Why Gran Turismo 5 is NOT a revelation

The physics are still GT's own brand

We’ve seen the video of the car flipping over in GT5, which is a first for the series. While I didn't actually get to see my car flip over, I did lean heavily into a car on my left going down a straightaway in Rome and the result was a trifle unrealistic. The car rotated serenely in front of me, as though the wheels were more like those on a shopping trolley, then allowed me to push it down the track, skating-rink style. Not amazing.

Also, while there are some destructible barriers that break apart nicely when you collide with them, the flimsy tape barriers on the Toscana rally stage still act like they’re made of reinforced steel. Even mediocre PS2 rally games had tape barriers that came down as you slid through them, so PSone-style invincibility is hard to forgive here.

Above: Those flimsy-looking fences are stronger than Hulk, Superman and Chuck Norris combined

As if to apologise for the faux pas, this Toscana track is the setting for one of the smoothest day to night transitions in gaming. It’s sunny when you start the stage, with sunlight glinting off the tape on one side of the track as the angle catches its rays. But, after a few corners, you realise you can see stars in the sky. They’re faint at first, but become clearer as you progress. Suddenly, you realise you’re staring at a gorgeously-hued sunset, with high quality flaring effects. Eventually, you’re racing in total darkness, with only your headlights and the AI car to pick out the track. It looks… well, superlative.

Above: Watching night fall in the space of 60 seconds is breathtaking in Gran Turismo 5

I also raced around Tokyo’s R246 and the Curso Del Sol tracks, leaving only the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife unplayed from the list of tracks on offer in the demo. Unfortunately, time was short, so I'm sure you'll appreciate I had to go with tracks that didn’t take half an hour to go round. However, the four tracks I did play all had their charms. Even that Toscana rally track, which is highly reminiscent of GT4’s rally stages (which I didn’t like) was enjoyable. That said, I do long for a return to the more succinct and personable rally stages of GT3. Oh, Smokey Mountain, how I miss you.


Underwhelmed? Not quite...

Despite its relative shortcomings, I would not say I was disappointed with my time with GT5. I wish there had been time to try all of the above in 2D mode, but that will have to wait until we get our hands on finished code. The AI seems better, bumping against me in close battles and the driving itself was sound, as you’d expect. The series’ idiosyncrasies are all out in force for better or for worse, and the 3D effect and head tracking is an impressive novelty. I don’t think the 3D necessarily adds anything to the game itself – just the head tracking would have been enough for me - and the apparent stutter in frame rate caused by the 3D is highly unwelcome to my robot eyes.

Above: Looks great in 2D pictures, doesn't it? Forget 3D - this might well be the best way to experience GT5

But while GT5 is not the massive leap forward I hoped it would be, it still has something special about it. I would much rather play this demo again than start up the full version of Forza 3. As a neutral in the fanboy console wars I say that with no baiting intentions. GT5 is clearly a class act – I’m just hoping like everyone else that the full version has one big surprise left up its sleeve. All that development time must have gone on something, although if there is to be as much of a leap as the series usually delivers, they're leaving it pretty damn late to show it.

29 Jul, 2010


  • Lemurian - October 14, 2010 12:03 a.m.

    ive always been a project gotham fan this will be the first gt game ive bought personally i hope the handling isnt too different but i always knew pgr wasnt a proper driving sim compared to forza and gran turismo
  • OriginalJonty - July 30, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    Interesting article...However GT5 will have to compete with F1 2010 for my attention and so far F1 2010 is winning.
  • Elemental - July 30, 2010 8:31 p.m.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the GT runs at half the framerate in 3d. I would expect 30fps to be the norm for 3d games. It's actually very easy to see the difference, particularly when panning the camera. At 30fps there is noticeable stuttering (which is why artists use motion blur). Those screenshots look too good to be true! I'm guessing they're from the replay camera, or the photo mode.
  • BillyBrush - July 30, 2010 9:32 a.m.

    I think both GT and Forza benefit hugely from being single plat, Crumbdunky for example is buying it, no preview/review needed...and that's what exclusivity does for these two. If you lumped all the platform specific and not racing games into one set...I honestly think PGR would come out as this generations best, not forza, not gt....and PGR3 to boot (2005?).
  • TheWebSwinger - July 30, 2010 5:40 a.m.

    WOW the interior driver's view screenshots are beautiful. No wonder they took so long in development, they painnnfully recreated it.
  • usmovers_02 - July 30, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    Here why Forza is better than GT for me: The controller. I haven't found any wheel that feels like a real wheel for either system so I prefer a controller. And I hate the playstations controller.
  • eNdo602 - July 30, 2010 1:03 a.m.

