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Gran Turismo 5 “Demo” Impressions

The legendary Gran Turismo series is nearing its return after a lengthy stop in the pit lane and is expected to hit shelves in March this year; at last! Polyphony Digital gave us a sneek peek on how the game was progressing in 2008 with the release of “Gran Turismo 5: Prologue” which was, in theory, a paid demo consisting of 6 tracks, 60 cars and some online racing. I was personally disappointed with Prologue and the GT5 game itself, especially the graphics department which was hyped to be “photo realistic”. When the announcement was made that another opportunity to try the game out would arise before its March release date, my spirits rose and I looked forward to seeing how the game had progressed with an extra years development time. So how is the latest build of GT5 coming along?

The latest “demo” is set in a time-trial format where you can upload your best times to the online leaderboards. When the demo is taken off the Playstation Store on January 24th, the top 20 players will compete against each other at a special event for the prize of getting behind the wheel of a real life Nissan 370z and testing the beauty out around a world renowned race track. This is seen by me as a good excuse to release another demo for gamers around the world to try out GT5 and a great way for Nissan to promote their company and latest car. This “Nissan Academy” demo as its known only consists of 1 race track and 1 car which at first disappoints, but on a bright note, it’s better than nothing.

When you start the demo, you get to choose between driving a tuned up or a standard Nissan 370z. The game claims the tuned up version is made easier to drive due to weight reduction, high-grip tyres and additional aero-dynamic components and therefore beginners should start with this car; sounds good to me! The first thing that caught my eye as the event loaded was how stunning the actual car itself looked. If I walked into the room and didn’t know a game was being planned, I could have easily mistaken it for a real Nissan 370z. The way the light reflects off of the bodywork is a sight to behold and small details such as reflections in the wing mirrors help to add a staggering amount of realism to the car. It will be an unbelievable achievement if Polyphony Digital can get 400+ cars looking even half as good as this.

The track and its environments are looking pretty good aswell. Small details such as cracks in the tarmac and skid marks are impressive, along with how real the grass and spectators look. However, even though Polyphony Digital have supposedly made a damage system for the game, it isn’t present in this demo and that was a huge disappointment. I was looking forward to trashing up the Nissan and seeing how GT5’s damage system compares to its rival Forza 3 impressive damage mechanics. Apart from a lack of a damage system, it is hard to fault GT5 from a visual standpoint and I hope the rest of the cars and environments look as impressive as these.

The games audio has disappointed me slightly. Everything from the uninspiring menu music to the distinct lack of roar and velocity of the Nissan’s engine comes across as a bit lacklustre. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with the games audio, it just seems a bit lame. Hopefully an adrenaline fuelled soundtrack in the full game will help boost proceedings a bit.

Even after driving just a few laps, it is clearly evident that the addictive, easy to pick up and play but hard to master gameplay that the Gran Turismo series is famous for is back in abundance. A blue driving line is present which shows you the path to take in order to achieve the quickest time possible, and this line turns red at certain points on the track, indicating when to hit the breaks. Forza 3’s driving line indicates how hard to accelerate by the boldness of the green accelerating line and this helps put the right amount of power into the corners and avoids you spinning out and losing control of the car. The lack of this aid in GT5 at first annoyed me, but it adds a welcome challenge to the driving and actually becomes quite fun judging how much acceleration to use when you get more comfortable with the controls. The standard edition of the Nissan 370z is a beast to control and completely dominated myself, so those looking for a challenge and to push themselves in GT5 won’t be disappointed.

Eventually stopping after approximately 20 laps due to hunger rather than boredom, the best time I achieved was 1 minute 47 seconds. The leading time is currently 1 minute 35 seconds, a massive 12 seconds faster than my measly attempt. How some people do it I don’t know… Looks like I won’t be driving the real life Nissan 370z! I’ll have to wait until I win the lottery instead.

Overall, Gran Turismo 5 is coming along very nicely. The graphics are stunning, especially the car itself, and the gameplay is highly addictive, making you say “just one more try” and then realising an extra hour has passed. If you have a PS3, I encourage you to check this out and let me know how badly you’ve beaten my time of 1 minute 47 seconds. All I have left to say is BRING ON MARCH!

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Gran Turismo 5 "Demo" Impressions, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
  • James Joell-Ireland

    I have to be honest, the demo didn’t impress me at all. I actually thought it look pretty hideous. The track was bland and although the physics were good, it just felt like a bore to play.

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  • https://wedonetwork.co.uk/wedotech/news/my-profile/?u=bax88 Alan Baxter

    Was a shite track yeah but addictive gameplay IMO

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