Well, what can I say? GT5 eh? It’s been under development for years. YEARS. But hey, it’s going to be worth it right? Well that’s what I’m here to help with. In this preview I take you through the game’s features as well as some other stuff.
And. Away. We. Go.
GT5 is going to be huge. Be it in terms of sales, scale or the time you’re going to spend on it! The game features over 1000 cars. Each is created using 1,000 taken of the real life counterpart as well as hours on hours of HD footage of it in action. This means that Gran Turismo 5 is/will be the most accurate (and best looking) driving simulator (and maybe game) we’ve ever seen.
Basically, it’s like life.
Tracks aren’t exactly skimped on either. There are 25 venues with 53 variations possible; those numbers are only what we’ve seen in trailers too. There could be loads more when the full game drops. The tracks are crafted in a similar way to the cars. Polyphony drive round the tracks with a HD camera (or ten) strapped to the car. They also take a tonne of images and then sculpt them into the digital presentation you see on your TV.
The game features a physics engine built from the ground up for GT5 and PS3. This means that Polyphony Digital have implemented the best Physics in a Gran Turismo game to date. A damage engine features in the game for the first time and whilst it may not be perfect, it’s a start and we haven’t seen the final version yet. This new engine implements other brand new features such as dynamic weather effects. This means that whilst driving round your favourite circuit it may start to rain, snow or just stay sunny. These effects can create hazardous conditions on the road so you may have to be that extra bit cautious of sliding. Basically, it’s like life. To add to this even more there’s a day and night cycle. Imagine that! The Nurburgring, pitch black, with headlights, in the rain. Oh yeah, you don’t have to, you can play it in GT5.
This new engine also allows for some graphical touch-ups. You’ll find that dirt and dust accumulates on your car, sparks fly off when you touch a wall, tyres smoke, cars rollover and brakes glow red hot! Worried that your hypercar will get muddy? PD’s got you covered as the game includes car washes. Yes. Car washes.
With over 1000 cars, what more could you possibly want? More cars? Polyphony Digital thought ahead, they bought us Go Karts. Most racing drivers start off in karts so what better way to start off your virtual career than the same way as real life? There looks to be only one or two karts available at this point though it sounds great to us with purpose designed tracks as well as the ones that are already there. Cool eh?
New features driving wise also include the very popular NASCAR from the states. Do you like driving in ovals? You can, of course, drive them on normal tracks too and they’re one of the “premium” car models so can experience more damage than other cars. Another addition is WRC, you can now drive your favourite rally cars around some world famous rally circuits. There’s also the opportunity (as with NASCAR) to drive them on normal circuits. Super GT cars are also present.
The online side of the game is obviously brand new and looks great (A noticeable upgrade from the lacklustre effort in Prologue). With up to 32 players in a lobby and up to 16 in a race it’s bound to get hectic. There’s support for custom lobbies and the opportunity to invite friends into your lobby. There’s text and voice chat too so those of you who want to can chat amongst friends (or some completely random) whatever way it suits you. Of course the main thing we all wish to know about any game with online is “does it work?” We obviously don’t know yet but we certainly hope so!
Of course with online multiplayer becoming more prominent in recent years, offline multiplayer has started to disappear. GT5 brings it back though; you can play it with another friend in split-screen.
The game also comes packed with a host of extras that aren’t part of the gameplay. There’s a screenshot mode and editor. This mode allows you to take some snaps of your car, apparently in up to 18mp resolution. The Photo Mode in GT5 adds in ‘Walk mode’ in which you can walk around your car (in a number of different locations) and take the picture from anywhere. Speaking of locations, there’s a load available, from outside churches, to parks, there’s even Red Bull’s hangar. There’s a load more available though. You can also take images from the replay mode in-game to capture your car whilst it’s doing what it was designed for.
Whilst we’re on the subject of the replay mode, the game allows you to upload these to YouTube or save them to your hard-drive. There’s been no indication on what quality/resolution this is though. We’d expect there to be an option, allowing you to choose what quality alongside how long it will take.
Another feature in GT5 is custom soundtracks. A feature that’s been in the PS3 for a while now but is only really utilized by PSN games with very few retail games including functionality. Rock out (or relax) to your favourite tunes whilst cruising around in your new car.
GT5 also gets a course editor, it’s not as fully featured as you’d come to expect in something like ModNation Racers but its pretty good nonetheless. You can select different sections that go together to form a track. More comparable to Scalextric I suppose. You can share these with friends and get theirs too.
GTTV makes its return from GT5: P, featuring a range of programmes ranging from episodes of Top Gear to car reviews. GTTV on Prologue left a fair bit to be desired so can GT5 pull it off?
B-Spec is back. For those who don’t know what B-Spec is, it’s essentially a Management simulator. You control the race, essentially being crew chief for your racing team. Another new introduction to GT5, Gran Turismo Anywhere, allows you to play your B-Spec progress anywhere (If you have a PC/capable other device). Let’s hope there’s a PSP version too!
There are a couple of new technological advancements too. GT5 will be completely in Stereoscopic 3D. We’ve played it and it’s impressive to say the least. The effect is not as in-your-face as other games and we felt that it was spot-on.
Another new feature is Playstation Eye Head-tracking. This will enable you to look around your cockpit by moving your head, as you would in real-life. Take a peek at an upcoming corner as you approach or simply look in your mirrors. A nice addition I think you’ll agree.
There’s also multi-screen support for up to 3 screens, though you’ll need 3 PS3s and 3 copies of the game. These 3 technologies can all be incorporated together too. Pretty sweet!
Polyphony have gone all out in GT5, collaborating with some of the largest brands around the world. Arguably the biggest, though, is Top Gear. The Top Gear test track will be playable and will allow you to play with up to 16 cars. There’s also rumoured to be more Top Gear integration such as lap times and more but nothing is confirmed.
Another of these collaborations is with Red Bull. As I’ve said, Red Bull’s hangar is available in photo mode and Polyphony Digital and Red Bull have put their noggins together and built a car. It’s called the X1 and it’s a beast. It produces 1483bhp but weighs a mere 545kg, it has a theoretical top speed of 249mph though whether you’ll ever hit that is debatable!
All this is great but what does it play like?
We’ve played GT5 at various events and it plays pretty much as you’d expect. Gameplay is GT all over though it obviously looks much better than any other version you’ll have played. We played all of the tracks in the demo. This included Toscana; a rally track. You slip and slide everywhere and it feels hugely satisfying when you pull off the perfect drift.
Handling feels spot on, though is obviously dependant on the car, the sense of speed in the game is also great. You feel as though you’re actually going the speed you are, no more, no less. The game’s not going to grant you any favours though, touch a kerb or brake too late and you’ll be off!
It’s just about time to wrap up our preview now. At this moment in time GT5 does not have a release date but Sony and Kazanuri Yamauchi (The guy behind GT) both say it’ll hit before Christmas. We’re excited to say the least. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations! Bye…