Hands-On: Gran Turismo 5

James is at Eurogamer Expo 2010 in London, and while he’s trying to enjoy himself at his first games showcase, he’s also trying to work and get some hands-on time. This is one of several previews of games featured at this year’s event.

So, what’s there to be said about Gran Turismo 5 that hasn’t been said already? It has loads of cars, loads of tracks, fantastic visuals, 3D, karting, rallying, NASCAR, AI Team management… I could go on. So instead of rattling off a lorry load of features, I’ll talk about how the game plays, shall I?

This is where it gets tricky. There is almost no way of saying”It plays like you’d expect Gran Turismo to play” except for exactly that. There is almost no stick to measure it against (save maybe Forza 3, but since I’ve not played that, I can’t pass comment), except it’s predecessor, which already had realism pretty nailed down. The version I played was in Arcade mode with a handful of cars and 5 tracks: Tokyo R246, Toscana (the demo’s rally stage), the Nurburgring Nordschliefe, Citta d’Aria, and Cursa Del Sol.

Naturally, I did the first thing I could have wanted to do, and played the game in full-3D. I’ll touch up on the visuals in a bit but gameplay wise, the added dimension did kinda help out a bit. This version had the racing line shown by default, making it easy to follow, and do well around the track, provided you paid attention to it. The game still oozes of realism top-to-bottom, it still feels very GT to drive, so even if you didn’t pick up Prologue or the PSP version between GT4 and now, you’ll be right at home as if nothing’s happened. The timer on the demo was pretty limited, so there wasn’t enough on the clock to test whether the car damage is purely cosmetic (or in this case, not) or whether it will have any effect on the car’s speed and/or handling though, I’d have loved to test it but alas, without a clearly visible GT booth rep available to answer that question for me, it remains to be seen.

The visuals remain as shiny as ever, particularly when viewed in full 3D. The HUD sorta pops out from the screen a bit, making it easier to see more of what’s happening on the track, and passing trees, dust clouds and opponents’ cars (when using the behind-car camera) all appear more towards you than in plain viewing. The car models are also a tad shinier as the 3D really brings a new aspect to the in-game lighting effects.

In other related news, NASCAR cars can indeed turn right! Much joking was made at their inclusion to the game that the only track they’d be suited for is the oval circuits, but that was swiftly negated with 2 minutes around the Nurburgring. It recognises each car by their respective driver and main sponsor, although the AI drivers themselves have generic names. This could lead onto a theory I have about getting into long winded championship rivalries with other drivers, much like you’d expect in real racing, so I think this could play a part in it.

All in all, it’s a solid package, ready to deliver on it’s promises, and after a six year wait these last few weeks will feel more like months to those who’ve waited this long for it to be within touching distance of the finish line. The game retails on November 2nd in the Americas, and on the 3rd in Europe.

By James Henderson

James grew up with a Commodore 64 at the tender age of 3, and has practically had a controller of some description stapled to his hands ever since. He also enjoys watching sports in his spare time, which makes him PXOD's de facto sports guy. He's been with Press X Or Die since June 2010.