|Pub: Polyphony Digital|
|Release: November 24, 2010|
|Players: 1 - 16|
|Screen Resolution: 480p - 1080p||Mild Lyrics|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Gran Turismo 5 is out. No more delays, pushbacks, or excuses. The release is enough to get any serious automotive gaming fan excited, and by the time this review is published, I am nearly certain that die-hard automotive fans will have already picked up and played this title. But for those of you who aren't willing to brave the midnight launch or who are wondering what all the hype is about, I'll let you in on a little secret: Gran Turismo 5 is amazing. If you are on the fence about this title, or favor another automotive brand, it's time to put away your prejudices and get ready for an awesome experience.
Gran Turismo 5, at its heart, is exactly what fans expect it to be. The game's racing credentials are as solid as they have ever been, and racing around the track with your ride of choice is at once incredibly challenging but deeply enjoyable. The simulation-style mechanics have been re-tooled for Gran Turismo 5, and you can tell that a lot of work went into the minutia of each car. Driving a VW Golf around the High Speed Loop and driving around the Rome location track with a tuned Ferrari California are two completely different experiences with their own unique set of challenges. The Golf is a low-level car, and you'll be able to speed up at a reasonable rate, but keeping up with the competition and controlling your turns will be where the game's difficulty ramps up. And although you may believe that the better the car, the smoother your ride will be, Gran Turismo 5 makes sure the challenge stays constant, as high performance cars can be difficult to navigate through hairpin turns. Each car in the game feels different to drive, and with the game's 1,000+ garage, the gameplay never gets stale. There is constantly a new experience waiting for you as you unlock more cars for your personal garage.
In addition to the massive garage, the game also features tuning options. While the breadth of the tuning options isn't all that deep, you can replace basic parts like shocks and tires, as well as swap out drivetrains and chassis. Each car has three levels of customization for each area, and the development for each car is unfortunately linear. Still, saving up the cash to tune up your favorite car is a rewarding experience, and you'll see a difference in performance after every tune-up.
Let's shift gears for a moment (pun intended) and talk about the actual gameplay. The game's main mode, GT Mode, includes every mode you'll need (except for arcade mode and local co-op) and includes a plethora of modes that will keep you busy for months. The primary mode is the A-spec racing mode, which gives players a chance to enter tournaments, win prizes, and increase their driver rank. Although there is no over-arching structure to the A-spec mode, this works in the game's favor, as you can play to your strengths by playing tracks that are optimized for your cars as you unlock them.
Unfortunately, the game's secondary mode, B-spec, is not nearly as impressive. The idea behind B-spec is solid: you play as a driving coach leading an up-and-coming driver to victory by helping them get through the toughest courses. However, the interface you use to interact with your driver leaves much to be desired. You can communicate with your driver using a series of commands, but the experience never goes deeper than telling your driver to speed up, slow down, or pass other cars. This mode wavers wildly between being far too easy and impossibly hard, and it is hard to pinpoint where a potential coach might be going wrong, as the limited interface options don't give you much room to play around.