a very solid and a long list of cars available so it’s always a good idea to get a good hands on with them in the arcade before you go full throttle in Gran Turismo Life. You can decide the type of track you want, decide the climatic conditions or select your own made track (will be explained later). All in all, the arcade mode is a nice way to get warmed up for the real deal.
Course maker is a pretty interesting addition even though it’s pretty simple and straight forward. When the player decides to make a custom track they will be introduced to a number of templates of the track like Tarmac, Gravel, Snow, etc. You choose one and decide how many sections you want to divide the track into. For each section you can then adjust the complexity, the corner radius and the road width. There are also global settings available in the form of Climate and time. It’s pretty simple and it gets the job done. One last feature of the game play is Gran Turismo TV, many of you are pretty much aware of. Expect some great clips when more people come online.
Gran Turismo 5 has always been about pushing the boundaries of visual benchmark; they did that with the previous four games and the fifth one looks absolutely stunning. Running at a slick 60FPS, the cars in the game are beautifully modelled. At some instances it’s almost hard to say the difference between the reality and the game. The tracks too have been beautifully designed, you will be visiting a lot of places, from the sunning streets in London to the amazing locations in Rome, Gran Turismo 5 is a visual treat. However there are a few issues. The shadow effects of cars look really bad and the interiors of some cars look bland. Another thing that concerned me is the damage engine of the game does not really work in full effect, I tried a lot to bang my car and the impact was big but the damage was almost non visible.
Gran Turismo 5 may not be as good as what Gran Turismo 3 was, but it surely is the best racing experience on the PlayStation 3 yet. Featuring over 1000 dazzling looking vehicles and over 70 tracks and tonnes of game play modes, Gran Turismo 5 has the capacity to get you hooked up for months. Yes, the game has some issues as I pointed out before, but if you actually see the amount of game play that is on offer here you won’t have any choice but to forget them. If you own a PlayStation 3, Gran Turismo 5 is one game that will give you the ride of your life.
Another Take By Bojeeva
Kazunori Yamauchi and those guys at Polyphony Digital have got a cheek, haven’t they? After delays aplenty with the latest edition of Gran Turismo (it’s been a mammoth five years in the making), the minute you put the shiny disc in your PS3 they only go and suggest you wait another 20 minutes to install the thing. Still, it’s a small price to pay for what is an absolutely sublime experience.
Many of us were sceptical that Sony’s top-selling driving title would make it onto the shelves in time for Holidays but the PS3 exclusive is finally here. There’s plenty on offer for petrolheads and amateur racers alike with this new iteration of the 55m-selling series. In fact, look under the bonnet of one of the PS3’s most anticipated games and there are so many game modes and options hidden within, that it will surely provide enough gameplay to last you until its inevitable – and even better-looking – sequel finally emerges.
From the outset, with the lengthy – but fantastic looking – intro sequence that shows vehicles heading along the production line, it’s clear that this has been a labour of love for Yamauchi – his masterpiece in the making. But for all but the die-hard fan, the wealth of options and technical detail is more than a little overwhelming. Still, it’s not the newbies that this game is really targeting… this is designed to be as close as possible to physically getting in a car, slamming the accelerator pedal to the floor and speeding off into the distance. And to that extent, it admirably does the job.
Boasting over 1,000 photo-realistic cars – ranging from the Lamborghini Murcielago, McLaren MP4-12C to the Audi R8 and Ford Focus – the “real driving simulator” has clearly come along way since the 170+ cars included in the original game when it sped onto the scene back in 1997. And boy, do they look realistic. There have, however, been criticisms that the majority of the featured vehicles lack some of the polish of the premium models but that’s a little churlish. No doubt, you’ll be far more focussed on the handling and improved physics as you race around the track anyway, but do make sure you sit back and savour every second of the replays – they are staggeringly beautiful… Many of the vehicles reportedly took months of painstaking drawing and rendering by the designers. As a result, there’s plenty of data that needs to be loaded so the aforementioned optional install makes the wait between races pretty painless.
