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PS3 Review – Gran Turismo 5

November 24, 2010 Written by Anthony Severino

After five years of development,Gran Turismo 5 is finally available at retailers worldwide. Now that the game has crossed the finish line, many are wondering if it was worth the wait. Find out in our in-depth review of the real racing simulator.

Gran Turismo 5 marks the first PlayStation 3 release of Sony’s record-breaking racing franchise, which first gained popularity on the original PlayStation thanks to its realistic graphics, unprecedented physics, and a massive roster of real-life automobiles. As the series has aged, it has become synonymous with the racing industry as well as a system-seller for Sony. It’s really no surprise that Gran Turismo 5 has become the PlayStation 3′s most anticipated game since it came to the spotlight at the console’s launch which now seems like ages ago. With such hype and anticipation, coupled with the franchise’s legacy, GT5 has some enormous expectations to live up to.

GT5 features over 1000 real-life, licensed vehicles, all tuned to perfectly perform using the game’s flawless physics engine. Every aspect of each individual car is painstakingly realized, dripping with polish. More than 20 tracks, all brought to life by a team of developers that have a love affair with racing. And that’s just the tip of the Titanic-sinking iceberg.

Upon loading up Gran Turismo 5, it is strongly suggested that you install the game’s main data to the PS3′s hard drive. Although losing some precious disk space and waiting 50 minutes to install all 8GB might seem daunting, it is indeed well worth the sacrifice since it will cut down on load times dramatically. From there, most will jump right into GT Mode, but the game does feature an Arcade Mode that is brimming with unlockable cars, tracks, and some split-screen goodness. However, the GT Mode is the main hub for Gran Turismo 5, and it is the mode where you’ll spend the majority of your time

The My Home screen will be your central hub that gives you access to the bulk of GT5′s single player content. My Home is where you find A-Spec and B-Spec modes, your garage, dealerships, special events, and much more. As you progress through each of these modes, credits and experience are earned allowing you to purchase new or used cars, maintain or tune vehicles, or even access certain events. New to the series is an RPG style leveling system which forces you to complete things like license tests and a larger variety of races in order to move forward. While this might come as a strange concept, it is Polyphony Digital’s way of making GT5 a more welcoming experience. The game eases you into the difficulty, and does a great job of ensuring that you understand the basics prior to battling the best. In addition, the game does a great job of balancing the progression. For example, early on in our adventure we didn’t have enough money or experience to buy a better Toyota Vitz to place in the Yaris Challenge, so we opted to modify the Vitz we’d won earlier to the point where it was powerful enough to not only place, but to win.

Modifying cars is one of the most rewarding components of the game. Taking a sub-100 horsepower car and turning it into a formidable beast on wheels is deeply satisfying. Body kits help to lighten the vehicle’s weight, and swapping out engines makes for a more thunderous ride. Though, what good is power when it takes too long to build up speed? Fix that with a better gear system and transmission. Even then, your car can’t perform unless your oil is changed frequently, and when you’re driving a $300,000 supercar, you want it to look its best so feel free to head to the shop and give it new rims, tires, a fresh coat of paint, or maybe just a car wash will do. It’s all there in Gran Turismo 5, and it seems like everything racing-related made its way into this expansive package.

While preparation is all fine and dandy, the real experience lies in driving these pristine automobiles. Gran Turismo is well-known for its A-Spec mode, which puts you in the driver’s seat on a variety of tracks and challenges. Working your way up through the ranks from a beginner to a professional takes dedication, skill, and a handful of patience to go along with it. Everyone wants to drive the Lamborghini, but you’ll have to win with a Honda Civic before you prove you are mighty enough to tackle the exotic beauties of planet Earth. The challenges available during progression have various requirements, which will have you driving cars from many different manufacturers across a number of decades. Learning to adapt and learn the rules of the road is an important part of succeeding in Kaz Yamauchi of Gran Turismo 5. Continue reading…

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