Review by DDark
Better than GT was before - if that's possible
Well, here's a review based on the first 48 hours of playing the game. By way of introduction, I'm a player since the first GT game, and have loved them all along...
New Gameplay Elements
Damage is back for the first time since GT2, and there is also the ability to roll the car (something that has so far only happened to me once). Night time racing, as well as weather, both feature, and this time you can use wipers and headlights, This gives a good feeling of driving at night. The only thing that was really lacking in the GT games so far has been the number of cars on the track at once. Things have been improved this time around, with arcade mode featuring typically 12 cars. Rally events have 4 cars, which is an improvement on 2, and online has 16 cars, which is enough to stop anybody getting bored if they race ahead on the first lap of a long race, (At this point, you might have found out all you wanted to know, in which case, head over to Amazon or something. If you haven't played Gran Turismo before, read on...)
The graphics are outstanding, as can be seen in screenshots and videos. Although I'm not playing in HD or 3D, everything is spectacular. The draw distance is as good as infinite - something which really helps with the rally tracks that take place on hills - you can really notice the foreground going right the way up in front of you. Frame rate is impeccable, and I would expect it to be frighteningly fast when you've bought a really fast car. Speaking of cars, they are amazing, as you would expect when they use half a million polygons. To be honest, the standard cars are good enough as it is, and since I use the in-car view (without visible dash), having premium cars makes no difference to me. Sound is great as well - it's in 7.1 channels of 48kHz PCM, which makes the engines really immersive, especially during overtaking. Music is also good, with loads of rock (My Chemical Romance, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Them Crooked Vultures, QOTSA, Scorpions), as well as classical (Ravel, Chopin, Danny Boy!) and plenty of dance and jazz as well.
GT has been criticized in the past for not having some of the Italian supercars. For me, this doesn't make much difference - how many legitimate races have Lamborghini actually won?! Still, Lambo, Pagani, Audi, Bugatti, Maserati etc are all there. There are even two Ferrari F1 cars. However, for me, a game is bigger than having one or two special cars. If anything, the size of the roster is more important than what's actually in it. As far as I know, this is the first game to have over 1000 cars, so more than enough for any sane person. The everyday cars that people actually own are all there, so you'll be able to find out what lap time your dad's Renault can do against your VW or whatever.
Apparently there are 71 of them, although some of these are repeated. I get the feeling that day/night/variable, and the weather conditions, could have been selected in the next menu level down, rather than listing them as separate. In any case, Indianapolis, Monza, Le Mans, Nurburgring, Daytona etc are all there, as are the streets of London, Tokyo, Rome, etc. And who could forget the Top Gear Test Track? We now finally have a reason to use the Volvos and whatever.
For me, it's always been about the handling of the cars, the depth, and the realism. Compared to GT4, the light mid-engined cars seem slightly more twitchy than they were before. Not having driven a light, mid-engined car, I have no idea how close this is to the real thing, but everything else feels spot on. The game encourages you to practice to get the right racing line, and then you have all the detailed engine/suspension modifications and transmission/aero setup, etc. This is a game that will last an age, both in single-player and the online/offline multiplayer. Other modes like the course maker, karting, team management, GPS-linking, drift mode, PSP-transfer, and the photo mode are just nice extras, but the core simulation is where this game is at.
So, to sum up the game, bearing in mind it's not been out for long, I'd say it's a great game, and a clear improvement over the previous game, (which I'd put at the top of their class to begin with). My first impressions are that this is a game well worth getting if you take cars seriously.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Gran Turismo 5 (EU, 11/24/10)
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