Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Hands-On

Sony's flagship racing series is nearly ready to hit the PlayStation 3, and in preparation we downloaded the press preview.

With little more than a week before Gran Turismo 5 Prologue finally hits Europe, anticipation for the game is reaching fever pitch. Sony has certainly pulled out all the stops for the series' unveiling on the PlayStation 3; it's nearly impossible to avoid the TV advertising campaign in the UK, and if you're a car fanatic then you've probably heard that the first British showing of the Nissan GT-R will take place at a Gran Turismo media event on March 27. With so much excitement around, it was nice to receive a surprise email from Sony this week inviting us to download the game. Naturally, we wasted no time in doing so to report back.

Gran Turismo makes its debut on the PlayStation 3, and it looks every bit as good as we'd hoped.

As with all previous games in the series, Gran Turismo's love of cars is obvious from the moment you load it up. If you're a casual racing fan, you might actually find this automobile obsession almost to the game's fault, given that it prevents you from actually racing anything before you've spent a good few minutes setting everything up. This isn't helped by the car-selection setup, which doesn't seem to offer the option to filter out the cars you can't afford. With a measly 35,000 credits to spend at the beginning of the game, your choice is quite restricted, and you have to root through the various cheaper manufacturers to find something such as a Mini to start you off.

Once you decide to lay out the credits, your reward is seeing your shiny new car parked in your rather illustrious Japanese garages (ours were in Shorenin and Shirakawa, Kyoto). Shiny really is the optimum word here; the cars have been modelled in the sort of immaculate detail that would probably make even the original CAD designers coo with excitement. The presentation of the cars is certainly helped by the fact that they don't get damaged, but that decision is hard to argue with when the camera is tastefully panning around your new motor. You also get to appreciate it in-game with four different camera views: bonnet, in-car, windscreen, and exterior. The in-car view is both practical and attractive in that it lets you get a good view of the road while also looking around to appreciate the work that's gone into re-creating the interior--or looking down at your wing mirror to check out those you're leaving in your dust.

The quickest way to start racing is the arcade mode, which contains four different track circuits, a rally stage, and a city race. Each course has an alternate version, although for most this means simply going around in a reverse direction. A couple, such as Daytona, have substantially different tracks, with both the speedway and the road course available to race around. Given that it's the hometown of GameSpot UK, we wasted no time in burning around the London circuit, and we were impressed with what we saw.

London is the only city-based circuit in the game, and it looks like Polyphony put a lot of effort into making it perfect for the prologue edition. Everything of note has been packed into the Soho loop, with famous sights such as Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square sitting alongside minor shops and businesses. In fact, it was the latter details that really impressed, particularly when individual shops and venues had made it into the game intact. The Curzon cinema is clearly noticeable and well-modelled alongside the area's many theatres, and it's impossible to miss the numerous Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses and Pret a Manger sandwich shops, all exactly where we expected them. Although the backgrounds still look a bit flat in places, the amount of effort that's gone into re-creating real-life businesses is above anything we've seen before. As for the spectators, they're now animated and do the whole "cowering with fear" thing if you hit the barrier, but otherwise they're nowhere near as impressive as the static background elements.

It's interesting to see how Gran Turismo now adopts the Forza-esque racing-line option by default, although unlike in Turn 10's game, you also see an optimum speed displayed above each corner. Although Gran Turismo still wears its sim badge with pride, it offers a number of concessions to make the experience easier for novices, and it also throws in a few options that make it more challenging for veterans. Active steering, active stability management, and traction control are all tweakable, and you can also switch the driving physics from standard to professional to make the game more realistic. Likewise, the opponent artificial intelligence is adjustable on a 100-point scale. Eighteen is the default setting, and turning the setting higher results in drivers that are ever more eager to block your racing line.

After finding our feet with the arcade mode, we jumped into the many events that form the bulk of the challenge. The aim is to work your way up through driving classifications, moving from C to B to A and acquiring new vehicles along the way. The more races you win, the more credits you'll have to spend on new vehicles, which are a necessity because the cars become faster and the opponents more difficult. These events include a mix of both standard races and more mission-oriented contests, such as time trials, or having to overtake a certain number of racers within one lap of the circuit. There are also vehicle-specific cups that require you to own a certain manufacturer's car to enter.

