Let me make this clear: I have no ties to Sony Computer Entertainment, I’m not getting a free review copy of the game, and I will not be receiving compensation of any sort for this preview… or the subsequent review when the game is released.
I’m just a guy who really likes racing and racing games.
My current favorite racing titles? Need For Speed: Shift and Forza Motorsports 2 (Forza 3 didn’t really do it for me).
That being said, the combination of being a racing fan and writing game reviews has come with a penalty; the eternal wait for Gran Turismo 5 has been unbearable.
With a firm release date of November 2, 2010 the wait may finally be over.
Has the development cycle been so long that the game has stagnated, been passed by other franchises in design and performance, that it will release with a whimper and a groan?
While we’ve been waiting for GT5, Microsoft has released TWO Forza Motorsports games, and EA has reinvigorated racing titles with it’s sublime title Need For Speed: Shift.
Playing a 3D demo at E3 rekindled my interest, and set me on a mission to compile a list of features, and things to look forward to experiencing.
This is that list, and I’m a little afraid it’s going to sound like a press release.
Polyphony Digital has made claims that they have had to work very hard to keep the game on a single Bluray disk. The content squeezed onto that single platter is astonishing: 1000+ cars, 20 tracks (with 70 unique layouts), a fully functioning platform for streaming car related video, photo sessions, multiplayer racing… and more.
GT games have always included a ridiculous amount of content (GT5 Prologue being the notable exception), but have been a little thin on player requested features.
To that point, car damage has been added to the franchise (although only accurately modeled in about 200 ‘special’ vehicles), crowds dynamics have been improved (more variation and movement, even going so far as to include more tents and motorhomes depending on the length of a race), 24 hour races with shifting lighting and headlamps (including high and low beams), accurate graffiti from real world race tracks (profanity will be removed), and a track editor. Let me say that last one again: A TRACK EDITOR.
Accused of being ‘Euro-centric’ in the past, GT5 is also making headway in the United States by including NASCAR teams and venues. ALL of the current NASCAR venues… and the ability to take any car in the game to those tracks.
The first time I can take a Bugatti Veyron to Talladega, I just might lose my mind.
Although still very European, I’m also looking forward to running a Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear’s test track. It will be included as well, so that all console gear heads can see if they can beat The Stig.
For me? That’s worth the price of admission alone.
If you just feel like hanging out with your friends you’ll be able to host ‘Track Days’. Friends will be able to jump in and out of your game lobby, driving a few laps, observing each other for new tips and tricks, or just chatting. All safely hidden behind a password restricted front-end. No griefing allowed.
Feel like mixing it up with drivers from around the world? GT5 will support 16 player PS Network races and if you’re looking for more intimate challenges, 2 player split-screen will be supported.
Add to all of this the ability to import unlocked cars from GT PSP or GT5 Prologue (Arcade mode only) and a screen capture utility that will take pictures of your car at an astonishing 18 MEGAPIXELS, and I think Polyphony Digital has shoe-horned in just about enough to give even a casual racing fan a coronary.
I’m sure there are other features I’ve missed (like 3D support and head tracking with a Playstation Eye), but if the game includes even half of what I’ve mentioned, and these things worth… I’m going to be a happy racer.
Now… I gotta get back to unlocking cars in GT PSP.
While I’m doing that, check out this video.
“While racing the 24 hours of Nurburgring, you can smell people’s barbecues — we couldn’t recreate that.” — Kazunori Yamauchi
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