Features// Gran Turismo 5

Posted 24 Nov 2010 08:01 by
I really enjoyed earlier GT games and put a lot of time into GT3 for example. But I can't see myself playing GT5 for very long at all since the rest of the game is just as disappointing. The cars handle so badly that I can hardly keep them on the track, or slow down for a corner without hitting the barriers.

Maybe all of this is realistic, but it's sure not fun.

Back the Basics
By Tim Smith
Thanks Gavin. We'll be going back to the Top Gear Test Track later from another even more disappointed source. This is mainly because I've got zero interest in the show, and there are other things to do in the game.

Right now I'm looking at the front-end of the game. There's lots there. That's for sure. Lots. However, it is all wrapped up in an interface that appears to have been written by someone unaware of the fact that this is a game about cars played by people who – while they know something about cars – do not know everything. For example, you get a new car delivered to you because you've gained some points by coming 10th out of a field of 12. It does not get delivered to your garage.

It gets delivered to your Car Delivery area. You then have to click on it. Why? I have no idea at all. Once clicked, you are asked if you wish to use this mysterious vehicle right now. How would I know? I know nothing about this vehicle. It might be utterly marvellous for my purposes or it might be a complete stinker. All you get is make, colour, model.

The only way you can know is to say, “Yes, I do want to use it?” You then wait for an age (get used to that) before a vaguely animated model of the car is shown on screen. Right, good, it's a car. How fast can it go? What's its Bhp? What's its torque?

No idea. So, I'll take a punt or go and consult my big book of cars, or have Forza or NFS:HP booted up, or go to AutoTrader online and check.

I don't want to take a punt. I can't be bothered to check other sources. I like the Miata or Eunos I've currently got. So, I say no. In it pops to my garage and takes me back to the GT Life screen – the busy screen which, like the market stall, is full of things.

It doesn't take me to the garage.

So, like a game of brag – a card game in which you can play blind, without seeing your cards – I decide to sell the new car that was delivered but not to my garage (probably outside of my mansion) – without knowing anything about it.

I sell it by clicking on “Sell” either the icon or the drop-down menu. Yes, another menu. Why not. Cha-ching. It's gone. It's gone and I've never known a thing about it.

Hell, it was a freebie. Let's go and buy a car from the used car dealer with all this cash I've got from flogging my freebie. There is a list of cars which I can sort by make? Nope. By year? Nope. By specs? Nope I can sort them by the date that the dealer received them or by price.

I'm trying to make my way through an A-Series ladder and I need a muscle car. I can see a Holden Monaro CV8 ‘04. It's a V8. It's a Monaro. I've got a vague idea that this might be quite muscular. I check online – realise that it's basically a Pontiac GTO. I click on it. I get some info. Sure I'll buy it. By this point I'm worn out by the interface.

Don't get me wrong. The front-end looks shiny but so did the Zune. But why on earth does the O button not simply take you out of where you are to where you were? It's a simple, intuitive (to PS3 owners) piece of user interface design.

Why, when you go to an A-Series event and click on a race that your currently 'used' car doesn't fit, does the game not simply take you to the garage, the obvious place to be, and let you select a suitable vehicle? Even better, before entering the race you could be told that you don't have the correct vehicle in use or in your garage; why can't the deep, deep programming simply blank that race out, while making it obvious within the plethora or words on screen what you DO need to enter so you can go and buy it or not buy it?

It would make for a much less frustrating experience.

You will notice that I've not even got into car handling yet.

Let's let our newcomer, SPOnG's Mark Johnson, have a word, while I take a break.

The Newcomer
By Mark Johnson
It's a bit boring, really.

Is that enough said about Gran Turismo 5, one of the most hyped games of the year – indeed, in the PS3's lifetime? A game that's been in development for longer than dinosaurs have been extinct?

Yeah, OK, probably not. Fortunately for me, I'm not doing the heavy lifting in this review. Part of the reason for that, it's only fair to say, is that I'm not a massive fan of racing sims. I like my racers fast and at least a bit furious. But... still. You'd sort of expect that a tentpole game like this would have at least some appeal to anyone who likes any sort of racing game, right? Not so much.

I expected that, at the very least, GT5 would look beautiful. I thought that after all those years in development, it would look about as good as a current-gen game could possibly look. It looks OK. Certainly not awful. Certainly not as good as Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit either, though. It's sharp enough, but it just looks flat and a bit lifeless. The colour just really fails to give it any visual flair, and scenery and spectators often look like cardboard cut-outs.

I guess a lot of the development's gone into all that depth and those car physics, but the upshot of that is a set of menus and options that, to all but the most dedicated sim fan, are in danger of coming off as labyrinthine and unfathomable.

But the handling's very realistic! Probably. I mean, I've probably driven 10 or 20 different cars in my time, and none of them on race tracks, so I don't have much to compare it to. But it sure seems like they're handling realistically. Except for the fact I'm pretty sure that when you smash your car into another car in real 3D life, you don't just get a dull thud.

I know historically GT hasn't included damage due to licensing issues, but given that damage features in later parts of the game, why not all of it? It could have at least been cosmetic if Polyphony was concerned about 'real' damage causing difficulty issues. We're really supposed to buy no damage at all in a sim these days?

The real failing for me, though, is the disconnect between the speed you see on the speedometer and the speed you feel you're going at. I get that this isn't Burnout, and I even got into the more technical driving a bit as I played for longer, but any sense of speed just evaporates at way higher speeds than it ought to.
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Si J 25 Nov 2010 09:21
Yes..... I am sad to agree. I have looked forward to this game for eons.... and dare I say it I am disappointed. A Sad Day.
CaptSkyRocket 25 Nov 2010 11:18
Sad Panda :-(

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CaptSkyRocket 25 Nov 2010 11:33
Maybe all the weekly updates will make it into a happy panda:
CaptSkyRocket 25 Nov 2010 11:38
Rats, you have to open the above "happy panda" image in a new tab/page to see it! It is worth it though :-). Totally safe for work (in case you were wondering).
I expected it as there were No pre release reviews allowed 25 Nov 2010 12:52
I pre ordered this but I didn't open it until I read the reviews and also saw a friend "Playing" it.
Thankfully I did as I have now sent it back for a refund.

Seems like the main delay must of been each release of Forza was upstaging what they had ready of GT5..
Rutabaga 1 Dec 2010 14:48
When is this review going to be finished? Talk about Pot / Kettle etc.
Trigger 9 Dec 2010 17:15
It's a great game. Sure it might be a little unfinished and I can see why certain people can't navigate the menu's etc but at the end of the day it gets the driving/physics bit spot on and for that reason I love it!
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