As expected, the graphics in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue are of the highest quality, particularly when it comes to the cars. Every single piece of the exterior designs appears to have been modeled perfectly, and the lighting and environments reflect off of the bodywork in an extremely convincing manner. It really is possible to look at the game in certain conditions and believe that you're looking at a real video, which makes it all the more tragic that the game has no photo mode. Likewise, it's a real shame that the game doesn't save replays automatically, considering that this element of the game is just as addictive as ever. Though it's difficult to see during the races themselves, the vehicles move in an extremely realistic manner, with subtle shifts in weight due to gear changes and inertia all the more noticeable on the high-resolution cars.

The Mini is one of the only cars you can afford when you start the game, but it's fun to drive nonetheless.

The online servers were unavailable when we were looking at the game, but the menu system shows options for news, GT-TV, rankings, and online play. The GT-TV option will offer shows such as Top Gear as well as the in-game cinematics, although you'll have to complete the game to see the end animation. (Those who download the game will also have to download the cinematics.) For those who are either without access to the Internet or just feeling like a more intimate challenge, the two-player split-screen mode works well, with no loss of detail that we could discern.

By going into the options menu, we found a few interesting technical facts about the game. If you've ticked both the 720p and 1080i boxes in your PlayStation 3 setup screen, then you can switch between the two in-game, and if you're using 1080p, then it supports that display mode at 60 frames per second (although Sony states that this drops to 30 for replays). It's also good to see that if you have a Dual Shock 3 pad, even the European version of the game will support the vibration feature. If you want to go one step further, you can invest in any number of Logitech steering wheels and customise the game's setup. In total, the game supports five of the company's steering wheels, from the Driving Force GT to the EX, and it also lets you customise standard wheel setups.

The full edition of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will be released in Europe on March 28 and in the US on April 15. Check back soon for our full review.

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358 comments
spunkybob123
spunkybob123

@WeMakinBacon i love you..... thats what i dont get, people dont give a sh!t about the games anymore ,all they care about is trying to justify what console they purchased. i got my 360 the first week they were released in aus and i have never had 1 prob with it or even once wished i had waited for the PS3... i mean cmon i have a +$3000au computer and the best driving game i have on it is LFS... (custom built by me, not some crap dell)

Xorium
Xorium

Tell me something is the release date for America's market or ? because i just bought my copy yesterday in Iceland

WeMakinBacon
WeMakinBacon

as far as a people calling this a 'demo' - if you dont wanna spend 40 bucks on a 'demo', dont buy it. but if i could get a shortened version of MGS4 or GoW2 that had online play with progress you could transfer (not to mention a full year before full release) i'd pay 40 bucks for that too. stop all the hating on each other, its pathetic, this comment area is not for the Xbox260 vs Ps3 battle. get over it.

WeMakinBacon
WeMakinBacon

I still havent heard a single thing about the vehicle cusomizations!!! Slackin! and angelcage - easy on the heated opinion forcing, spend some time in 'Console Wars', you seem like you could blow off some steam.

AngelCage
AngelCage

I just love how the same fboys who said the "OMG MILKING MILKING... PS3 owners have so few games that now they want a $40 demo to have something to play... PROLOGUE IS A DEMO!!!!! " now are trying to compare forza and PGR with prologue (full games vs 'a demo') Gran Turismo 4 are somewhat better than any other driving simulator out there, yeah, PGR and forza2 are 'superior' games cause are in a superior system that PS2, but even with that, GT4 is massive... Now, GT5 Prologue will be awesome, and a little better than any x360/ps3 PC racing sim game out there and when GT5 Full rises... that game will be so incredible... it will splash out of the pool anything in 360... before and after. period.

