Gran Turismo 5. This game has been in development for 6 years. In the beginning, there wasn't any type of game that could compete with it. The tracks, car details, everything was down to a science when Gran Turismo entered the racing scene back in 1997. Fast forward 13 years and we now have Gran Turismo 5 debuting on the PlayStation 3 in 2010 after being delayed multiple times. As many leaps GT5 makes, there are many more steps back.
When you first start Gran Turismo 5, you will be greeted with the standard EULA (End User License Agreement which says you can't do any illegal with the game) message and an option to install the game to your hard drive. Trust me, install the game or you will scream with agony. Depending on your hard drive space and what type of hard drive you are using, this can take at least an hour; even though the prompt may say 30-40 minutes. You figure you waited 6 years for the game to be released so what's an hour? After the installation is done, you have to wait a bit more to have the intro of the game to start up while constantly seeing the "Installing..." icon on the lower right of the screen. What more installing do you need if the game just installed a while ago? Just from this alone, getting through the game is going to be painful. Now, welcome to the main menu. Here are some of the options you can do:
Arcade Mode: Do some laps, rally, or some split screen with an opponent. GT TV: Watch some Gran Turismo videos (The actual Gran Turismo event videos, not the game) and shell out about 3 bucks for each one. These videos are a few years old so don't wouldn't waste your time. Options: Tweak your options here. GT Mode: This is the heart and potatoes of the game.
The first thing you come across when you first start the career mode is the highly awkward interface. Menus and icons are thrown all over the place which will leave you wondering, "6 years and I have to deal with a clumsy interface?" You choose the background and color of your menus and here you can go explore different assets of the career mode; assuming you aren't lost already. In order for you get racing, you need to buy a car. You start off with 20,000 credits, the game's currency, and of course you have to get a used car since the new ones are WAY above your price range. In previous Gran Turismos, you buy a car and it is automatically in your garage. Not this time around. Instead, you buy a car and you have to get it delivered to your garage. This illustrates the frustration of the game: too many steps to so one simple task. While you are looking at the cars, it takes a while for each car to load up to the screen. The PlayStation 3 can handle that kind of power....right? Well, if the developers of the game actually offered a COMPLETE INSTALL, this could have been avoided.
Another gripe with getting cars is the leveling system. For the races you compete in and place in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you gain experience points. Get enough and you will reach a new level. A lot of the cars you want you can't get. You may have the money but your driver level isn't the pre-requisite to obtain the car. For example, you start off at level 0. You want that 1995 Subaru Impreza WRX. You have the money for it but you need to be level 2 to buy it. This means you have to start grinding a lot to obtain that car you want; which is more of a farce than fun.
Well, maybe you are like me and you just want to start getting the licenses first to get to the higher events. This means you have to buy a car...that you can't use for the license test. SERIOUSLY!? Who buys a car first to get their license second and then you can't even use your own car for licensing in the game? The logic makes no sense.
After all of that, you get into a race. It may take up to 30 seconds, if you have the game installed, to have the race start. If not, start reading a book since it will take you about 80 seconds or more to have the race start. Sometimes, races and event take less time to finish than to have the game load the race. Weird, huh?
Gran Turismo 5 has beautiful graphics, track layouts and textures. The lighting is dead on perfect and the cars are accurately displayed to their real-world counterparts. But there are about 200 premium cars in the game that get the most treatment. These "premium" cars have their dashboards displayed, wonderful looking textures and they do not disappoint. For the other 800 cars, they are listed as "standard". These cars just looked like they came from Gran Turismo 4 just slightly upscaled with no in-car dash camera. 6 years and only a 1/5 of the cars get the awesome treatment? Not a good job. If you hit anything while driving, you can't really tell. This was an issue with Gran Turismo; no real life damage modeling. Although Kazunori Yamaguchi, CEO of Gran Turismo 5 developer Polyphony Digital, says there will be some content in December, it's too little too late. Maybe putting that into the disc in the first place would have been a good idea.
I don't consider myself a fanboy because I own the 3 consoles, but Gran Turismo 5 a major disappointment. I really wanted to like it but I fell into the pre-game hype. Some flash, not much substance and a timer until I chuck this out of the window.
Beautiful game with many events. Different racing conditions (night, day, weather).
Loading times and installation times are a joke, start reading a book while you wait 30 seconds for your 15 second race. Navigating through menus is a brutal pain. 80% of the cars are standard and they have lower resolution textures that look recycled from Gran Turismo 4, poor lighting and no in-car camera. Lack of car tuning. Terrible music. Can't customize your car.
Players: 1 - 16 Rating: Everyone Platform: PlayStation 3 Genre: Racing Release Date: November 24, 2010 MSRP: $59.99 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: Polyphony Digital