Features// Gran Turismo 5

Posted 24 Nov 2010 08:01 by
You're supposed to drive as you would in a real car, slowing down for corners appropriately and accelerating out of them. The thing is, in a real car you get a sensation of speed that makes it clear when you should decelerate or brake.

I know an accurate sense of speed can't be fully conveyed in a game in the way it can in the world of hard objects, but in GT5 you can feel like you've almost ground to a halt, then look at your speedometer and discover you're supposedly still doing 40mph. Trundling along at what feels like 8mph can really kill a race's excitement.

There is, however, a lot of depth in GT5 that can't be ignored. You certainly get your money's worth out of it in terms of sheer volume of content. I'm sure that for hardcore racing sim fans that will be plenty to get them along to the shops. But, if that's not you, just go buy Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit instead.

Back to the Arcade
By Tim Smith
Thanks to Mark for that.

So, off my Interface-as-game-experience-dampner jag and into the racing. Let's get back to the arcade shall we? Yes, the arcade. I know you're all gearing up for the A-Series and B-Series events, and the Specials. I'll get there. But let's look at the arcade, split-screen two-player for people with mates that they actually have round to their houses.

It's sort of arcade racing with cars that handle like the cars in the Simulation areas (A-Series and Specials to you). You have a selection of cars – by no means the 1,000+ that you apparently have access to in the “big boys” races. I say “apparently” because I've not had time to buy them all yet...

You can also take your Favourite cars and cars from your Portable (PSP) garage into the fight. The longer you play, the more favourites you have, the more cars you get to arcade around the place with. This I like. This is a good idea. The interface is – bar the fact that you can't side scroll in reverse order so that first to last is one press of the D-Pad – clean, tidy and makes sense. It's simple and it simply works.

Yes, getting into arcade mode works nicely. I think this is possibly because Polyphony Digital gave that to the B-team of interface designers... the ones who play car-driving games.

In terms of car-handling, graphics and sound...

Neither Tyrion nor myself in split-screen had any huge moans about the look or sound. “Very pleasant. Very unassuming. Quite dull really. Why are the people so quiet? Why does my car sound roughly the same at 90 as it does at 130 or 80?” Were the kinds of things we said.

“It runs smoothly in split-screen though. No tear. No pop-up...”, we were in London, but we were right. In other tracks however, with more cars than the paltry two you get as default in Arcade, the screen can get messy with tear. And do not get me onto the truly horrible, jagged shadow maps.

Now, I always play inside-the-car when I race. Everybody else here prefers outside. That includes Tyrion. I, it must be said, was getting something of a feeling of speed - in London in Minis, Rome in Zonda's, Suzuka in MX-5s (that's what I call them). I was feeling some speed. Those – as Mark indicated earlier – who side with the outside the car view, did not.

Now, let's have a word from a man who has Gran Turismo in his blood. Over to SPOnG's Doctor Dee.

By Marcus Dyson
South American Formula One driver Grant Urismo was a major pash of mine in the 1990s. He had a dramatic and some would say negative effect on me. He made me spend HOURS and HOURS playing video games. And HOURS.

He persuaded made me to take the racing line on every bend I drove round for about four years. He caused my wife to be scared for her life on every roundabout. He made me go out and buy a Mitsubishi FTO GPX-Mivec. This was an astounding agile car that ate country lane miles like no car I have had since, despite some having over twice the horsepower.

Gran Turismo resulted in long lazy afternoons at my mate Oscar's house, and late crazy nights at my colleague Gareth's. Screaming and cackling as we bashed and crashed, and then raced and finessed our way round tracks we began to know like the back of our eyelids. GT was, for a while, the greatest game that had ever existed.

Then came GT2. Then came GT3. Each better, bigger, more beautiful than the last. Then, there must have been GT4. Logically there MUST have been though no one here remembers anything about it (the SPOnG database does, Tim) Maybe we were still busy playing Burnout 2?

And now, the latest in a long line of sacred classics. A game so iconic so genre defining, so... late... and not late because it's just late, but late because it has been created by a team driven to perfection. A team who have driven, tested, sampled and recreated in an ultra realistic physics world, 1300 driving machines. A game that should, if past performance were any guarantee of future performance, redefine our paradigms.

Now it is here.

And how is it? Almost unimaginably bad. Whereas earlier Gran Turismo games trod a fine line between arcade driving games and sims, Polyphony have become increasingly obsessed with the latter, while trying still not to close the door on fans of the former. The result is a dead husk of a game, all the fun sucked out of it by the accuracy vampires.

Of course, a game like this will be loved, and orgasmed over by many. And I am prepared to fight those people to the death, not in a some on line dreary driving game, but in a real fist fight, over their stupidity. This game sucks. It lacks that one essential ingredient that all great, good or even okay games have to have... fun.

Take for instance the much touted, and highly anticipated (but actually quite shit) Top Gear test track. It's available to "race" as a special. But unlike every other race in GT5 if you exclude the 'get-your-license' events, if you happen to bump another vehicle, or if you put a wheel outside the painted on course marker lines, you get... disqualified. Disqualified. WTF!

I want to race to the finish line, in a gripping and compelling mano-a-mano test of skill and determination. I do not want Richard – the Hamster - Hammond to flag me down and red card me. That's just shit.

At least that's what everyone else said. I said that putting the TG track in there in the first place was just pandering to the kind of wankers who love that TV show – a show that is more about Clarkson's ego than it is about cars. A show for people who get off about thinking about driving more than they do about driving. People who never get up at 02:00 and drive to the Dales in order to have the roads to themselves.

If you want the TG test track in there, then face the reality: it is not a race track, it's an abandoned airstrip. So they have to make stupid arbitrary rules. Cones and lines have to define the “track”, and if you cross those lines to freeform your way to the finish, to jazz race to victory, you break the rules as you would on a real track.

My argument held some water, and I was looked at with some credibility. But, "What about the you can't bump another car rule?” my friends and colleagues asked. And I had to admit.. they had me there. What is with that shit?

Reality Bites
One of GT5's problems may be it's surfeit of realism... though it's hard to say! I've driven several Lotus Elises, and none of them handle the way the ones in the game do. Rather than the go-kart like directness, which can be provoked into predictable oversteer in the game, the cars in the game are vague and saggy before they spin out precociously. But there is every possibility that this is down to how accurately they handle.
<< prev    1 2 3 4 -5- 6   next >>

Read More Like This


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 :-(

more comments below our sponsor's message
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!
Posting of new comments is now locked for this page.