Review in Progress: Gran Turismo 5

Polyphony didn't rush the game; we won't be rushing our review.

It has been a long time coming, but Gran Turismo 5 is finally here. I've been playing the game for a few days at this point, and while I'd love to post a full review when the embargo lifts at midnight tonight, it's just not going to happen. That's not only because GT5 is a big game with a lot of different components, but also because the game's online functionality (which was just patched in last night) hasn't actually been available for most of today. I daresay it'll be up and running in time for launch, but as of right now I haven't been able to get into a single online race. I was able to set up my online lounge last night, and I unlocked a handful of photo exhibits for my museum just by logging on, but to date that's the extent of my online experience. Clearly, I need to spend some more time with the game before I can deliver a review. In the meantime, though, I thought it might be helpful for me to give you my impressions of the game thus far. To give these impressions some context, I've apparently completed 30 percent of what the game has to offer. I've mostly been concentrating on the GT Mode's A-Spec events and Special events, taking time out only to complete three of the six license tests, to race in Arcade mode using cars imported from my Gran Turismo PSP save, and to start leveling up a driver in B-Spec mode.

One of the first things that struck me about GT5 is how rare the "premium" cars are early on. Starting out in GT mode with only $20K to spend, your best shot at getting a competitive car is to check the used-car dealer where, to date, I don't think I've noticed a single premium model. A handful of new used cars replace old ones at the dealer after every event, so I've gotten into the habit of checking it often, and because I'm a sucker for '60s and '70s models, I've been spending money on plenty of vehicles that I don't really need. I'd love to use some of these classics in the game's Photo mode, but that's reserved for premium cars unfortunately, though it's still possible to pause replays and take photos of standard cars that way. Premium cars look significantly better than standard ones; the former actually look like they're constructed from individual panels, while the latter are more like carefully shaped blocks of wood with details like gaps between panels, door handles, and lights just painted on. Quick tip for when you buy used cars, by the way: Regardless of what their mileage is, used cars always need an oil change before they'll run at their best.

Driving in GT5 feels easier than it has in previous games because there are a number of driving aids switched on by default. These include both traction control and antilock brakes, the effects of which can be adjusted on a 10-point scale. Other aids, like the driving line, skid recovery force, and active stability management are either on or off. It really does feel like GT5 is customizable for players of just about any skill level, and I'll point out that while I plan to use Logitech's latest force feedback wheel for most of the day tomorrow, I've had no problems playing with a regular DualShock 3 so far. Regardless of how you're playing, there's no denying that these cars feature believable handling (I'd say realistic, but I'm not sure my few laps of the Catalunya circuit in an Audi A4 several years back or my limited go-karting experience qualify me to do so) and that it's fun to put them through their paces on some of the world's finest courses.

The A-Spec (you driving) and B-Spec (you giving instructions to an AI driver) modes use the same series of events. I've completed only a few events in B-Spec mode, but in A-Spec mode I've beaten the Beginner, Amateur, and most of the Professional series. All of the Expert series events are unlocked for me now, but I need to hit level 20 before I can see what the Extreme series has in store for me (I'm currently level 19, so not long to go.) You earn experience points toward the next level for just about everything you do in GT5, including the license tests, which are completely optional this time around.

Race events, like those in previous GT games, require you to adhere to different car restrictions. Early on, you might simply have to use a compact, a Japanese classic, or a car with an FF or FR drivetrain, but later the requirements get a lot more specific. This works in the game's favor because while it's possible to "cheat" early events by entering them in cars that are significantly more powerful than the rest of the field, that becomes increasingly difficult as your career progresses. Very few of the events that I've entered thus far restrict the maximum horsepower of your car, so after earning only a bronze or silver trophy I've found that I can often turn that into a gold simply by adding a few parts from the tuning shop and racing again. I know that I won't have that option for much longer though.

The options available to you in the tuning shop are impressive, and regardless of how much you know about cars, it's easy to figure out where your money will be well spent. Not all of the upgrades are available for all cars, but most of the restrictions seem to make sense. You can't make the diminutive Caterham Seven any lighter, for example. I'm a little disappointed that the option to add full-on racing modifications isn't available for more cars, but if I remember correctly, that was the case in GT2 as well, and it's one of the features I remember most fondly from that game.

When I look back on GT5 in years to come, I'm hoping that I'll feel that way about the online play, and I know for sure that I'll feel that way about some of the special challenges. There's a really good assortment of challenges on offer, and they're made more challenging by the fact that none of them give you the option to upgrade or even choose which car to use. The Gran Turismo Karting Experience is the most obvious of the special challenges to call out since it's so completely different from everything else in the game, but other highlights for me have included the Jeff Gordon NASCAR School (a series of lessons that test your high-speed cornering and drafting skills), the Top Gear Test Track (where you race in a VW camper van, a Lotus Elise, and a 1944 VW Kubelwagen), the AMG Driving Academy (timed Nurburgring events in different cars and weather conditions), and the Sebastien Loeb Rally Challenge (chase a ghost car around some of the most challenging rally courses in the game). The special challenges pay really well, but unlike regular events, you can't keep repeating them to earn more money. Earning a gold trophy also pays out for the silver and bronze, and at that point there's no more money to be made from them.

