First revealed at E3 back in 2005, Gran Turismo 5 is almost as elusive as Duke Nukem Forever. We’ve been waiting a long time, but with it announced that the game will finally release all being well in 2010 it looks like the perfectionists over at Polyphony Digital might actually have a product their happy with. Big thing is, has it been worth the wait?
Delivering the perfect simulation is Gran Turismo’s raison d’être, the last four incarnations taking realism further and further, letting car nerds like myself rejoice over the finer details of each model.
The masses got their first taste of the new game with Gran Turismo 5: Prologue which will have been out for over two years when the full version hits the shelves. In our review we praised the graphics and the gameplay, but the lack of damage left it short of being a ‘true’ simulation but fear not, damage will be included in the final version in some form.
Dynamic weather is another feature that is being possibly touted, “the functionality is not a problem, we’ve got the weather system done but if we are not sure about the quality of it, and how it improves the driving experience, we are not going to have it in the game” said Kazunori Yamauchi. Features like dynamic weather and damage are what GT5 needs, the game needs to build on the foundations set by Prologue (the fantastic visuals, solid handling) and improve upon them. Bouncing off walls in previous games took away from the sense of realism and added in an arcadey feel at times, not what Polyphony envisaged. The addition of weather could prove to be perilous to those who underestimate it, and coupling it with damage, could make some races very tense indeed.
One area that needed drastic improvement from Prologue was the online play, which was to be frank, a shambles. So many other players treated it like the dodgems online, and the fact that you couldn’t choose to race with friends etc. was to say the least, stupid. The way the game went about updating itself too was dire, hours spent wasted to download one update, finally getting to the point where it’d finish and you’d cruelly be told it had failed. Menus too were something I had issue with.
Yes yes, they were very pretty, and being able to see your pride and joy at various locations like the London track or overlooking some pretty mountains, but it made navigation oh so slow. Menu’s aren’t the be all and end all of a game, so Polyphony, care to speed them up a bit? Not everything has to be a visual spectacular.
The A.I. will hopefully have been sharpened up by the time GT5 arrives. In previous games, your fellow racers would stick very closely to the racing line and had no ‘va va voom’, no sense that you were racing against real drivers who would be prepared to take risks to get that next place. If the same happens with GT5, it’ll be an awfully sedate racers, and frankly make races a tad boring if the A.I. don’t take chances.
Enough bashing and on to some positives. Gran Turismo 5 is set to feature around 1000 cars approximately 70 tracks for you to crash race on, the largest in the series to date. For all Top Gear fans out there the TG test track will be among those 70, think you can best The Stig’s times? Well, now you give it your best shot. Arguable the worlds best track, and the best track from Gran Turismo 4 also returns, the fearsome Nürburgring. Race tracks don’t get much more epic, or dangerous.
We’ve got until March before the game see’s the light of day in Japan, and with a demo not far off we’ll finally get to see what changes PD have made, be they incremental or monumental.