amulbocus
amulbocus

360 owners its plain and simple, the PS3 is the worlds most powerful console, full stop. There is now a nice selection of games available for the PS3 (UT3 LOL), and GT5 is a game that could never appear on the 360 as it would not handle the complex physics and graphics. Just the fact 360 owners compare the full version of fiorza 2 and PGR to this demo makes me laugh (i think you fell threatened by the PS3,and you should do). I could even go as far to say GT4 is better than those games on the PS2!! (even better when played on ps3 with upscaling!!). Now up next is MGS4, Haze, Killzone 2 little big planet - what do 360 owners have to look forward to UT3 in June LOL (we got that already).

daman195
daman195

Yea your right spunkybob123 thats just how it is. I like 360 exclusives but I chose ps3 over 360 on shared games. Its Preference and what you have access to. Forza is a good game. When games are compared I will usually pick the ps3 one because it is the only one available to me, even if the 360 one is better.

is0lati0n
is0lati0n

GT is pretty much what made Driving Sims what it is today. GT pretty much started it all.

spunkybob123
spunkybob123

OK, played prologue, THIS IS A GOOD GAME, looks very nice, but after playing it you cant compare with forza 2 at all, its apples and oranges, there two totally different games. After previous comments from demo this is alot better, still no ware as realistic as forza2 but OMG it is fun to play. I OWN XBOX 360 AND I LIKE THIS GAME BTW @daman195 your just the same and will defend your console

daman195
daman195

Yea, GT pretty much set the pace for what racing games are today. The best part is, there is no way of cheating your way through the game. You have to be good at it to beat it (which is an acomplishment i tell you what). Forza is a good game, put you cant compare it the the king of racing games.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

heroofwinds1... gt actually controls better than forza.tunes hell of a lot better than forza as well. actually forza copied off of gt, nfs with the sticker and customization, and pgr for the tv. driving lines are great...but did u ever notice that they were there on the license test for gt in the CLASS B LICENSE. gt didn't try to baby anybody. the license test were there to try and make the driving skills better without giving handicaps during the race. it forced a person to get good at the game. SKILL. but now theyve given in to those that really don't want to by including the line, but gt had their own style in how to teach people to drive, which i like better actually.off course the a.i. was dumb but if you've actually seen a race, people bump into other people once in awhile and they all take the same lines. it s just us players that can't get the concept of passing properly. gt isn't perfect either i agree with that, but i hope you realize that if gt got car damage (which was actually in other games like toca before forza came out) and better a.i. which i think isn't too bad considering players aren't skilled drivers.

daman195
daman195

Does it really matter? Obviously heroofwinds1 is an xbox owner, and therefore cannot get the true experience of GT and so he is going to remain faithful to his console and fend for it. I like Gran Turismo probably because i have 3 and 4 for the ps2 and now have a ps3. Let him fend for his xbox "and by the looks of his picture, his wii lol" and we all know which one is really better, so no need to try to convince this guy. Go GT 5!

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

heroofwinds1, have you played gran turismo? This series has been around way before forza, if anything its that copying GT, and GT had drivining aids the whole time.

heroofwinds1
heroofwinds1

forza motorsport is the best simulation game in my opinion.what really matters in a racing game is not the graphics but the control it has.forza motorsport games set the bar for all sim racing games and all other sim racing games including gran turismo are just trying to copy it.you can see it when you see that they put a racing line and the ability to switch off and on the driving helps.they also trying to copy the online mode with the creation of gt-tv(we already know project gotham tv and forza tv).all the last gran turismo games are quantity over quality because they have achieved to create a big brand name with the older tiles and now they are just recieving their prize..

