Gran Turismo 5

There’s a lot of game here. A lot. I suppose there ought to be for the time it took.

Platform: PS3*
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-2 (Online: 16)
ESRB: Everyone (Mild Lyrics)

Gran Turismo 5 took a long time to make, but boy did Polyphony make something with that time. GT5 features some 1031 cars, all of which look great. These range from rally cars to go karts to NASCAR vehicles.

All in all, this is a great game. It’s nice in that you can pick it up and set it down and come back later and you’re still pretty much there, adding longevity to its already outrageous replay value.

There are two big modes of play here: A-Spec, which is the traditional you-the-driver going through races to earn money, cars, etc. The B-Spec mode puts you in the position of a sort of crew chief overseeing your own team of drivers and leading them through the races. This mode doesn’t add much to the game and I can’t say I wasted much time with it. If you’ve played through a good portion of the A-Spec, you can give your driver a good car and not worry about him for a few races, and then it gets pretty rough trying to find races your rookie driver can win.

The A-Spec, on the other hand, is great. And long. If there was ever such a thing as a game that was too big, this is it. If you’re a completionist, this game will stress you out, and you may, in fact, give up. The A-Spec in itself is an undertaking not for the faint of heart. The level cap is 40, and things start getting really slow around 23, which means there’s a lot of gameplay left. Moving on to the B-Spec, there is also a 40 level cap, which your racer may not even reach as he reaches a point where his stats peak. Luckily you have a team of several racers you can keep replenishing if you really want to. The credit cap (and most expensive car) is 20 million, also a very hefty milestone. One has to do a lot of racing to get close to any of these, and I didn’t really think it was worth the time.

The racing itself is pretty solid. The only complaint I can really note is an extreme difficulty driving in traffic versus being ahead. While I know this is how racing is, it seems awfully difficult to get up to first place if you’ve already been there and something went horribly wrong. If you drop down to third, more often than not it’s where you’ll stay.

The NASCAR and Top Gear special events gave me fits. The Top Gear is ruthless when disqualifying you, and it happens even when you get rammed as opposed to you ramming someone. The NASCAR is pretty reasonable until the advanced one, which I have yet to beat. What makes the NASCAR events frustrating is Jeff Gordan. This is the only mode you’ll ever have anyone talking to you while you race, and it’s awful. “Did you mess up somewhere?” and his two or three other “catch-phrases” add a Madden-computer-defense-knowing-where-you’re-going-to-throw-the-ball-before-you-do level of anger and frustration to what can already be a wearing experience when you’ve been disqualified several times.

Car damage hardly exists. Even purposely careening around the track into every hard wall available results in minimal damage, and trying to get a piece to fall off of a car can be brutal. While it’s nice for those of us who have dedicated a lot of time to Need For Speed and have a reckless disregard for what we crash into, it takes away from the realism of the game.

Other than these issues, this is a great game. It looks amazing and plays (for the most part) like a dream. For the hardcore racing fans, I can’t recommend anything better. Just be sure to know what you’re getting into if you can’t leave it unfinished.

Bottom Line: 9/10

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