It’s been nearly a year since Gran Turismo 5 screamed to the starting line after years of development. Constant updates and seasonal races have been enough reason to come back for some, but now the first set of downloadable content for the game has been released. It includes two tracks, 15 vehicles, racing gear, and paint items, all available under a complete package or individual parts. It’s an enticing package, but is it worth your hard-earned money?
Perhaps the most attractive piece of Gran Turismo 5‘s DLC (in total $11.99) are the new tracks, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Kart Space. Spa is one of the most renowned racing locations in the world, and was probably the only weakness in Gran Turismo 5‘s original set of tracks. Its transition to the game has been remarkable, and every turn, curve, and edge of the track has been brilliantly articulated into the virtual world. Spa is now easily one of the best tracks in the game, and stands confidently next to the famous Nurburgring. Not only does it contain some extremely well-placed and difficult turns, but it is well balanced between speed and technique, offering an easy to learn, but difficult to master experience. This is one of those maps that you can drive around hundreds of times and never get tired of and, unlike Nurburgring, it is average in length, so if you mess up a corner you won’t feel too hard-pressed to completely restart your lap.
Kart Space is a fun little track, and is quickly going to win over anyone who enjoys the kart racing in Gran Turismo 5. There are two styles of map available, one which includes a difficult hairpin turn, while the other avoids it altogether. They might be nearly identical, but the course is extremely fun to race on. The visual atmosphere makes for a light-hearted race to anyone looking for some fun. It’s also excellent for drifting, whether in a kart or a drift-based vehicle, so those looking for a quality track to master will find Kart Space to be a breathtaking winner.
The list of cars offered in the Racing Car Pack range from the all-American muscle of the Dodge Challenger SRT8 Touring Car, to the Subaru IMPREZA Touring Car. While these cars have some unique modifications, and as a result a different feel from their original counterpart, it’s difficult to shake the feeling that these are just modifications of existing cars in the game. Their paint jobs are definitely eye-candy, and if you’re looking for more Skylines and karts you’ll be happy to see that they make up about half of the pack. While the list of cars isn’t particularly satisfying, the Red Bull X2011 Prototype ’11 was an outstanding addition to the package, and now gives players who may not want to deal with the Red Bull challenge the opportunity to use one of the most surreal vehicles in any game. It looks slick, operates like a bat out of hell, and can easily give you another two or more hours of entertainment by itself.
The dozens of helmets and racing suits are a nice touch for those who enjoy B-Spec, but are merely visual. You can now truly stylize your drivers, and show friends that you mean business, but outside of that the package won’t offer anything to revitalize your gaming experience. Similarly, the Paint Pack is a nifty little addition, and offers 100 different paint colors to use. These range from polarized to pastel colors, and cover just about any color type you could want. This is great for the players out there who like to customize their garage, and play online in-style, but once again, outside of that there’s little entertainment to be had here. Also, once you use one of the colors it’s lost forever, so be careful what you use the paint items on if you do decide to purchase the DLC.
When it boils down to it, the first round of downloadable content for Gran Turismo 5 contains a brilliant new course, a fun go-kart track, and 15 vehicles which are modified versions of existing cars. It’s not much for those looking for a significant reason to come back to the world of Gran Turismo and play another hundred hours, but Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a highlight that can’t be ignored. If you’re a fan of automotive racing, or just enjoy playing Gran Turismo 5, you’re going to want to purchase the Course Pack as soon as possible, and if you enjoy B-Spec and/or customizing your garage, then pick up the Complete Pack so you can receive everything for a reduced price.