Gran Turismo 5: Prologue - PS3 Network

However you look at it, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is essentially a sedative to calm the anger of a legion of patient fans who have been tapping their fingers for years waiting for Polyphony Digital to, well, pull their finger out and release the full Gran Turismo 5. Even now, Gran Turismo head honcho Kazunori Yamauchi has only suggested that “it might be sometime in 2009”. Curses! If there wasn’t enough meat on the bones of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue we wouldn’t have put it past you and would have instead started burning effigies of the development team outside their offices. But thankfully, it does.

Gran Turismo has always had a passionate following, and one that expects the very best from the next game in a seminal series. As fans ourselves, who are balancing very dangerously on the wall between love and hate, we have an angel on one shoulder saying, “Look at those incredible graphics. Cars so detailed it borders on obsession. That lovely dashboard view. Such realistic handling physics.” The devil on the other shoulder, however, is whispering, “Why does the game feel so sterile? So emotionless? Where are the tire tracks, or the tire smoke and, most importantly, the damage? Why hasn’t the AI drastically improved? Why are they using the same skid and engine sound effects from 1997?”

Sadly, the devil has been whispering these flaws to us for over a decade and Polyphony Digital’s response has just been more cars and crisper graphics, rather than actually addressing its most noticeable shortcomings. It hasn’t helped that the likes of Forza Motorsport 2 and Project Gotham Racing 4 have shown what a racing game can be like when you give it some cojones. If you were to compare the London tracks of GT5 and Gotham, it wouldn’t be difficult to see that what PGR4 lacks in painstaking realism, it makes up for with racing thrills that can’t be replicated with mathematical algorithms that calculate true-to-life handling characteristics.

However, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is still really a demo and doesn’t guarantee what the final product will be like. As we know, Polyphony isn’t afraid to take their time to create a perfect product. It’s just a shame that their idea of perfection is a technically proficient science project rather than a game that truly represents the dirt, grit, sweat, smoke, thrills and spills of racing. Gran Turismo - we only tell you this because we care…

Feb 27, 2008