Gran Turismo 5 Prologue PS3 Review

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Most drivers would say that the joy of competitive racing is braking at the right time, nailing an apex, guiding your car perfectly around a corner, then putting your foot down to get the perfect amount of spend for the upcoming straight. Conversely, most gamers would say the joy of most driving games is pure escapism, trashing your car around tight right angle turns without a care in the world, and without any notion of what a brake is. However, the Gran Turismo series is one of the few games that remain a happy medium between the two. It’s realistic enough to impress the harshest of motor journalists, but showcases enough smarts to also entertain the wide-reaching array of gamers across the world.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is no different, and in fact ups that realism to an insanely high level. Not only in its boasting of tossing around 200,000 polygons, but also in the way physics differ for each car, at times offering infinitesimal but still noticeable changes in the way you must drive each car. Making sure each is different it from the one before.

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The game kicks off as it has always done, giving you a set amount of cash, and making you look through the lower tier cars for something to kick off your burgeoning career in. You then start to race said car though a selection of events – although you don’t get to upgrade them in this release. Also, seeing as the game is not a full release – we’ll have to wait another year for that – you are not really going to get a title that will grab you for a huge length of time. However, with 30 events split over three classes, and a huge selection of cars there is still a lot to play here. As a result the game does just about enough to justify its prologue tag, and break away from the mockery of been labelled a glorified demo.

Of course as with all GT games this one still has familiar problems. The menus are over complicated, taking five separate screens to do something that should only take two. You also have to play for around 20 hours to truly experience the best the game has to offer – that’s an F1 car in case you are not up to date. Furthermore, the familiar GT problem of drivers that lack personality persists, as every car you face on the track feels like a lifeless automaton that move around the course on a rigidly set path right from the starting line, straight to the finish. If you try and get in the way of their single minded nature you’ll be rammed out of the way. In a slight improvement some of the cars now seem to make ‘mistakes,’ although when it does happens it always seems to be on the same part of a track every time, which is yet another mark against the somewhat robotic nature of the game’s AI.

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However, due to a nice online mode (which unfortunately currently boasts a few asshats that want to play bumper cars instead of drive), and a spectacular in-car first person view showing the drivers hands reaching to change gears and make the smallest, diminutive movements with the steering wheel to match yours there is enough available to make it a worthwhile buy. 16 player races, some Time and Trial Drift and Trial modes, and the promise of future downloadable high-definition videos from Gran Turismo TV just make it even better.

So, when all is said and done Gran Turismo 5 Prologue does exactly what you’d expect it to, offering an interesting look at where the series is going in the future. In truth, not much of the core gameplay has changed, and it is still a GT game, albeit one that even more perfectly recreates what it’s like to get behind a wheel dream cars. In the same vein, all the vehicles on show have even more personality than ever before, all with their own roar, small interior touches, and little eccentricities that make them fun to learn how to handle, and then perform an immaculate lap with further down the line. In the end, it is still the same old GT we know and love. You don’t have to know that the Aston Martin V8 Vantage boasts 4.3 litre 380HP V8 to enjoy it, but it certainly does help.

Though let’s not forget it still just a taster of what’s to come.

7/10

by

Version tested: PS3

Developer: Polyphony Digital

Publisher: SCEE

Genre: Sim Racer