Gran Turismo 5 Review

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Gran Turismo 5

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While GT5 could have done with more time, incredibly, to iron out a few of the kinks, there's so much quality on the track and so much to do off it that you'll easily forgive its shortcomings and revel in its successes -- of which there are many.

We like

  • The massive roster of cars and how they all handle differently
  • On the track, it's the ultimate racing sim with great driving physics
  • The game modes. Career mode is addictive and rewarding and then, of course, you can jump online in 16 player races

We dislike

  • The inconsistency of the graphics; some cars look excellent and others just look good. Same goes for the scenery
  • The B-Spec mode. Does anyone really want to watch a race and just bark out orders to the driver? Still, it might grow on us

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

In the five years that have passed since Gran Turismo 4 arrived on PlayStation 2, PSU Towers has experienced all sorts of life changing moments, from births and marriages to deaths and divorces. It really has been that long, hasn’t it? Inevitably, the long gap between GT4 and GT5, a life-time in the fast-moving world of videogames, breeds expectation, and as the release date drew near in the lead up to this latest iteration we couldn't help but wonder, along with many others, what exactly Polyphony Digital has done with its time and whether it has managed to create the ultimate racing sim that the fans demand. Well, the wait is over, almost. After an excruciating 45-minute install - they really do like to make us wait - we don't have to speculate any longer. Take that look of disbelief of your face for one second, because Gran Turismo 5 is a reality.

Over the years, many racing games have rather nonchalantly used the words ‘simulation’ and ‘customization’ to describe a realistic driving style on the tracks and the plethora of options at your fingertips, but most haven't delivered on either of those fronts in the same way that the Gran Turismo series has. Gran Turismo 5 is further proof of Polyphony Digital’s ambition to create an in-depth, technically astute, serious racing sim for those who love everything about cars. And though the extensive roster of 1000+ cars and the wealth of options available (not to mention the difficulty of trying to steer a car perfectly around a track) may be overwhelming for some - particularly those who usually get their kicks from arcade racers like Need For Speed - it will be unadulterated car porn for others.

The technological leap from PS2 to PS3 is a big one for Polyphony Digital but it's had a little bit of practice. Showcased in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue a couple of years ago, we've already seen how things have improved on the track, with sublime physics and realistic car handling, but the developer has now had even more time to polish things up and utilize the power of the PS3. Predictably - and reassuringly - the polygon count has been upped considerably and now the cars shine and shimmer in glorious HD. There’s now a track editor, a photo mode and plenty of familiar and new stuff to enjoy, including the 16 player-enabled online multiplayer mode. Though there are some aspects of GT5 that aren’t quite as fantastic as we hoped, such was our expectation, there's no doubt that Polyphony Digital has set a new standard among racing sims that’s going to take some beating.

Whether you’re flicking through the myriad of menus and sub-menus, or trawling through the used car market, visiting dealerships, or tweaking and tuning your vehicle, customizing your ride is part and parcel of the whole GT experience; and it's richer for it. You get a real kick from grinding through the career mode, earning credits and exp and improving your vehicles before taking the race online, but equally there's satisfaction to be had from unlocking various items and modes. Because you’re always reaching out to get to the next milestone or striving to get the next unlockable - whether it be a new special event to enter or whether you’re trying to earn just enough credits to purchase the car of your dream - it’s an addictive mechanic. And the further you throw yourself into GT5 the more rewarding it becomes as you get to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your cars and how to push them to their limits on their various courses.

The first thing that will strike you as soon as you start your first race is the quality of the graphics. Having already played on a few tracks at a Gran Turismo 5 preview event on a Sony Bravia 3D compatible T.V., it's clear that this could really be the game to help propel 3D gaming forward for Sony. Sadly we don’t own a 3D T.V., but we have reviewed GT5 on the beautiful Sony Bravia 37" Full HD 1080p LCD T.V. and it does look fabulous, mostly, thanks to the photo realistic backdrops and painstakingly created car models.

However, with ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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