Available in two forms at this year’s Eurogamer Expo, Gran Turismo 5 was available for hands-on in both ‘standard’, glorious high-def with force-feedback steering wheel and pedal combo to boot, alongside the eye-candy of three dimensions, thanks to the Playstation’s 3D capabilities. As intrepid journalists and savvy that our audience were keen to possess our verdict on all the game has to offer, we opted to try both, and found that the game was indefinitely more appealing on the precursor.
Graphically, Gran Turismo 5 is unparalleled in realism stakes, Polyphony‘s racer is without doubt the most attractive on the market, the lighting and effects engine superb in reflecting the environment in the shimmering bodywork of each of GT5′s entirely accurate car models, the beautifully modelled environments in which you race are sublime and hold true the exceptional perseverance that the developer has poured into every last drop of the game’s infrastructure. The in-car view is also positively brilliant, holding the car’s dash and curvature nuances, while not detracting from the racing feel that many racing games struggle with, in promoting a broader field of view.
Sadly, we have to mention our hands-on with 3D since the public showing is a sign that Sony feel confident enough in their product that they’re willing to take criticism, and thus, it’s where our time with the game floundered. While the leap into the three dimensions brought forward the steering wheel on the in-car view and leant a hand in drawing distances to opposing cars, the colour that managed to spring from the screen in splendour from the 1080p showing with the normal display was disappointingly mostly lost from the 3D TV version. It paled in comparison, lacking the visual crispness that Polyphony Digital have strived to achieve in the five-odd years or so that GT5 has been in development. The sharpness of the picture, meanwhile, was struck with an almost blurred distortion of otherwise bold lines. The HUD sprang out of the screen. However, we can’t criticise the game for the 3D implementation, although the likes of Guerilla Games’ Killzone 3 have rung only positive comments from their showing, so it’s a little distracting nonetheless.
Performance-wise, Gran Turismo 5 felt as physically robust and jaw-droppingly realistic as possible when you manage to get behind the wheel and guide the car around the track. Handling feels positively weighty and again, Polyphony have managed to take all that was great from the series in the PS2 reign and transfer it over to its first, full ‘next-gen’ release. In terms of AI, what we saw was a demonstration of suitably aggressive AI opponents, tussling side-by-side us after a swift exit from the corner. If anything had us particularly unimpressed, it had to be the supposed damage engine that will be seen for the first time in a Gran Turismo game. Whether it was an early build of the game remains to be seen, but careering into barriers at a nerve-tingling velocity rarely resulted in anything more than a slightly raised bumper, if anything at all! Again, the game may very well improve on such modelling come release, but we’ve seen much better, much earlier, so for Polyphony to be claiming top-notch realism when such small caveats can’t be filled is annoying.
We didn’t get to try out the rally mode that is set to appear in GT5 (boasting WRC in the final game; as well as NASCAR, Super GT and Go-Karting) so any judgements can not be made on what could push GT5 into further realms beyond the typical racer. Our limited time with the game was certainly good-looking, unapproachable in its push for realism and a guaranteed hit for the PS3. November couldn’t come sooner in our eyes.