Gran Turismo 5 review
Of course, the toughest competition comes from human opponents. While GT5’s online component got off to a dreadful start (with overrun servers affecting both on- and offline play – due to the game’s constant communication with its community features), a swift Polyphony patch got things moving. At the time of typing, the experience is much improved, if a little shaky, and its implementation is undeniably dated.
But when everything works, there’s some excellent racing to be had.
While you wait for that side of the game to improve (Polyphony has vowed to keep evolving the online aspect), there is thankfully plenty to keep you busy. Most engrossing is the new Special Events section.
Given little prominence within the GT Mode screen, this selection of challenge-based events is a game within a game. It takes in GT5’s vast span of racing categories, from (excellent) karting and NASCAR through to Top Gear-track shenanigans in a VW Camper, WRC running and considerably more before culminating in the Red Bull X1 experience.
It’s a superb offering, with a clear and compelling structure. It also adds a sense of diversity that works wonders in terms of keeping GT5 stints fresh and exciting, rather than the grind some may have felt previous instalments in the series turned into.
Conversely, it’s perhaps the hardest GT to fall in love with. Approach it with the wrong expectations, built up over six years’ worth of patience, and you’ll face considerable initial disappointment.
If pure racing is all you long for, you’ll find a far more accomplished overall experience in Codemasters’ Race Driver Grid. If arcade, car-smashing fun is your thing, there’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
But looking for a revolutionary experience? Sorry, Polyphony stopped doing revolutionary after the very first GT back in 1997. GT5, like its predecessors, is entirely focused on getting you to share in its love of the automobile.