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Gran Turismo 5 Review
publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
developer: Polyphony Digital
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Nov 24, 10 (released)
|» All About Gran Turismo 5 on ActionTrip|
This one has been a long time coming. Most PlayStation 3 owners have probably been expecting it for a while. Gran Turismo 5 is here at long last. Like many games, it fails to live up to the hype it was marketed with. Have you ever played a racing game? Okay, well, that's basically what you can expect from Gran Turismo 5, only no police, the least satisfying damage modeling I've ever seen, and more cars than you could ever know what to do with.
This game has a lot of cars. This seems to be the game's primary selling point, and the developer's number one interest. The game is true to life in that it offers make, model and year, along with miscellaneous variants, but this seems like overkill.
I want this car...
What this plethora of cars results in is overwhelming. The classifieds section of a major newspaper doesn't list this many cars for sale. Used car websites would be seriously challenged by the number of vehicles available. There are almost too many cars, after all who is really going to be concerned with the differences between a 2002 Mazda RX-8 and a 2003, let alone a '77 Nissan FairLady versus a '78? Wouldn't one suffice? The game also offers a large variety of cars that you wouldn't bother stealing, let alone enter in a race, although strangely, there isn't a Porsche to be found, much to my personal disappointment as a germanophile.
There are two methods of purchasing cars; you either visit a pre-selected lot at various dealerships, or a randomly generated assortment of used cars. The used car list is just a mess of information and vehicles you probably aren't interested in. The dealerships offer cars by make, and while there are fewer cars, they're at least new. The used cars tend to need to be worked on after you buy them to get them up to snuff, which burns through a lot of in game money.
You earn in-game money by competing in either A-Spec or B-Spec races. In A-Spec, you get to drive the car like any other racing game. In B-Spec, you get to tell another driver what to do, which is about as exciting as it sounds. I didn't play much of the B-Spec before writing this review, mostly because I found it to be horribly dull. If that sounds like a good time to you, then by all means, have at it.
Both A-Spec and B-Spec offer a large variety of different races (although they're the same races for each), which are typically restricted to a specific type of automobile. This can be painfully limiting, as you'll need to hunt down a type of car you won't already have, and not only that, you'll need to find a relatively good version of this restricted car type. Some of these races are understandable, like muscle cars, or classic cars, or super car races. Others are downright silly, like having to race a Japanese car built before 1980 or a specific type of Mazda, or only sport trucks, a type of car I have yet to see available for purchase. These are all painfully restrictive and will take a while for you to earn the money to get the car necessary to play that specific race.
Most races are decided by who has the better car, either you or the computer. The AI is your typical racing AI. It more or less follows a pre-programmed track, and how well it does is entirely dependent on how well suited for that race whatever car being driven is. The computer is less cheat happy than your average computer racing opponent, but still capable of cheating nonetheless. Even if you have the exact same car as one that the computer is driving, the computer's version of that car will accelerate quicker, brake faster, and have a significantly higher top end. Don't be surprised when you're maxed out on a straightaway and the computer blows past you driving the exact same car, but you can be frustrated. I certainly was.
So, the trick to winning races is simply to have the nicest car you can get into the race. In order to do this you'll need lots and lots of money. In order to get that you'll have to race, but you won't have the right cars to enter most races. So instead you'll play the same races over and over and over again, until you get the cash to get a car worth racing in another race. This also means you won't really be able to go out and buy whatever you want and race it, except in the few races that the car qualifies for.
A decent racing game, lots of different cars, plenty of stuff to do and see, looks good, sounds decent enough;
It can be a little overwhelming, and tremendously repetitive. There's nothing you haven't seen before. You will probably become terminally bored before you finish the game.