This instalment also includes more than 20 tracks with 70 variations, including famous circuits such as the Nurburgring and cityscapes including London and Madrid. The environments are equally full of detail and life, with the crowds reacting as you whizz by. There are plenty of tracks to keep you going, each posing its own challenges and offering plenty in the replayability stakes. Further adding to the longevity, there’s the ability to create your own tracks too. It’s not quite as in depth as I’d have hoped but being able to select parameters and create new courses is fantastic.
Admittedly, the menus are a little clunky and seem out of sync with the res of the game. Once you negotiate the raft of screens, there’s the option to take a take your chosen chariot for a spin in arcade mode (split screen two-player is on offer as is the ability to import cars unlocked in Gran Turismo PSP and the PS3’s Prologue games), play online with up to 16 people or start the extensive career mode.
Your career will take you on a journey, allowing you to rise through the ranks and develop your skills. Race and you gain cash and credits that allow you to visit dealerships to acquire more cars for your virtual garage, or alternatively you can wander off to the garage for a little fine tuning – although I wonder whether only an automotive engineer would fully appreciate all the features on offer.
You start with a slow, underpowered vehicle but can quickly upgrade as you chase the driving licences and take part in the A-Spec and B-Spec races, and championships. The B-Spec option is a particularly nice touch, giving you the opportunity to take the role of racing team director and coach AI drivers. It’s a whole new take on a racing game and proves both tricky and addictive. What’s more, there’s the chance to race Karts, speed around the infamous Top Gear test track or dabble in some Nascar. With a win, you’re also bestowed with more cars that you can tune or trade. If you’re that way inclined, PlayStation Eye owners get the added bonus of being able to harness face tracking for looking around the car while in the interior dash view. Photos and replays of your races can also be saved and shared online on You Tube, allowing you to relive all those favourite moments and last ditch wins.
Fans will be pleased to hear that for the first time in the series’ history, the vehicles now display real-time damage that not only affect the aesthetics of your beloved car but can also impact the handling. Sadly, this doesn’t quite live up to its billing; my first few races saw me slam into a wall or an opponent at high speed and my car barely come away with a scratch – not very realistic afterall! The fact this doesn’t work quite as it should means that it’s still possible to grind up against the side of your opponents’ cars to help steer you around particularly sharp bends with ease. And they never seem to react too much or adopt preventative measures – an indication that the AI is still a little lacklustre.
Gran Turismo 5 is a game of epic proportions. I’d argue that the time it’s taken to emerge and the anticipation and hype that has surrounded it will likely leave many initially feeling deflated. Looking at other reviews, it’s clear that it does have its detractors… and there’s plenty you could nitpick: from the tracks and occasional clipping to the fact that some of the standard cars look far less impressive than their move expensive counterparts. The menu screens are also a little laborious. Ultimately though, this is not what the game is about. It claims to be a driving simulator and deliver an authentic and realistic experience. And that, few can argue, is exactly what it does. It’s been a long time coming but this is a dream purchase if you have even a passing interest in cars. Sadly, for many of us, this is the closest we’ll come to experiencing many of them. I’d recommend you forgive its shortcomings and devote your time to Gran Turismo 5. Do so and you’ll absolutely love it.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Stunning car models, Excellent physics, Each Vehicle has a different feel and handling to it, Replay Mode looks amazing, Arcade mode is great for starters, Plethora of Cars to choose from, Level Editor is a nice addition, Tracks and Environments are beautifully designed, Intelligent AI, Climatic conditions like snow and rain fall adds more variety and challenge, Special Events are a superb way to recharge yourself if you are feeling bored of other modes
Initial Install is time consuming; some car interiors really look bad, Shadow effects especially of vehicles is bland, buying the car you want can get tedious, damage engine is not up to the mark.