    When this comes out, I may have to buy (my third) PS3. I'm a fool for racing games.
  • XSgtShootemupX - July 30, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    I was interested until I saw that the gameplay was reminisent of GT4. I majorly facepalmed. GT - a series which, compared to proper sims and moreso (ofcourse) real drviing - just isn't realistic, it's not a driving or a racing 'sim' the cars always look damn pretty, as do the tracks. But the driving is always so lack lustre. I just don't feel there compared to other games. Give me one car and one track on rFactor and it'll take me longer to get bored then it would with GT's entire catalogue. Purely because of the driving. Whether it's the pinball wizard style collisions or the handling which feels like its been directly picked out of a 90s arcade game (seriously, if initial d's cars weren't always sideways, they'd be hard to differentiate.) i've always found it amusing that many people consider GT a sim. I'll probably still get it permitting it has Cossies, other RS fords, BMW models; E28,32,34,38,39 and the like. But if it seriously does have the handling of GT4. I'll still laugh at all claims it's realistic.
  • TJP75 - July 29, 2010 11:11 p.m.

    What is a straightaway? Justin, you must mean a straight unless you've become a Yank! Please avoid using these dullard Americanisms, I fear next you'll be using "loose" and "tight" to describe oversteer and understeer. Other than than, a very good preview, much like the one for the upcoming F1 game from Codemasters. Cheers.
  • baldy666 - July 29, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    I'm glad I know this now instead of getting excited two months before release. After playing Dirt 2 and seeing how the vehicles react to any slight bump in the road I can't go back to simple accelerate, brake, turn gameplay. This will probably still oversell due to the vast number of cars but I don't expect it to get rave reviews.
  • rezapoc - July 29, 2010 7:14 p.m.

    I just want it for the Top Gear test track! I just wish it was more like Grid when it comes to track side objects such as tyre walls which were devastating when hit.
  • Kieran712 - July 29, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    This is probably gonna sound dumb but is head tracking only for 3D or is it for all formats?
  • BodyDamage - July 29, 2010 6:44 p.m.

    framerate differences are a huge thing for me too. nothing looks like 60fps, i wish more games ran that way (although i do fully understand the limitations that cause the need for 30). however, since i got a 120hz TV, the refresh rate upgrades games running in 30fps to 60fps and it REALLY looks good. (ff13 gains a fluidity that is just unmatched). @R3DRUN: If you are looking for an actual racing sim, a game that is all about really opening up racing for what it is; get a car, tune it in one of a billion ways, take it to a track and either race others or simply just get on a track alone and start shaving off the seconds, there is nothing that can compete with GT5. this isn't arcadey-D1-dorifto fair.(which theres nothing wrong with in its own respect) This is the true spirit of racing. to say gran turismo is dull is to basically claim that real world track racing would be boring. (only sort of though, obviously there are plenty of things that make real life fun that GT can't replicate) i can't even count the number of laps/hours(days) i've logged with even just 1 car (FD) on 1 track (deep forest) going around and around just looking for another half second. what an addiction. also very frustrating lol
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 29, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    @ Justin G3D is good with me, I'll issue a press release now. Also just to confirm, when I said the games are too realistic for their own good, I meant realistic in really un-fun ways, e.g. anything that isn't a hot hatchback or 4 wheel drive WILL spin out unless you actually know how to handle them, which is fairly realistic, but you'll rarely flip the cars even when it really feels like they should have flipped rather than span, flipping cars is cool, spinning out makes me rage quit.
  • Forrest22x - July 29, 2010 6:25 p.m.

    The only reason I can;t really get into the GT series, is the fucking controls. They're too awkward for me. Also, for the xbox side, the 360 has the triggers, which make racing much easier.
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - July 29, 2010 6 p.m.

    Looking forward to getting this game November. Are there no drivers when watching replays because from the looks of those gorgeous shots in this article it looks like a bunch of Herbie cars driving around without people in them. I would hope this gen would have the option to chose what your driver looked like when watching replays. I know, it is a little thing but Gran Turismo excels at getting the little things right so hopefully there are actual drivers when the game ships.
  • shpongled - July 29, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    I work in the AV industry, and like most people I know couldn't give a flying f*ck about 3d. I just want a decent driving game with excellent visuals / audio / physics. The whole 3d thing is a gimmicky load of shite, despite what marketing is shoved down our throats to the contrary. I'd rather the review hadn't focused on this quite frankly f*cking pointless aspect of what will be a great game. I agree about the crash physics though, it's a part of racing and always bugged me the way the cars handle so realistically until you have an incident, where it all goes a little wonky-donkey to say the least..... And the SOUND, what do the cars sound like, good bad?
  • SweatyCrease - July 29, 2010 5:48 p.m.

    sigh....I was really hoping they could pull of something special. I wonder how much development time has gone into the 3D aspect?
  • Tommykrem - July 29, 2010 5:32 p.m.

    I don't mind if the barriers provides some questionable physics. I'm not planning on crashing in them ;) But seriously though, I'm glad they didn't include a rewind feature like in GRiD, DiRT and Forza 3. That feature was perhaps what kept me from getting drawn into DiRT 2. There's no risk anymore. Sure it fits games like GRiD and DiRT well. And it would have fit Motorstorm and Blur as well! It's a fun feature, but I don't want to see it in GT5, nor did I want to see it in Forza 3. D
  • croatianmaniac232 - July 29, 2010 5:24 p.m.

    i dont give a shit man i am going to buy this game the moment it comes out and yes holy shit the graphics are fucking insane

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