Sometimes there are simply games you just cannot believe you are reviewing such has been the tension and apprehension about their imminent arrival! And to give one idea as an example Gran Turismo 5 might be one of the most constantly delayed games but this is not the real reason this is such a daunting review to write. To be honest this is one game which wears its five year long development schedule on its sleeve, and it seems barely a second was wasted.
Depending on the person who says it, or indeed their viewpoint, describing Gran Turismo as a simulation rather than a video game is either a great compliment or an element of criticism. And what might be the reason for this? Well, to give an example, it still features an interface and structure which would be laughable and pilloried as unforgivably complicated or geeky if the focus and subject matter was any the less socially acceptable than cars (a foible it shares with Football Manager).
Although there are literally one hundred and one ways in which to play the game, you’ll soon discover that most will begin with the appropriately named GT Life mode. In fact, here, when picking your first car, from used dealership, feels just as real and momentous as your first rusty old banger in real life itself! But there’s a difference: in Gran Turismo you realise you’re going to be able to upgrade rather more quickly than usual.
And the game isn’t described as a simulation due to austere presentation, but more due to the fact of its consistency and realism in handling and physics which brings it closer to reality as modern console technology will allow. This is an illusion of which the graphics remain an integral ingredient and obsessed with to a similar degree. They are not, however, an envelope-pushing milestone some might have expected for there are quite a few problems emanating with jaggies and blocky shadows.
The nearest the game comes to real disappointment is in the two areas where it has always unperformed and these are artificial intelligence and damage modelling. Both have improved, of course, but they still remain the weakest elements of the game. And even though it isn’t as common as it used to be opponents will stile pile into you if you’re in the way, and, although they offer a significant challenge, it is honest to say it remains one of robotic competence and not human-like unpredictability.
However, there’s a problem with damage modelling: you only get the full effect on “premium” car models. These comprise the top 20 percent most detailed vehicles (and the only vehicles with proper interior views), whilst the remainder are buffed up ideas or versions from previous games.
At the same time there’s almost bound to be a lot of internet grassing concerning installing data, yet bearing in mind the amount of content the game copes with it very well. By default it will only install data as and when you first access it. Of course you can opt to install everything at once - and this takes the best part of an hour - but the decision is purely yours and entirely optional.
One final observation to make is that if like most of GC Towers staff you have not liked Gran Turismo’s sometimes po-faced approach to driving games this won’t change your mind in anyway. In fact, some of the choicest one-word descriptions in the office, who had to be dragged to the steering wheel kicking and screaming, were “sterile”, “pedantic” and “boring”.
But despite these detractors Gran Turismo has always flourished so for all-comers or everyone else involved this will be credited as a resounding success, even if it’s a success which values quantity of content over substantive change. Of course, it goes without saying there are still clear areas for improvement but for the present time this presents the best driving simulation available - even bearing in mind it might not be the best driving game.
So in short what’s the conclusion? Well, fans are unlikely to be too disappointed, with the developer’s automotive obsession always evident. But, to be honest, this is definitely a refinement rather than a revolution.
And what of the pros? Well, both the handling model and attention to detail is truly astonishing, embodying a weight of content - relating to modes, tracks and cars - that appears almost ridiculously generous.
And the cons? Artificial intelligence is still not top drawer (or top dog!), with damage modelling vying for equal attention, being similarly limited, of course. There are minor graphical issues at the same time. In fact, it’s still of very little interest to non petrol-heads.
But you can still take pleasure in your everyday car game racing exercises with OpenWheeler!
The OpenWheeler racing seat offers fantastic driving realism as well as pleasure thanks to the correct driver seat position, the firm backside and shoulder support, and the fantastic positioning of the steering wheel and the pedals.
And OpenWheeler comes with a real game racing cockpit. The collapsible seat offers a genuine car sliding system for backward and forward adjustments, where you can play your favourite car racing games such as Formula 1, Ferrari Challenge, and, of course, not forgetting Gran Turismo!
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