review — Gran Turismo 5 (PlayStation 3)

Game developer Polyphony Digital has been crafting its masterpiece, “Gran Turismo 5,” for almost six years. After countless delays and numerous additions to this racing simulator, does the final product show this generation of racers why it’s “The Real Driving Simulator?”

Gran Turismo 5 Kyoto

WARNING: Text beyond this point may contain spoilers!

Gran Turismo 5

  • Price: $60
  • Concept: All-inclusive racing sim
  • System: PlayStation 3
  • Genre: Racing
  • Length: 40+ hours
  • Replay Value: High
  • Recommendation: Buy
  • Score: 90

Gameplay: 90
From the moment you load GT 5 into your PlayStation 3 to when you actually start racing might take some time. The game has an 8 GB install process that is highly advised; this game is packed to the rim with content and cutting down any load times during gameplay is almost necessary. That aside, GT 5 is well worth any minor frustrations that will undoubtedly be encountered along the way.

There have been numerous racing games released over the past six years, two of which were from one studio, Turn 10. GT 5 doesn’t try to adapt to what any of these recent racing games have implemented but rather sticks to its formulaic roots. However, it is the same gameplay that has made “Gran Turismo” so popular in the past.

The thrill of perfect cornering and braking is something that can only be experienced when playing GT 5. The level of precision in GT 5 is practically addictive as you feel the weight of every car and fight friction to keep your tires on the track. The craftsmanship by Polyphony digital to accurately craft every car’s natural motion is astounding. Mastery of the cars and tracks is what will keep you up late at night playing “just one more race.”

Gran Turismo 5 interior shot

Graphics: 85
GT 5 is broken into premium and standard categories when it comes to graphics and attention to detail. Unfortunately, this disconnect effects the entire game, and some tracks are almost pathetically represented. Although this has no hindrance on the gameplay, it’s still a shame nonetheless.

There are premium cars and standard cars, with the premium cars stealing the show. These cars are perfectly crafted inside and out, and they masquerade your senses letting you forget they were digitally rendered.

The lighting and reflections are spectacular enough that they make cars in real life seem dull and uninspired. The thought that this entire game wasn’t crafted equally is discouraging, but when the presentation shines through it clears your memory of anything negative.

Audio: 90
From the piano jazz driving you through the menus, to the upbeat tunes during races, GT 5 keeps the audio fresh. Every car has been meticulously recorded for accuracy. The difference in a Mini Cooper to a turbo enhanced McLaren racecar is instantly discernible.

Audio aficionados will hear every aspect of their car’s natural sound as they charge through the tracks. Whether it’s the distinct shift in a turbo’s blow-off valve, or an engine fighting an uphill section, the audio is doing its part to immerse the player.

Functionality: 80
GT 5’s numerous delays are understandable when realizing the exhaustive programming that goes into a game like this. Each car and track is well crafted in design, and the passion that has gone into them bleeds throughout every corner.

The game may not live up to all expectations, but GT 5 is still the best representation of why there is a devoted following for racing games. Things such as the track editor and damage modeling are not as fully featured as one would desire, but they are still enjoyable.

Entertainment: 95
GT 5 has by far been the most addictive and exhaustive racing simulator I have ever played. The opening menu screen has “Gran Turismo TV,” arcade mode and a track editor. Countless hours can be spent here without ever touching the game’s main course.

“GT Life” is where you’ll spend most of your time, with its singe player experience and multiplayer domination. Both of these aspects are equally enjoyable, with the single-player being the most in-depth.

Gran Turismo 5 kart racing

The singe player lets you do everything from rally to kart racing to NASCAR. Each of these modes is well crafted, with the karts stealing the show. The karts have loose handling and uncontrollable speed, which is extremely different from NASCAR’s tight handling and heavy cars.

You have the normal range of customization and paint jobs that is expected in any racing sim. The online portion of GT 5 is lacking in variety of modes, and menu navigation feeling a little archaic. Both of these aspects could have been more fleshed out, but there’s definitely not a lack of overall content.

The most impressive part of GT 5 for me has been the structure of its single-player campaign. By forcing you to change cars and thought patterns, it successfully blends all styles of racing, and collecting cars becomes an addiction.

Value: 99
GT 5 is well worth its entry price of $60, and every penny can be squeezed out of any one of its numerous modes. When you’re not racing, you can take one of the game’s 200 premium cars for a luxurious photo shoot.

The detail in any one of these locations is eye-popping, and lining up the perfect shot is rewarding. When you add on the games GTTV videos, track editor, single-player and online racing, you’ll be playing this game until Polyphony Digital can whip up another masterpiece.

The Sizzle:
GT 5 is all about the experience and the variety of style that the racing genre has to offer. Its about accurately crafted cars and tracks that are fundamentally perfect. Polyphony Digital set their own bar extremely high, and if it weren’t for a few short-comings, they would have soared past it unapologetically. Instead, they made another quality product in the series that leaves room for minor improvements in future installations.

Overall Score: 90

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