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Editorial: My Final Thoughts on GT5

There’s not enough grand about Gran Turismo 5 to make it a solid “game” experiance. While it is an amazing simulator, and the physics are superb, the game itself is not only lacking, but very poorly paced. Most will complain about the lack of Premium cars, but my biggest letdown is in the events; or lack there of. And I hear some complaints about the UI. Not an issue with me, I find it gorgeous and have no trouble navigating through the interface to get to where I want to be.

My biggest issue with Gran Turismo is the atroicious pacing. You are given a set amount of money to buy a car with. There are a few Premium cars you can buy, but your best bet is the Used lot (otherwise known as “standard cars”). Real quick, the difference in detail between the two is noticeable, but to be honest, I don’t care that I have a detailed cockpit, or that every single rivet on the car is precisly placed. I race the cars. You should be able to take ALL the cars into Photo Mode and take pictures of them if you want to. You should be able to perform a Racing Modification on some of the Standard cars as well (more on that later). So my problem isn’t that theres not enough Premium cars, but more along the lines of “Standard cars get no love”. But I digress.

So you get your car and take it to a race. The problem with the lack of events doesn’t become apparent until after you’ve done a few of the races. Let’s say you buy the Premium Honda Civic. You knock out the first set of three races, no problem. You move on to the “FF Challenge” set of races and finish it. Now’s the point to where you are pretty much obligated to pick a new car. And because the opponents don’t scale with you (it would be nice to have a difficulty slider, and the higher the difficulty the more money and experiance you gain), the race quickly becomes a Time Trial. And after you spend 30,000+ on a car, not to mention more on some tuning (I’ve found you rarely have to tune a car to it’s max in the beginning), you quickly realize you have to move on and buy ANOTHER car, which you probably don’t have money for. Which sends you back to the “time trial”, erm, race, to get some more money. It’s a sad cycle, which is sadder by the events you have to waste money on. Truck racing?? You buy a truck, which cost me 34,000 or so, plus another 30,000 on tuning, all for two (MAYBE three, but I’m pretty sure that series was two) races. There’s a Mini Cooper race, where you HAVE to have a Mini Cooper, which means you need to go buy one, tune it a little, and then race.. in ONE FUCKING RACE. And guess what? YOU WIN A FUCKING MINI COOPER!!!!!

In GT4 there used to be “Dealership Events”. You had broad races, like the standard “Sunday Cup”, “80’s Japanese Series”, etc. And then you had those awesome Dealership Races, like “Rotary Brothers(?)”, where you had to use a rotary powered car. Or a Type-R series, where you had to use a Honda Type-R of some sort. Instead, they just cluttered everything together and scrapped what seems like 50% of the races. It’s a huge disappointment for me, because they have 1,000 cars, and not enough races to use them in. Sure, I could buy a Suzuki Cappacino, and use it in the very first race, but with the right tuning, it becomes a Time Trial, as I said before. And on top of that, the money and experiance you gain are nothing compared to later racers. I got 13,000 credits for 6th place in a later race. You get 4,000 credits for first in the first set of races. it’s sad, it truly is. Five years of work, and it seems less complete than GT4. Sure, there’s 200 more cars (GT4 had 700-800), and I won’t even complain about various models. I LIKE that crap, because I’m a car nut. But the game itself has taken a backseat, to what seems like a publicity stunt (ie. NASCAR), and car fanboy’ism (ie. Premium Cars). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a car fanboy, but that level of detail is clearly not needed to RACE A DAMN CAR. You aren’t having online car shows. You are barreling down a track, slamming on the brakes at a precise moment to take a turn at the perfect apex in order to have a faster lap than the lap before. You are drafting behind a line of cars, only to swerve to the outside and overtake them in a corner because you have the lighter car, and don’t have to brake at the point they do. You’re drifting around a corner by accident (or on puprose in my case) and clamoring to regain control so you don’t spin out, and when you do get control and straighten the car, you smile. Because you are awesome. THAT is what GT is about. Not precision-detailed interiors. Again, very cool, but not cool enough to make a lack-luster “game”.

Racing Modifications made a welcome return. Well, sort of. Out of the 200 cars I thought could have a RM (while low, I was still content), NOT EVEN 20 CAN GET A RACING MOD!!! Seriously?! So what was the point of bringing them back? Why not just make those 20 cars like every other race car that costs 500,000 credits or more? It’s quite possibly my biggest letdown. I was the guy that bought damn near every car I could in GT2, and the first thing I did was look to see what the RM looked like. Tons of cars had the option back then.

The game has a slight community feature. I have yet to try the online racing, per say, but it’s there. And you can see the progress of friends, and if they opt to “share a car”, you can see some of their favorite cars. And you can trade cars as well, as I have traded back and forth cars I used to finish later races to my wife, and she’d trade me cars that I didn’t own (or want to own.. yeah, I’m looking in your direction, Mini Cooper…). We’d swap back, and the world was a better place. But some sort of leaderboard between friends per event would be nice. Show what car they used in that event to get their best time, maybe even have more options like the one mentioned, as well as the last car used and it’s time. Maybe swap ghosts, and race against that as well as the crappy AI. If I can’t progress my credits and XP in online races, I have no desire to do them; however, with “friend ghosts”, I’d be more apt to do events over again.

Don’t even get me started on the “realistic” damage. That’s bullshit. I spent 20 minutes trying to get a trophy for making a part of the car fall off, like a bumper or hood. 20 minutes of slamming into barricades going 100+ miles an hour. I flipped the car on three different occasions. Finally, after 20 minutes, the doors fell off. 20 minutes of abusive driving.

The game physics are amazing. The detail is fantastic. But the game itself lacks in so many areas, I could not rate this a super high score, even based on my love for the series. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE this game, and don’t regret buying it at all. It sits proudly as one of my favorite games, but it has SO much potential, I don’t think we are going to see it maximized. Not to mention, I’ve heard that Kaz (the creator) has said there will be no DLC. How stupid are you, Polyphony? There are dumb ass’ like me that would pay out the ass for car packs. Instead, he’s working on GT6. The trend I’ve noticed is (and feared this was going to be true before GT5 came out) every even numbered Gran Turismo sets the bar, and the odd numbers are just micro steps to get their feet wet on the platform. GT1 on PSOne was okay. GT2 on PSOne set the bar. GT3 on PS2 was a launch PS2 game, and not even mediocre in my opinion. GT4 on PS2 was an amazing game, and my favorite PS2 game of all time. GT5 on PS3 was them getting their feet wet. Let’s hope GT6 comes out soon enough to steal the banner back, and make Gran Turismo grand again.

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