Gran Turismo 5 review

Gran Turismo 5

The available cars, meanwhile, are selectable from a limited list, but you can add to these by importing your garage from GT PSP – a neat feature, although one that sadly doesn’t work with the GT Mode portion of the game.

Before we get to that bit, I really must highlight the Course Maker. Rather than a fully featured track editor, Polyphony has opted for a ‘track randomiser’. So you tweak a few parameters and the game spits out a circuit according to your settings.

It sounds simple because it is, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not worth tinkering with, because now and again the system throws up a hugely enjoyable stretch of tarmac (which you can obviously save to your My Tracks section), further stretching GT5’s already staggering longevity.

And that length becomes evident the moment you step into GT Mode. The throbbing engine at the heart of the GT5 experience, this is where the four-stroke magic happens. Seasoned GT players will instantly recognise many of the elements present.

Yes, the Licence Tests return, of course, and can prove as joypad-at-the-wall irritating as they’ve always been, but so do the A-Spec and B-Spec options. These distribute GT5’s many, many race events, showcasing the game’s numerous car disciplines across a series of difficulty tiers.

You can, as in the past, play the entire game in B-Spec mode, training your team of AI drivers into racing demons through real-time guidance. It does mean having to sit through the events as they happen, but I recognise that some people will find some perverse pleasure in doing so, and I’m certainly not here to judge.

For most, though, A-Spec is where it’s at. Wisely, your entry to events isn’t tied into which driving licences you hold (the tests are just there for sentimental ‘fun’, I suppose) but rather to a level-based system. You earn experience from doing well in races, and as you level up you’re granted access to higher stages of competition.

It’s a simple and clever way to control progress, limiting access to the more insane machinery and ensuring that you build up your driving skills gradually. (Although you can, of course, get carried away and tune up your Toyota Vitz to silly levels of performance – that fundamental joy of GT hasn’t been stripped away.)

You’ll need ability, because while GT5 does include a smattering of modest vehicles and a full set of adjustable driving assists, things soon start speeding up. The car selection is immense (over 1,000, you’ll no doubt know by now), with all of the usual suspects from Ferrari, Lamborghini
and friends, as well as race-prepared machinery you need to respect.