Gran Turismo 5 review
What you get, then, is one of the most comprehensive, interesting and surprising selections of vehicles, a variety of driving categories that keep the experience more riveting than any of the previous iterations in the series, a decent (though still evolving) online experience and measured improvements in key areas such as AI and damage.
Most crucially, though, you’ll be able to relish a class-leading console handling model that’s been carefully tuned to deliver an unprecedented level of performance.
Granted, it’s a game that is far from perfect. The menu progression can be clumsy and frustrating, while the online side of things really has a lot of catching up to do. Then there are silly, aggravating errors such as the distance markers on the side of tracks being made of solid, race-destroying concrete (rather than polystyrene), an odious and utterly unconvincing crash sound effect (unacceptable when engine noise is so masterfully conveyed) or deliberate restrictions on the part of Polyphony’s team that grate after so much time in development.
Why, for instance, can’t the outstanding day/night change effect be applied to all tracks? While I’m at it, albeit to a lesser degree, the wet weather option should enjoy the same liberty.
And despite the kind of remarkable technical achievements a bearded man would enthuse about for hours if he cornered you down the pub, this is the first game in the series to falter visually (at least in so frequent and obvious a manner), just as it’s the first GT to feel a little inconsistent as a package.
Both of these disappointments are in part a result of the game overstretching itself with regards to content. The ludicrous number of vehicles, the A-Spec and B-Spec career modes, the Licence Tests, a tuning model that’s as comprehensive yet more accessible than any previous interpretation, the captivating (and fully featured) Special Events option, a burgeoning online option and the continued quest for photorealism: GT5 packs in more under its hood than any driving game before it.
And that’s before you squeeze in the impressive density of the ‘peripheral’ inclusions: the Museum, Gran Turismo TV, Photo Mode, the community features. Again, these hark back to the philosophy at the core of what Polyphony sets out to achieve.
Like the previous models in the series, Gran Turismo 5 isn’t for everyone. It’s an unusually complex driving game that demands real dedication and only fully reveals its true power once you’ve put the mileage in.
Yet when it does, you’re unlikely to want to be at the wheel of anything else. GT5 is a staggering production that over-reaches on occasion, but it’s also one that engages and rewards in a manner that no other driving experience on PS3 can. If you’re still in doubt, that drenched Monza track is out there waiting…
Joao Diniz Sanches