Published on February 2nd, 2010 | by prime0
Gran Turismo 5 – Preview
Another delay for the most anticipated racing game of all time doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence, but whenever developer Polyphony Digital does decide to stop polishing those hubcaps and unleash Gran Turismo 5 onto the gaming public, it’s fairly evident that we’re going to be treated to a driving experience that will be second to none.
If the recent GT Academy demo has taught us anything, it’s that Polyphony know exactly how to transfer the thrill of driving a real car into your living room. The handling model is deep and refined, responding to even the most subtle inputs and reacting to every bump, dip and crest in the road surface. But this should come as no surprise – this is Gran Turismo after all, and Polyphony’s reputation for delivering the most in-depth, almost obsessive compulsive look at car racing isn’t about to be decried.
And neither is their status as some of the finest graphic artists in videogame history. Gran Turismo 5’s slick presentation – particularly the beautifully designed menu screens and intricately detailed car models – looks exactly as you’d expect a next-gen Gran Turismo game to look. Even the minute detail, from the animated driver who looks into corners to the real-time reflections in the wing mirrors, ensure that Gran Turismo 5 is the finest looking and most technically precise racer that the world has yet seen.
But we all said that about the last one, didn’t we? Of course, at this stage it’s worth pointing out that Gran Turismo 5 is far more than just a high definition overhaul of its predecessor. While Gran Turismo isn’t about to forget its heritage – the framework of Gran Turismo 4 has certainly laid the foundations on which to build the PS3 version – GT5 introduces a variety of elements previously unseen within the series, starting with the most obvious one requested: damage modeling.
GT’s new damage modelling affects both the car’s performance and its looks.
Hit a wall or rival racer in GT5 and you won’t just bounce back off, as has been the case in every other Gran Turismo game released so far. You’ll sustain damage, both physically and mechanically, which will affect your ability to continue on in the race.
Bumpers buckle and doors swing on their hinges, while beneath the bonnet every collision has a subtle impact on the car’s performance, with a real-time deformation engine processing the exact level of damage exerted on the car based on the speed and angle of impact. A select number of cars – currently 170 out of the thousand-plus on offer in the game – will also be subject to interior damage, meaning that you’ll have to keep both eyes firmly placed on the road ahead if you wish to survive the race with your cockpit unscathed. Quite to what extent GT5’s damage modeling goes still remains to be seen – don’t go expecting Burnout Paradise levels of destruction here – but the sheer knowledge alone that the feature is present in the game should go some way to quieting the naysayers intent on accusing Polyphony of living in the past.
Night racing and full weather, too, bumps up Gran Turismo 5’s feature list, with options for both being available on every tracks. As if navigating the Nurburgring wasn’t a difficult enough task already, having to tackle it in the dark while dealing with torrential rain should provide a fair challenge to those looking for it. And then, of course, there’s the push for integrating PS3 titles with social networking sites, with Gran Turismo 5 offering players the chance to record their races and upload HD video directly to YouTube via their PS3. Gloating has never been so easy…
And that, ultimately, is the main appeal of any racer: to be the best, to hone those lap times and to dominate the opposition on the track. It’s a notion that could easily be pointed at Polyphony themselves, a studio who firmly believes that coming in second place is simply isn’t good enough. Fortunately for them, Gran Turismo 5 is well on track to being best in class.