DeltaCobra
DeltaCobra

No offense, but thecakeisalie47 , what are you coughing for you fug, gears of war is a nice game so why be a dick for?

spunkybob123
spunkybob123

@jeo272712 Yeah man, as i said i agree with you. I also wrote earlyer on that if GT5 is a good a game as the hype for it i might get a PS3.

jeo272712
jeo272712

The thing my friend is that Gran Turismo was influential, because it was the first game of its kind. It takes Polyphony 3-4 years to release a GT games while other companies like EA pumps out a Need For Speed almost once a year. The other reason is that they haven't been any influential racing games in the last 10 years is because all of them try to copy the GT formula. Am not denying the fact that FORZA 2 is a good game, I actually like it, I think that other than GT4, FORZA 2 has been the second best racing game to ever come out on any platform. But keep in mind that FORZA 2 was a next gen console release, so is only fair that it looks better than GT4, and I bought it because I wanted something to keep me entertain until GT5 comes out. Like I said before I like FORZA 2, I like the XBOX 360, but bought my PS2 to play GT3, last month I spend close to $800 on a PLAYSTATION 3 in anticipation to play GT5P (I also have the GT5P on reserve). Forza 2 had a good run, but is time for the best racing sim to come out on any platform to make it's next gen console debut.

spunkybob123
spunkybob123

@skee_uk +1 FAIL i agree that a blue ray dvd can hold alot more content but it dont make a better game. If there are 15 diff version of the same car does that really count as more cars? WOW this R32 has a racing stripe, it costs 100k more then the 1 without, that must mean its better. Ahh crap the stats are not as good as the stock 1 i got and modded... @jeo272712 I agree, but seriously.... what driving game in the last 5 yrs have actually changed anything??? they all have the same cars, with the same sounds, with the same mods....... all that has changed is the graphics. BTW if GT5 has better smoke effects then NFS Pro Street ill be impressed

skee_uk
skee_uk

to put it bluntly gt5 is better than forza, even when there is an eventual release of forza3 gt5 will still beat it. theres just no way round for turn10 to get this much content on a dvd, an it would be dire to put a driving game on 2 or 3 dvd`s i cannot wait to get prologue

juggalo
juggalo

Driving sim......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me when they do something exciting like buff their bonnets or **** their torques. Excitement please.

rijahs
rijahs

Cool... After so many posts and arguments, gouki_psx has really dared to ask the most logical question of all.. "what does PROLOGUE mean?" I bet most of the people who were posting here didn't know the meaning till now..(and I would like to be fair with you guys, that includes myself as well). OK gouki_psx, at least for you, PROLOGUE means "a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part..." So now I guess you know why there is a lot of discussion going on here regarding people not ready to pay $40 for an "introduction" game... ;)

jeo272712
jeo272712

First of all let me start with I like FORZA 2, but what has it accomplish, nothing only that is has a damage physics. GT 1 was a major influence on some of the major cars being produce today. For example the Nissan Skyline that's coming out in the middle of the year. The other good example is the Mitsubishi Evo (this is referring to (quanloco comment), the other car that was also brought here by influence (partly) was the Subaru Impreza STI . These cars they were only known everywhere else but in the U.S. even today Toyota has special program trying to see if they can develop a new Supra model. Other cars that got street cred, were the Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi 3000gt VR4. Pretty much GT 1 was an encyclopedia of cars. So I'll ask again what has FORZA 2 accomplish?. People point out that FORZA 2 got a 9.2 score, and it was a next gen console release, Gran Turismo 4 got a 8.9 but it was a Ps2 release. So a difference of .3 makes it the best racing game ever I think not. In my opinion the GT series is and for a very long time will remain as the best racing sim out there. Because after more than 20 million copies sold world wide(GT1-GT4). That alone is a statement of who is the real driving sim.

wars45
wars45

it meens 5 not out till next y this is a wam up

gouki_psx
gouki_psx

what does the PROLOGUE mean?? Will there be another version of GT5 later?? Let's say a "final" version??

quanloco
quanloco

Well all I can say is that to me forza 1 and 2 had way better physics than any gt game. I cant say that it will be the same for gt 5 Prologue because I have not played it yet. not that anyone cares but I have an evo 8 and from just owning that car and have driven numerous vetts and mustangs so far for realism the nod gos to forza. We will see how gt 5 Prologue holds up because out of all of the previews all I have heard about is graphics its like the physics are the not talked about part of the game. I am very impatient I am thinking about importing the European version. Everyone stop arguing who cares own both systems and get both games stop being fanboys.

