Mini Review – Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

Mini Review – Gran Turismo 5

Racing Sim

Get orf my land!




Finally!  After a long wait, Polyphony Digital get this 3-5 year monkey off their back and, for what it’s worth, it’s a Gran Turismo game.  You drive some of the world’s finest and worst cars at fine locales in sharp, high-definition.  You’ll battle remarkably dim AI drivers for credits and grind for more as you look to improve your garage.  If you didn’t like it five years ago, you’ll not like it now.  A lot of assets return from the previous game like track textures and a large chunk of the car list are all recycled to take the number over 1000.

Yeah, pedal on the right, Love.

Yeah, pedal on the right, Love.

So what have they been doing since 2005?  Well, the effort’s gone into other areas.  There’s a lovely 7 minute intro to greet you and the usual game modes return with the GT mode being your bread and butter.  It plays out exactly as fans have come to expect, with a couple of exceptions.  Falling in line with every other racing game, you win experience for races and that now becomes your main barrier for entry when it comes to events and access to cars making the dreaded license tests now optional.  That’ll be a huge relief to some but you always get rewards for clearing them.

B-Spec mode returns with its own career path.  It’s a good way to double the curtailed event count and earn extra cash but, as you coach an AI driver to victory, you’ll need extremely powerful cars to clear the most basic events as your prodigy hopelessly struggles and makes the same mistakes.  It’s arguably the most frustrating aspect of the whole game.

Online is becoming a more integral part of the experience and, whilst I haven’t tried the racing, you’re allowed to share photos, cars and tracks with each other.  It’s very social but the game isn’t very user friendly with its menus.  Whilst trying to fall in line, it’s also trying to maintain the niche the series has always had.  It’s a very car-centric game that leans towards driving more than racing.  Yes, you’re pitted in races all the time but you’re mostly aiming to find a car to absolutely spank events.

There’s a bit more variety in the racing as you’re pitted in rally events and early on you get to ride go karts which is easily the most fun vehicle going.  There are appearances from Top Gear’s Stig, Sebastian Loeb and a rather creepy Jeff Gordon.  A lot of effort and money went towards the special events but the Top Gear section seem rather badly done as you race VW Camper vans in what is an awful introduction to the test track.

It’s an oddly designed game but it’s for a very niche crowd.  Polyphony Digital knows who they make this game for and this should tick the right boxes for those folks.  If you wanted a competitive racer, you’ve come to the wrong place.  If you just want to drive, you’re in luck.


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