But time went on as did GT Academy
– that online PSN confusion probably served the real rev-heads but left me out in the cold. I went and played with Forza Motorsport 2
and Forza Motorsport 3
. I even enjoyed them. I enjoyed the latter a great deal in fact. But that also served to whet my appetite for GT5
couldn't do to Gran Turismo
what FIFA 09
did to Pro Evolution Soccer
and show the clear leader in the genre how to appeal?
So, lots of expectations and trust to be dealt with by a game that Sony appears nervous about. Nervous? Yes, given the review embargo that was placed on all online news sources, I'd say nervous.
A triple-A title, with the history and respect of a Gran Turismo
title, will only be getting reviewers' once-overs (and therefore buying advice for the readership) on the day of launch. With the reviewers only getting code on the – at best – weekend before the Wednesday launch? That's a caution.
Enough of this internal bellyaching though. Save for one last thing, we were asked not provide a 'review' if we'd not given online a deep looking into. We haven't. I don't believe anybody has in fact. So, until later today at the earliest... zero score for fanboys to moan or exhort. It's reading time folks.
Now, never let it be said that I'm not a fair man. It's true that Polyphony has a vast amount into the game. In terms of a perceived value for money proposition it's like one of those market stalls that are utterly rammed full of things. Shiny things. Things with brand names. It's like one of those stalls that will sell you an Armani suit, a Le Creuset casserole dish, a Fender guitar and a bag of Ferrero Rocher, all for £20.
In this case it's Top Gear
, WRC, Karting, 3D, NASCAR, GT Super, PlayStation Eye, Damage, flipping the cars over and Weather for a deal more than £20.
There is also a lot of online with GT TV (download stuff to watch and buy from the PS Store basically); the Museum and GT Life. This is the online version of the GT mode that most people will want to play.
Finally, let's not forget Arcade. The loveable mode in which you and a real-life pal can sit and split-screen your way around your favourite tracks in your favourite cars. AKA 'the fun bit'.
Lots of stuff. So, much stuff in fact that, like the market stall you might wonder if all of the items you've purchased can actually all have had the time and care taken over them that you'd expect from the brands.
, unlike the stall holder (or Forza
or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
for that matter) who will pop all your purchases into a plastic bag in seconds, you've got a 50 minute install.
Once you've waited, you'd expect to be able to speed – Zonda-like – from event to event. Gird your loins reader. This is HD, with deep physics, and damage. Your 50 minute installation will still see you staring gormlessly at the GT logo in between track, Special Event, Licence and other modes long into the future.
So, expectations... I'll stop there and give Tyrion a chance to explain his views on playing the game.
By Gavin Dodds
If like me you enjoy watching Top Gear
, and Wikipedia seems to think there's about 350-million of you out there that do (I certainly do), then you may have been looking forward to the release of Gran Turismo 5
with some sort of bated breath. I'd had the idea myself before it was announced that including the Top Gear
test track would be a great way of marketing GT5
to the British car lover. I was forever discussing it. I couldn't see a flaw in the plan. Intense racing combined with British humour and a true rev-head viewpoint.
A little while after GT5
arrived in the office, I got a call from Tim SPOnG saying he'd got to the test track in one of the special events and would I like a go? I was sitting in the chair in the game test dungeon before he'd even hung up.
The very first event you can get to on the Top Gear
test track is a race with VW campervans. A nice little shout out to Richard Hammond's Historic Motorhome racing feature you might think? Bit of a lark, maybe?
No. Flat out, no!
Murky not Quirky
This "race" is an awful, slow, frustrating experience. Since the test track is set on a wide-open runway the game has lots of cones out to delineate the course. Knocking a single one of the cones over results in a disqualification. Sneaking a wheel onto the grass results in a disqualification. Bumping into a competitor results in a disqualification. Couple this with the fact that the camper vans are awfully slow, apparently have no brakes and steer like they're on ice and you're very quickly having no fun at all.
I can't believe anybody at the BBC even looked at this game. There is no way they would have played this "race" and agreed that it should be the first thing you ever see on the test track. The follow up race where you drive a Lotus Elise is almost worse due to the awful handling.
My original idea for putting the test track into GT5
included such obvious things as the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" and "Power Lap" lap times being available on an online leader board that players would be able to place on. Imagine seeing if you could go faster than Ellen MacArthur in a Liana, or Jay Kay in a Lacetti. Even better, imagine going up against the Stig's times in a Veyron or a Koenigseggisseggggnignigsegigisegggg?
Well you can forget about all of that too! The Liana and Lacetti aren't even in the game nor are most of the cars in the top 20 positions on the power board, never mind the official Top Gear