I’ve always been a huge Gran Turismo fan, and I’ve been waiting for Gran Turismo 5 to come out, I have to say… I wasn’t disappointed. Although the GT series has changed dramatically changed over the years, there has never been such an impressive driving experience. From the details of the cars, to the accuracy of the tracks, Polyphony Digital has taken it to a whole other level this time!

Even though it’s the best version to date (and arguable the best driving experience on any console ever), It isn’t perfect, and it has a few imperfections. To better explain what I mean, Let’s start things off with a little Pros / Cons analysis:

 

PROS:

1) The Graphics: Gran Turismo 5 is simply BEAUTIFUL. Truly unbelievable and accurate. The physics are pure from the largest to the smallest of details. I enjoy watching replays of my races not only to see certain parts of the race, but simply to watch the cars themselves. The detail doesn’t just stop with the cars either… the tracks are beautiful, in any weather condition.

2) Weather: It’s self explanatory really… the game now includes a variety of weather conditions, including both rain and snow. Taking part in a rally race is a pleasure on white snowy roads and white clouds of snow blowing in your face as you race behind another car.

3) Control: As to be expected, the gameplay feels pretty much the same to GT 5 Prologue, with the exception of a feel welcomed tweaking with steering and control. It’s tweaked for realism very nicely in places that Prologue really needed it. Each car has it’s own unique feel to it. You can easily distinguish the differences between the acceleration and handling even in similar type sports cars. Polyphony Digital really paid attention and put in a lot of work to make this the most realistic version yet.

4) Additional game modes: With over a thousand cars, seventy tracks, and a lot of different game modes, Gran Turismo 5 is not short of content. Special races allow you to unlock things like NASCAR Drifting, Go-Karts, and much much more. The games system of credits (money) remains, and an experience aspect of the career mode is necessary to progress in the game, and unlock the ability to purchase more expensive cars. You cannot just buy the best car with enough money alone by competing in the same race over and over to get the money… this game demands skill to move forward.

5) Damage: That’s right, damage has been added to GT5. Cars can actually change in appearance as they get banged up as the race goes on (although it’s hardly noticeable).

6) Soundtrack: I just like the soundtrack, so I added that in with the Pros.

CONS

1) Damage: The inclusion of damage has been a huge request from Polyphony Digital’s gaming audience. I know personally I was looking forward to it when it was announced that GT5 would include it. However, after seeing it in action the only way I can honestly describe it is “Pathetic.” Damage to vehicles that crash and bang into other vehicles is a common thing, and would complete the “realistic” driving experience that Polyphony Digital claims to try to create. The problem with how it’s been done with GT5 is obvious after playing it though… It’s not nearly enough. Even a high-speed collision with a concrete barrier leaves only a tiny dent in your bumper. A few pixels are out of place after T-boning another driver, and I notice nothing at all when getting rear-ended. GT5 would have benefited a lot from having a more accurate damage system, even one that would have a greater effect on how the car performs would have been better than what I got. I feel almost cheated.

2) Stupid AI: Now matter how good of a driver you are, you’ll likely never finish a race without banging into something, and it’s not really your fault. The AI in this game have gotten a bit dumber I think, often breaking and swerving into their lines without any regard to your location or driving habits. In many cases, success in this game has just as much to do with taking advantage of other cars as it does knowing the tracks.

3) Challenges and Time trials: It’s insanely difficult, even for an avid GT driver like myself to complete the challenges for Gold. Polyphony Digital demands a level of perfection out of drivers that could quite possibly frustrate or even get them angry when they fail. Taking the suggested line so perfect is okay, as long as you brake, turn, and accelerate without a single timing error. For the most part, get used to getting silver. I mean… they are difficult, and will take a lot of time out of your life to perfect your talents. That’s exactly what’s needed for gold… hard working perfection.

4) Online play: This likely isn’t fair, but I have to come and say it anyways: Polyphony Digital wasn’t ready for this much of a load on their servers. Although it’s getting better, and will likely improve as time goes on, the game’s online play at the moment is far from reliable. Sony and Polyphony Digital are working to fix it.

5) Achievements and Goals displayed??: The things you achieve and the unlocks you’ve earned are never displayed to you, until after you exit to the menu again. I would have liked to have that in my face after a race. :(

Overall:

This game is fantastic and very fun. The game is simply beautiful and the details that have been placed in front of me are astonishing. Polyphony Digital has stepped it up big time with Gran Turismo 5, creating a new standard for racing, and all other genres of games to come. If every game designer took as much care and paid as much attention to details as Polyphony Digital did with their Gran Turismo series…. we’d never have to deal with a bad game rental again!

I’ve been waiting a long time for this to get on the shelves. I’m happy that it’s finally here, and I feel for those of you who truly want a racing experience (with I actually have used in real driving for myself) on their consoles, this is the only game you should buy. At $59.99, the game is just the same as all the rest of the new PS3 games out there, but as far as racing games go: This one gives you far more. If you are a racing fan, GET IT!

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