thecakeisalie47
thecakeisalie47

OK, the only people who dis this game are xbots trying to get their two cents in. How can you not appreciate the work and dedication put into this game to make it look as awesome as it does. P.S. I'm not just talking about graphics, either. I know how you all value graphics over gameplay and story so much, so I needed to specify. *cough* Gears of War *cough*

spunkybob123
spunkybob123

@nVidiaGaMer LOL Both consoles are the same. if they where built with the exact same specs you would not know the diff, the only real diff is the blue-ray http://au.gamespot.com/features/6125087/index.html?type=tech Please spot the diff. and 50mhz here and there means jack s**t, and if the specs have changed since that comparison please enlighten me

rijahs
rijahs

Gran Turismo, Forza, Burnout Paradise, Project Gotham Racing, Need for Speed, DiRT, Sega Rally, Nascar Racing... There are a lot of good racing games out there which might suit according to your needs and taste.. Not everybody like all the games mentioned above... Buy the ones you like and enjoy playing it... :)

supersonikk
supersonikk

Pay up people! Even though they are ripping you off with 1/100th of the full game, it is still a Gran Turismo game and 50 cars in a Gran Turismo game isn't much, but 50 cars in any other racing franchise is pretty decent. 16 player online racing woo! 8)

M1ndux
M1ndux

i love this game. sadly im a PC gamer :P

nitsud_19
nitsud_19

@Virtual_Erkan, i like both GT and the Forza series', but gameplay simply goes to GT hands down. Forza feels far more arcadey and forgiving, also it only has 12 tracks i believe. GT has the best driving engine and many types of racing events, has everyone forgot that GT has one of the best Rally sims around, drag racing, trucks, and license tests. And also for myself Damage modeling doesnt really mean alot.

nVidiaGaMer
nVidiaGaMer

It doesn't matter about the installments. GT4 was better then Forza 1 and GT5 will be better then Forza 2. The 360 is just underpowered.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

Actually jeo272712 is right. Forza 2 was great and still it is. A year has past but I still play Forza 2. The graphics is not perfect as GT5 but the gameplay is far more better than GT. It isn't linear as GT at all. GT5 has better graphics cuz this is the fifth installment whereas Forza 2 is the second installment. You can see the difference. Also reember this. Sony has only 1 high quality race game that is Gran Turismo. But Microsoft has 2 high quality race games: Forza Motorsports and Project Gotham Racing.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

Actually jeo272712 is right. Forza 2 was great and still it is. A year has past but I still play Forza 2. The graphics is not perfect as GT5 but the gameplay is far more better than GT. It isn't linear as GT at all. GT5 has better graphics cuz this is the fifth installment whereas Forza 2 is the second installment. You can see the difference. Also reember this. Sony has only 1 high quality race game that is Gran Turismo. But Microsoft has 2 high quality race games: Forza Motorsports and Project Gotham Racing.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

Actually jeo272712 is right. Forza 2 was great and still it is. A year has past but I still play Forza 2. The graphics is not perfect as GT5 but the gameplay is far more better than GT. It isn't linear as GT at all. GT5 has better graphics cuz this is the fifth installment whereas Forza 2 is the second installment. You can see the difference. Also reember this. Sony has only 1 high quality race game that is Gran Turismo. But Microsoft has 2 high quality race games: Forza Motorsports and Project Gotham Racing.

