Gran Turismo 5 review

Gran Turismo 5

Monza, in the rain. Calsonic Skyline GT-R, in-car. Should anyone ever want to be fast-tracked into realising how good Gran Turismo 5 can be, I’d humbly suggest this deceptively simple combination is all they’ll need.

Even within the 450 metres that separate the start line and the first chicane, with your windscreen wipers swinging wildly like a bored suburban couple, the spray from your competitor’s tyres cutting through the drenched Italian tarmac, you know you’re in for something special.

But it’s not until you complete a lap that you appreciate how stressful and intense the last 3.6 miles have been. Having to find your braking and turning points from memory because the lashing rain obliterates your view; tentatively gaining a couple of places with a fortuitous move at the two Lesmos; tiptoeing around the outside of a nervous AI opponent as you round off the Curva Parabolica to go on to power past the pits.

A fraction later, the fact that you’ve just enjoyed one of the most rewarding driving game experiences of all time sinks in.

But nearly six years in the making, GT5 is also the most comprehensive driving game ever created. So where to start? Well, one step at a time seems right. Slot in the Blu-ray and after the swanky intro you’re asked whether you’d like to perform a full install. The good news is that doing so really cuts down on the very long loading times you’ll otherwise experience in-game (if you opt out, GT5 just installs each bit as you go along).

The kick in the camshaft, however, is that having had to wait this long to finally get to play Polyphony’s game, you’re then expected to suck up an Audi Q8-sized install that takes in the region of 50 minutes (sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on your model of PS3, it would seem).

Whichever path you follow leads you to the same destination: a screen that offers you the choice between GT Mode, Arcade, Course Maker and Gran Turismo TV. Taking them in order of least consequence, GT TV is where you’ll find Top Gear footage, along with a selection of motoring channels offering premium content (such as specialist race series not normally shown on television).

Relatively self-explanatory, Arcade gives you access to an initial selection of GT5’s tracks (more open up as you progress through GT Mode), which you can then play in Single Race, Time Trial, Drift Trial (a bit of a feeble feature that first turned up in Gran Turismo PSP) or the solid two-player split-screen option.