In my garage right now I have a total of 68 cars, 10 of which are premium. I've been keeping all of the cars that I win as prizes thus far, but since I need to start investing in some racecars soon, I think that's probably going to change. I probably don't need four Honda Civics, after all. Even with that many cars to choose from, it's not difficult to find the car I'm looking for at any time because there are options to filter my collection by country, make, and drivetrain, as well as to sort them by manufacturer, maximum power, and a bunch of other options. The only slightly odd thing is that premium and standard cars appear in completely separate lists, so if I'm just looking for a car that's eligible for a certain event and don't care whether or not it looks good, I have to search twice.

Anyhow, I think that's about all I have to say on the subject of Gran Turismo 5 right now. Be sure to check out the embedded movies of some of my replays, and check back next week for the full review.

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Discussion

177 comments
im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@flames121 Lol, I found that quite funny! And true I dare say!

frazzle00
frazzle00

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flames121
flames121

Why dont you guys just admit you are lazy ?

Masenkoe
Masenkoe

I'm pretty sure I remember when watching an IGN video on Gt5 one of the first things the reviewer brought up was Forza and how they were developed faster (showing some fanboyism since a game review should honestly only be about the game in question) and how he also said how GT5 has little to no damage. Yamauchi must be rofling it up right now. GOT EM'

F-14-D_TOMCAT
F-14-D_TOMCAT

@jasonlc3221 a new feature is dynamic weather rain/snow in a few tracks and ofcourse the premier cars which will have among other things working windshield wipers for use in the said weather of rain or snow.

jasonlc3221
jasonlc3221

Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that game. Heard it was really good, but did anyone ever buy it?

The_Game21x
The_Game21x

@ jasonlc3221: Nah, it was Demon's Souls.

jasonlc3221
jasonlc3221

@The_Game21x I know metal gear solid 4 was one of the two, but for the life of me, I can't remember what the other one was

jasonlc3221
jasonlc3221

after reading this early review, it almost sounds like a lot is the same as gt4. Not entirely a bad thing. It will still have an updated car roster and gorgeous graphics. I'm sure I'll still probably buy this game, but I hope to hear there are some really nifty new features in gt5.

The_Game21x
The_Game21x

@RunRickyRun: Yeah, that explains why the last two game of the year winners were PS3 exclusives. Oh wait...

bat725
bat725

I went ahead and picked it up. Thanks for nothing, Gamespot. I think GS stalled their review to kiss Sony's butt, knowing they're not gonna give it a higher score than 8.5, maybe even an 8.0.

kenmanius
kenmanius

You gotta be able to buy brake upgrades. That's why you see so many crashed Lancers in the real world cuz someone who thinks they got a badass car throws money at it to make it faster but can't slow it down or handle it any better.

kenmanius
kenmanius

Regardless of IGN rushing their review, why would you need to wait until level 40 to fully unlock damage? It's too hard for newcomers to experience damage effects early on? What do you do when that NSX slams you're Elise into wall and the only one tore up is you? Does your car handle any differently?

RunRickyRun
RunRickyRun

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Raziel_0
Raziel_0

i see reviews with 7/10 :S

alexgontijo
alexgontijo

It's so good!! I don't see why people are complaining about such small things... the graphics, physics, the automobile history, its all there! You can't feel the real as good as in GT5 in any other game.

georgirobot
georgirobot

I'm pretty sure it will get a 9.0 if not even lower because of the enormous ammount of time poured into the game and still there are some weird bugs and graphical issues.

Uwanq
Uwanq

@Ahakam23 I agree i wouldn't care even if they did the generic dashboard view that was on the psp. On GT5P i was totally sold on the view, hope they do a rethink and can implement it one day in a patch.

Ahakam23
Ahakam23

i think the standard car does'nt look so bad, it's only did'nt have dashboard view

Rajiv_psn
Rajiv_psn

You give your review whenever you want to I got my collector's edition . ^_^

AntonSaidWhat
AntonSaidWhat

I give GT5 a 9.0 Why? The standard cars and some graphic issues.

jquad_666
jquad_666

@nickyparmar92 ign basically rushed it's review. i doesn't matter if they got the game a few days before release, there's no way they could have enough time to make a full, complete review in that ammount of time. gamespot's playing it smart, whether they give a good or bad review. they can really get a full feel for the game this way.

pinch10
pinch10

God, i can't wait untill this review is out, my copy is in the mail and i have been anxious for days, hopefully it gets a 9 or higher, i think that would be a good achievement in the eyes of the Gran Turismo 5 team :).

