Gran Turismo 5 review

I’ve never been into the Gran Turismo games. If I want to drive a car I’ll get in an actual car and drive it. I’m pitched firmly in the Burnout frame of mind where racing’s all about ludicrously high speed, drifting round corners and then smashing someone out of the way into a ditch. It’s not realistic, but after all I play games for escapism. Right, rant out of the way, what does GT5 have to offer after 6 years of development?

Well, it looks nice – very nice indeed. If you’re driving one of the 200 premium cars you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at real video of them. The attention to detail is incredible, not only exterior but also in the perfectly modelled interiors. It’s a shame then that the standard cars haven’t been given the same level of detail and next to the premium cars it’s very noticeable.

Speaking of which there’s also far too much detail in the daunting menu screen. With so many options it’s easy to get lost at first. There’s the garage, arcade mode, A-Spec and B-Spec mode each with their levels of difficulty, the photo mode, the car dealer and special events. And that’s not everything. If you’re a proper car nut you’ll get a lot of joy from this game racing some of your favourite models around famous tracks all over the world. They’ve even got the Top Gear Test Track in there so you can pretend to be The Stig and see if you can make some respectable lap times.

It’s not just about the looks though – Polyphony really have got the physics very right if you’re into that sort of thing. You’ll have to judge your racing line, braking and accelerating out of corners perfectly if you want to shave those milliseconds off your lap times. It helps then that you can turn on things to assist you such as the racing line and areas you should be braking in order to not spin right off the track and nosedive into a tyre wall.

I had most fun driving round the cities I’ve been to. It’s great fun doing a bit of sightseeing as you race round central London but I did notice some of the shops weren’t up to date. I guess the delays in getting the game out mean they didn’t have time to change the Burger King at Piccadilly into a bank.

So is this game for you? Well it depends what you want from a racing game. If you’re into Blur, Mario Kart and Burnout I’d steer clear. If you fantasise about driving a Pagani Zonda and can’t afford one then give this a spin. It’s definitely the Rolls Royce of racing games but I prefer Lamborghinis. It gets an excellent 8 out of 10.

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