Gran Turismo 5 Updated Hands-On

The latest in Sony's heralded driving series finally has a Japanese release date--and we've got the latest look at the game from TGS.

The long-awaited date is here: Gran Turismo 5 is set to debut in March 2010...in Japan. That means a slightly longer wait for fans around the world, but if nothing else, it signifies that the end point is near for a game that driving fans have been eagerly anticipating for years now. Earlier today, on the show floor of the 2009 Tokyo Game Show, we had a chance to try out the latest demo of GT5.

The two-minute timed demo took place on the Tokyo r246 track, which has appeared in previous versions of the game (and makes an appearance in Gran Turismo PSP as well). Even though the track isn't new, seeing it running on a PlayStation 3 in full HD is an impressive experience--with everything brought to life, from the buildings that surround the urban circuit to the shadows cast from the nearby trees, in impressive fashion. Little touches, like knocking over stacks of tires when running wide the first turn, also made an impression.

The TGS 2009 show floor demo of GT5 came in two flavors: one you could play with a regular PS3 controller and another you could play while sitting in a racing rig and playing the game with a Logitech Driving Force Pro wheel. The latter was naturally preferred, despite the relatively long wait in line, because the force feedback wheel lets you feel all of the undulations of the road. Damage modeling didn't seem to be in effect in this demo--thought we did watch as one player drove his Subaru WRX sti rally car into a wall; after he recovered, the left-side door refused to shut all the way and hung limply as the driver continued the race.

Whether we were playing with the wheel or the PS3 controller, the GT5 handling model was in full effect. The nimble Subaru was a joy to handle around the tighter sections of r246, and the muscular Mercedes-AMG SLS, the other car available to drive in the demo, was a nice, if more challenging, alternative. Of course, we were hoping for more from the demo for GT5, especially considering the game is due for release in Japan in under six months, but at this point, we'll take what we can get.

On Saturday, September 26 (in Japan), GameSpot will be heading to Polyphony Digital to check out more of GT5 and talk with series creator Kazunori Yamauchi. If you've got a question or two about the game, put it in the comments below, and who knows, we just might be able to get it answered on your behalf.

Stay tuned for more on Gran Turismo 5 in the coming months.

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