Video Game Review – Gran Turismo 5

Images courtesy of Sony and http://www.iamclosetgeek.com

Upon arrival home on my recent birthday I was graced by an awesome present from my eldest son. A copy of Gran Turismo 5 for the Playstation 3. I have been waiting for this game for six patient years. I was skeptical about keeping this game and having my son instead exchange it for a copy of need for speed hot pursuit, which has been given a multitude of high reviews but instead kept it to give it a try. I longed to play Gran Turismo that night but chose to get some rest and wait for the next day. The following night upon inserting the disc I was prompted to install data for the game to shorten load times of the massive cars, tracks, and other goodies. Hey, I already waited six years why not wait another hour.  After an hour wait, the madness commenced.
The game starts off in the typical GT mode where you build up your driver by gaining licenses, racing in cups with different classes, buying and selling vehicles, etc. Players still have the joys of purchasing cars from winnings earned from races and then modifying them. First place wins still sometimes award you with specialty vehicles or rewards. The typical Gran Turismo experience of the past. The layout of the menus are easy to get around and are detailed enough for the beginner to the most dedicated Gran Turismo player. Present are A spec events and a new B spec event feature which allows you to create drivers and coach them. Basically you get to watch them drive and give them instructions. Not my cup of tea.
All in all the game itself plays fantastic. You can feel the feedback in the controller; the weight of the vehicle as you go around turns, bumps from other cars or obstacles, and a new feature where your vehicle will take damage if it is abused too much. The view inside the vehicle is tremendously detailed and very realistic. Some tracks also have weather effects, which adds significantly to the experience. Especially, the feeling of a slight hydroplane in a car with the ABS on. There are also the special events, which include kart racing, rally, and NASCAR, which I have yet to try. The computer opponents are OK but I have heard that they are more competitive once you progress higher into the game.
The game plays great but how does it look…unbelievable.  The tracks and environments are awesome as well as the 1000 plus vehicles available to drive. As you can see by the screenshots I posted the detail in this game is sick. The shots I provided are from replays of actual races I played with a supped up version my car, which I drive daily. A Volkswagen MKV GTI. Everyone that has played Gran Turismo knows that the joy is not only in the race itself but in watching the replay of your race. This shots were taken by another cool feature in the game which allows you to save replays of races and take shots by free roam with a camera throughout the replay to your discretion at different angles and points. Look at the detail of the grass being kicked up from the tires.
The online community is great also. Here you can join rooms to race other players, compare stats and car inventory, and even give vehicles away as gifts. There is also a track editor, which allows you to create your own tracks and keep them to yourself or share them online. I did not hit every aspect of the game but all in all Gran Turismo is a monster of a game and will provide hours of enjoyment. Although it is not your typical arcade racer, I highly recommend it to any gamer that loves driving games. 
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