Raziel_0
Raziel_0

I 8, 5 IGran turismo 5 lives up the gran turismo Franchise with a oustanding solo play and exilarating gameplay some technical issues and pesentation ruin the fun for the newcomers- "remember this lol

Raziel_0
Raziel_0

I-------------I Gran turismo 5 lives up the gran turismo Franchise with a I 8, 5 I oustanding solo play and exilarating gameplay some technical IGREAT I issues and pesentation ruin the fun for the newcomers- I_______ I "remember this lol"

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

buft
buft

cant wait to see the review

nickyparmar92
nickyparmar92

gamespot is useless. I'm getting this game anyway, but its been 4 days and no review. ign outed the review on the day GT was released.

NICKKELANIUS
NICKKELANIUS

b spec mode is kind of a let down but other than that everything is amazing

TheGrudge13
TheGrudge13

@right4dead i'm not saying it deserves an 8 but i only think it will get an 8 but i hope i'm wrong and it get 10

eal-zubieri
eal-zubieri

@kavadias1981 if you want a westren developed racing game you should get forza.lol

flyinghogshow
flyinghogshow

@misterstatus Don't know what your talking about....Unfinished? pshh

flyinghogshow
flyinghogshow

This is a great game. Don't need no review to tell me that.

eal-zubieri
eal-zubieri

it appears to be that most reviewer that reviewed the game early failed by saying that the damage systems are not good, and when i say this i mean it have been discovered that the true damage system in GT5 starts to unlock at level 20 of the game and become truely unlocked at level 40, here is the link for more information: http://gamer.blorge.com/2010/11/27/gran-turismo-5-reviewers-failed-yamauchis-damage-test-incomplete-reviews/ it shows how ign truely failed when they reviewed the game.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

For a game like this, it should take awhile to review it.

MaoR313
MaoR313

wtf ? i dont care that pholypony or whatever took thier time i want a review come on guys i dont know if to buy this game or not its all about your say. sorry to say but i dont like that ur taking ur time and im sure that alot here dont like it to . please dont do this agian. sorry if the first line was rude :P

right4dead
right4dead

@ TheGrudge13, watch it get a 9 or higher, ign rushed the review, they ddint even know that more damage unlocks at level 40.

trotter_2005
trotter_2005

id really like to see a dlc for left an right view with right controller stick, its only thing am missing greatly i know they have that camera thing. but i like the option to have it on the right stick. anyone else. would only take a patch or an update to do it. hope we will get that.

TheGrudge13
TheGrudge13

we all know your gonna give it 8 so put the review and get it over with

bigM10231
bigM10231

all the pc guys dont realize that the people who buy the console sims dont like playing on pc because of 3 factors, pc power, cant afford a wheel and only likes pcs for work, music, and internet like me

SPBoss
SPBoss

@jedikevin2 Very true, iRacing was designed for proper simulation racing with a steering wheel in mind. Gt5 was designed for casual racers with the joypad in mind, steering wheel on gt5 is overrated, those people have just never tried a g25/g27 on a pc racer.

jedikevin2
jedikevin2

@SPBoss People are comparing it to Pc simulators because Polyphony decided to state "a Real Driving Simulator" on the box of every single game made. It really is a slap to true racing simulators out(iracing, netcarpro, ferrari Driving academy etc etc)... If they gonna make such a outlandish statement on their boxart then people have the right to compare this game to pure simulators. Personally, its far far off from being up to the level of these games.

rodd76dog
rodd76dog

During a true review the reviewer needs to replay the competitor to feel the difference because there is one here buddy.

rodd76dog
rodd76dog

This isnt Forza so chill with the customization comparisons. And as for Gamespot you had forza3 review out before game release. But I see the advertisement ok I understand.

misterstatus
misterstatus

I don't think I've ever seen a more obvious case of a development team focusing entirely on the icing and forgetting to put the cake in the oven. Five years and $60 million later, it seems almost unimaginable that GT5 is still in such an unfinished state, forced to market no doubt by Sony execs who had run out of patience. First we get a $30 demo, and now for $60, we get an idea of what the game could have been like if they had just been given a few more years to work on it.

SPBoss
SPBoss

This is an arcade-sim racer, it isn't pure sim so I truly don't understand why people are complaining about damage modelling. If you want that go play a pc racer (iRacing,GTR2) or on console something like dirt2, those games were developed with damage modelling and crash physics in mind. GT5 is more of a game for enthusiasts who just love their cars, I myself only bought gt5 because of the top gear lap :D