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Gran Turismo 5

The first big surprise of GT5 is the inclusion of actual licensed championships. You can’t beat the authenticity of races held with a full championship licence, and as an area of expansion for the series it’s an exciting one. Fans of motorsport will be ecstatic, and regular players will benefit from a richer, deeper and more convincing experience in those portions of the game. The two championships have been designed to cater specifically to western audiences. NASCAR has been chosen because it’s one of the most popular sports in America and claims to have 75 million fans across the globe.

Don’t write it off, though, because the inclusion of NASCAR is excellent news. For a start, it’s not quite as dull to drive as EA has made out. With Polyphony’s physics system beneath the hood, the cars should be challenging and exciting to drive, even on an oval. Trying to keep an enormously overpowered V8 stock car from getting away from you as you dive three-abreast into a corner at 200mph is a bumhole-puckeringly terrifying experience, and hopefully Polyphony’s legendary attention to detail when it comes to simulation will replicate that dicey racing perfectly.

The other licensed championship has a much more European heritage. The World Rally Championship is the most popular point-to-point rally racing on the planet and features the best off-road drivers around. The cars themselves are based on the shapes of common suburban runabouts, but underneath they’re turbocharged four-wheeled scramblers with ferocious acceleration and precision handling. The stages are a mix of long and treacherous gravel, snow or tarmac, and technical super-special stages where two cars compete simultaneously, but out of sequence.

One thing’s for sure: the off-road physics will need a rethink. Prologue didn’t tackle anything other than circuit and street racing, so there’s no evidence of how the PS3’s more advanced physics crunching applies to the slippy stuff, and the last off-road outing in GT4 was less than impressive. Even dedicated off-road vehicles struggled for grip and understeered horribly on GT4’s rally courses, and we’re hoping that with a prestigious licence will come increased focus on getting the gravel-churning handling just right.

There’s little more satisfying than lobbing a rally machine into a corner so the back end steps out, booting the throttle and deftly holding the egregious slide that is the inevitable result – let’s hope that with World Rally Championship, Gran Turismo 5 captures some of that magic.

One interesting and potentially game-changing upshot is the inclusion of official drivers. These championships are nothing without the stars of the sport, and just including the paint jobs on the cars isn’t going to cut it. The recent GT5 demo we saw shows two real life drivers in their respective racing kits. The first is four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, who is seen in the demo walking out to the pit lane at Indianapolis in his Dupont-branded overalls.

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9 comments

  • gamerboy96 - July 29, 2009 2:34 p.m.

    awesome game i have all the others and even without official tournaments it was still the best but nascar and wrc look awesome
  • dahsif - July 23, 2009 10:37 a.m.

    If only GT5 took the series back to where it was actually realistic AND fun. GT1 is still on my TOP 5 games ever. reCAPTCHA: keynoted 17-101/2
  • smallberry - July 23, 2009 6:20 a.m.

    About damn time this game came out. The offroading in GT4 was pretty good in my opinion. You wont oversteer just because you're on gravel. You need to give the car some encouragement. A little weight change usually works. Flick it before the corner entry and tap the throttle. An evo is usually the best for this.
  • CaptainHead - July 22, 2009 10:14 p.m.

    1080p, 60fps, realistic damage, great sound quality and actually FUN. I'm a sucker for simulations but GT4 was a frigging snore to me... Include all of those and I'll be first in line to buy this game.
  • Ruvalc - August 7, 2009 7:46 p.m.

    cant wait till it cmes out olready passed gt 5 protologe
  • michaelmcc827 - July 23, 2009 5:13 a.m.

    This would be better than Forza 3 from what this says except for customization, which is what I like. Some people aren't into that though. Looks great nonetheless, too bad I don't have a ps3. Btw @Cyberninja- you used, in one sentance, present, future and past-tense...
  • Ninja-KiLLR - July 23, 2009 1:01 a.m.

    im still on the fence with GT games the only one i ever played is prolouge and im iffy on it cuz im not that great of a sim racer
  • joabbuac - July 22, 2009 10:22 p.m.

    wooooo top gear track
  • Cyberninja - July 22, 2009 7:41 p.m.

    they delay this game so much i will be shocked it really was released

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