jeo272712
jeo272712

Every keeps picking on the only one thing that GT5P feature is not going to have and the only feature that GT series has lack from the beginning and that is damage. Some one said that maybe GT5 is going to take the crown that was taken from it. Sorry my friend but that crown has never been taken from it . I know that a lot of people are not fortunately enough to buy both system, luckily I have, like i said before FORZA 2 is the same game as FORZA 1 but with better graphics. The GT series has had massive amounts of cars. Everybody is comparing the AI that is much better in FORZA 2, apparently no one has notice that in FORZA 2, the cars that you are racing against their only mission is to crash against you. I have enjoyed my XBOX 360, and I have enjoyed FORZA 2 . But the fact of the matter is, that now we (PS3 owners) are going to start to get better games, we are finally going to enjoyed the full potential of the PS3. GT5P is only the tip of the iceberg of the potential that PS3 is capable of doing. Am the proud owner of an XBOX 360 and a PS3 but in my opinion the PS3 is the superior machine. On a final note GT series have been about giving us a real driving experience. But if you want crashes go play the Burnout series PERIOD. GRAN TURISMO IS NOT ABOUT CRASHING. I HAVE BEEN A FAN OF THE SERIES SINCE GT1, AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE CRASH FEATURE OF ANY KIND IN THE FULL GT5 WHEN IT COMES OUT LATER.

alglach
alglach

looks good but will wait for full version later in year and put my money towards GTA 5

peps121
peps121

Really Though, People Need To Stop The Comparisons Of Gran Turismo With Forza. I Mean Gran Turismo Is The True Simulator Of Driving. Forza Is A Copy Which Was Rushed. I Mean Has Anyone Noticed In Forza 2 That When You Use The Breaks, Every Time, They Glow Red, How Child Like. And For The Ai Eh? How Is Forza 2's Ai Realistic When Computer Keeps Hitting You Off The Track, That’s Realistic For You. I Don't Know Where PGR4 Came Into This Because Its About Earning Kudos By Drifting! Not Racing, Drifting. Face It Xbox Fans, Games Like Halo, Forza 2 And PGR4 Are A Big Disappointment, I Can Assure You Xbox 360 Has Lost This, Their Probably Going To Make A Next Console And Show It Next Year E3 (2009). And One Last Thing, Forza Has Too Many American Tracks, The Road Has No Grip! Its Just Soo Dull! And For People Who Care For Damage, Why Bother? Are You Saying You Want To See Yourself Crash In A Race? I Don't Think So... My Point Is That Forza 2's Big Problem Is That It Does Not Feel Like A Game. I Mean I Have The Game Myself And For Like The First 40 Races, I’ve Been On The Same Track But Taking Different Routes. I Mean The Only Fun I Have Is Painting The Car, And When I Found Out You Can't Upload Your Own Images And People Actually Sit Down For Hours Drawing Their Own Images, I See Why Xbox 360's Break. In My Opinion, How I See Gran Turismo 5 And Forza 2 Is The Same As Mario Galaxy (Wii) And Sonic The Hedgehog (Xbox 360), Gran Turismo 5 Represents Mario.

Olaoye_tw
Olaoye_tw

geez, i think this game beats PGR4 graphic-wise. but either way, am a PGR fan 4 life!!

Phantom_2
Phantom_2

@Agermemnon Forza 2 had years of developing. Ya i understand your point, but this game is prologue for a point. its pretty much a demo of what is really supposed to come in late 2008. Not saying its bad, for a demo it looks by far amazing. I think we will see some form of damage coming from dlc's.

Taylor9124
Taylor9124

Being a huge gran turismo fan, I cant wait for this game. If we get vehicle damage or not, im getting it. I only have one complaint: the environments. dont they look a little, bleh? compared to the amazing car models i might add.

Miss_Wacy
Miss_Wacy

got this commin on friday woot, best racing game ive seen on any console, looks amazing too ive played a bit on my friends account its great

Ozzie234
Ozzie234

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

gertish
gertish

If only I was good at console racing..lol.

Zetona
Zetona

@ mfulford: You're right, though I wouldn't be quite so harsh on the physics engine. I disagree with you on one count: GT doesn't make a good arcade game because of 1) its extremely technical nature (even if the driving model isn't accurate), 2) no damage and 3) the driving model doesn't provide near enough grip to be an arcade game.

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

can't we settle this debate of which driving sim over a nice game of burnout? it ain't the best but at least you can all let your anger out MULTIPLATFORM

Agreb91
Agreb91

I have to admit this game looks very nice.

RJT5
RJT5

Think I am going to wait for the full version to come out! Then see how good it is!