|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Polyphony Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (16 online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
But enough with single-player; let's move on to the online modes. I am not kidding when I tell you that the online modes in this game are seriously epic. You've got thirty-five modes to choose from the moment you boot up the game, and if the "new" tags are any indication, there are plenty more to come. But there is somewhat of a catch to the online experience. You can't just hop into a Pro-rated match as soon as you boot up the game. You'll have to unlock different license and vehicle classes to be able to compete in some of the more advanced online modes. But even with a beginner's license, there is still a lot to love in the online modes.
You may be wondering how you can possibly get thirty-five modes out of a racing simulator with so few tracks. Well, the idea is actually pretty cool. Each of the online modes emphasizes a different strategy for beating the competition. For example, one mode emphasizes using the slipstream technique to pass your opponents. Another one focuses on navigating tight corners. The online modes are really a great compliment to the single-player modes, and though it may sound a little unorthodox, the online modes actually bolster the single player component rather than detract from it. The two components of the game really just work well together.
Sound in this game is first-rate. The menu music is very jazzy and matches the very classy menu look. The gameplay music is a lot more uptempo and features several rock tunes, as well as some generic driving tunes. Sound effects, however, are where this game really excels. Each car has its own motor sound effects, and if you have watched the "Beyond the Apex" documentary, then you can actually see them recording these motor sounds. It is a really cool detail, and it is undeniably another immersive factor of the game.
Control in this game is extremely straightforward and has you using the X button to accelerate and the square button to brake. You can also use the O button to use your e-brake, but I would only recommend using this control for drifting events. Even though the control seems straightforward enough, I must note that this game represents the very finest in precision-based control, and if you are a newcomer to the driving simulation genre, you may have some trouble with the controls at first. But I would encourage you to hang in there, because as soon as you get it, you won't be able to put the controller down!
Although I have been nothing but complementary in this review so far, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is not without its faults. One thing I was disappointed with was the amount of tracks offered. There are only six individual tracks, each with one modification in case you want to switch it up a bit. Because there are such a vast amount of cars in this title, I was expecting there to be more content here in terms of tracks to race the cars on. Another thing I was somewhat disappointed in was the lack of any sort of crash physics. But supposedly these are getting a major overhaul before the release of Gran Turismo 5, so here's hoping that this issue is resolved before the game's final release.
Overall, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue certainly proved to be worth the hype. I was excited for this game, and when I finally started playing the full version, I was in awe of how amazing this game really felt. The Gran Turismo series has always set the standards high, but this game literally blows all other driving sims out of the water. Once you really spend some time with this title, you'll have a hard time going back to Project Gotham Racing or Forza Motorsports. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue definitely lives up to its title as "The Real Driving Simulator." This game must be experienced for automotive fans as well as Sony fans, and I can almost guarantee that you'll have a blast playing this title. But be warned: this gaming bliss does have its cost: once you delve into Prologue, you won't be able to wait for Gran Turismo 5! Oh, the agony!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer