Gran Turismo 5 Preview (PS3)

First announced back in 2006, Gran Turismo 5 has been a long time coming. For GT fans, the special Prologue edition released in 2008 as a taste of what was to come whetted numerous appetites, but what they really longed for was the full-blown release. Now finally Polyphony Digital has announced that outing number five will be hitting Playstation 3 in November.

Driving with the door open is not advised

What's so special about this particular release in the critically acclaimed series, then? What sets it apart from those that came before, and gives us a solid reason to dive back into the high-speed action once again? The answer is, well, quite a lot actually. Polyphony's president Kazunori Yamauchi has been working tirelessly with his team to create a racing world the likes of which have never been seen.

A brief but enlightening demo was available to race around at the recent Playstation Beta Rooms, and we sat down to take a few laps behind the wheel. While it's undoubtedly Gran Turismo through and through, there's clearly been a hefty amount of tweaking to get it all running as smoothly as possible, while still catering to the wants of the GT fanatics.

First off, I want to make it very clear that if you had no interest in the Gran Turismo series up to this point, number five really isn't going to change your mind. Nothing has been altered dramatically in terms of feel and racing style, and you definitely get the sense that this is the game that followers have been pining for, rather than a release hoping to grab more gamers for the cause.

The demo showcased two of the tracks that will be available in the final release. The first is a city-based race with the name 'Rome Circuit', set in the heart of the Italian capital. Featuring several sharp corners joined together by sweeping long corridors for putting your foot down to, it feels very much like a Gran Turismo style track, putting your skills to the test on every twist and turn. I spent a fair portion of my time slamming into walls and barriers, as is the way when you first begin careering around a new GT track.

The game now displays racing lines along the track which show the best route to take, and roughly what speed you should be taking a corner at - much like the concept seen in the Forza series. Overall it feels very similar to past GT handling, and fans should be able to slip straight into the action without issue.
If I were a car fan, I suppose I'd be turned on right about now

Graphically Gran Turismo 5 leaves the rest of the series in its wake - and most of the current PS3 games library, for that matter. It looks utterly stunning and moves along at an alarmingly smooth rate. It's a strange thing to pick out, but I couldn't help staring at the shadows, which looked incredibly life-like. So it's gorgeous, and it handles as per the rest of the series - we're off to a great start.

The second track available was a real-life track - the Nürburgring Nordschleife loop in Germany. This one is a stark contrast to the city setting of Rome, as you're left to weave your way around a professional lap in the great outdoors. There was less barriers to crash into here and more grass to skid all over, which was very bad news for a gamer like me who couldn't stay in the track for more than 20 seconds.

Again, it looked really wonderful and the sense of speed while powering down the straights was phenomenal. Slipping on the 3D specs and going for a once round the track in full 3D exaggerated these qualities even more, providing even more depth to the sheer horsepower on show.

If you're wondering at this point why exactly it's taken Polyphony four years to simply make the graphics better and add new tracks, you'll be wanting to hear all the unique features Gran Turismo 5 has over its predecessors. To get the ball rolling, this is the first in the series to feature online multiplayer. 16 players will be able to race for pole position, which really is huge news for GT fanatics.

A new damage model has also been put in place, although this wasn't functional in the demo we played. Certain cars will have a 'premium' model along with the standard type, and this will allow the cars exterior to receive real-time damage. Smash into a wall on your car's front left, and the car's frame and bodywork will disintegrate in exactly the right spots, rather than simply adding a dented effect as past driving cars have. The car will even be able to overturn, again a first for the GT series.

Then there's all the smaller additions. Weather conditions will either scupper or help along your victory, while each track will come with both a daytime and night-time variant. This is also the first ever GT game to include full World Rally Championships, NASCAR and Super GT licenses, so you'll be pounding around the tracks in real cars this time.
This car has the scariest face we've ever seen

Come November, Gran Turismo fans are going to be queuing around the block to get a piece of this, and from what we've seen, we can hardly blame them. Gran Turismo 5 is set to fulfil everything the series has always provides, and then some. If you've never been into the series before, this isn't going to be a great place to start. Otherwise, prepare to fall in love all over again. Gran Turismo 5 will be released on November 2nd 2010 for Playstation 3.

Most Anticipated Feature: Racing around the Top Gear track and pretending to be the Stig.

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By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 05, 2010
I'm not sure that this game changed in the last couple of years.
By Arrecoolast (SI Core) on Aug 05, 2010
I agree, they're all the same to me. :/
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 05, 2010
Yeah. Since the Prototype version (witch I still have on my PS3 HDD, for demonstrational purposes only), nothing much has changed, except maybe new content. :)
By RaviL (SI Core Member) on Aug 06, 2010
Maybe they chose not to change anything in gameplay because they want to keep a central line, not like C&C4 witch has a huge change in gameplay from the other releases like C&C3.
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 06, 2010
I'm not sure that there is anything worth changing in this game. I mean it was built all these years to provide new content. Nothing else worth mentioning.
By BoneArc (SI Elite) on Aug 07, 2010
maybe thats why i never bothered To pick up the games after the 2nd Installment.

its just another race with a new car . No Story , no Background , NADA
By RaviL (SI Core Member) on Aug 07, 2010
Maybe it doesn't need one, it's all about the racing an cruising at high speeds.
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 07, 2010
You are kidding me... Story? Racing games that tried to have a story were all a bunch of bull if you ask me... just stick to the wheel and the track. :)
By bosnian_dragon (SI Core) on Aug 13, 2010
:) Storyline and cars are just not compatible xD Wowerine is right :) The only game which had some connections with cars and OK storyline is Grand Theft Auto :) About GT5, I don't know, but my auto racing games stopped with TOCA3 which is excellent and completely satisfies my adrenaline rush needs behind the virtual wheels :)
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Aug 13, 2010
Hehe GTA did have a story. Even tough that game has nothing to do with cars xD Except GTA means stealing cars is a crime xD
By K3Spice (SI Core) on Nov 20, 2010
I don't play many racer games. I think I will be buying this just to stare at the screen, it is such eye candy.