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I have finally played the Gran Turismo 5 kiosk demo at a Walmart. I haven't played any GT demo since Gran Turismo HD back in 2006 or 2007. This is my chance to evaluate and share my first impressions of the upcoming Gran Turismo 5. What you are about to read involves my thoughts and opinions in regards to my experiences playing this game.
Let's set the mood with a picture:
^ from: gamerzones.com - Gran Turismo 5, ready to run full speed on your PlayStation 3.
* Single Player and Time Trial modes
* Five tracks: Rome, Toscana, Indianapolis (Oval), Nürburgring Nordschleife, and Tokyo R246
* no karts
* options for Active Steering and Driving Setup (standard or professional)
Now that I've set things up, it's time I share some ideas.
Rome (GT5 Version).Cars used: Ferrari 458 Italia and Ferrari Enzo
I still would rather race the Rome Circuit from Gran Turismos 2 and 3, but Rome Circuit in GT5 (which I might call "Neo Rome") is still plenty challenging to race. My initial impression is that the new Rome Circuit is pretty twisty and challenging. It even has more elevation changes and undulations than the classic Rome Circuit. This is a tough course.
* 458 Italia - Automatic - no TCS - Standard driving - Single Race
Racing with the 458 Italia on Standard with no Traction Control, it feels every bit like classic GT. I raced under Beginner settings for that one because I don't know what to expect from the AI. The car does handle very well and takes the Roman roads quite well.
* Ferrari Enzo - Automatic - no TCS - Professional driving - Time Trial
Everyone knows of the immense speed the Enzo delivers. It was up to me to find out what the Enzo is like in its paces in Rome. I must say- racing with the Professional model, it really feels like you're fighting the car to keep it on track. The car feels loose, and I've even done a great deal of fishtailing with the powerful Enzo. It is TOUGH trying to keep the car on the track in Professional mode!
* Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevrolet Impala (SETTINGS USED: Intermediate Difficulty - Professional Driving - no TCS - Active Steering Strong)
The new Rome Circuit has much more elevation changes than the classic Rome Circuit, making it tougher to keep all four tires on the track and away from the walls. The undulating roads make racing a real challenge. The undulating roads and curbing doesn't seriously impose for a stock car, but it does make it pretty intense to race with. I managed to clock a time of about 1:18 around the newer Rome Circuit in a stock car. Just make sure you don't apply too much throttle too soon, and avoid riding the inside curbs if at all possible.
* Lamborghini Gallardo... (SETTINGS USED: Time Trial - Professional Driving - no TCS - Strong Active Steering)
For the first time, I race a Lamborghini in a Gran Turismo game. At least unlike the Lamborghini Diablo JGTC that was in the Japanese version of Gran Turismo 3, this is a full-on and complete Lambo. The fact this is a mid-engine/4WD car means that I will have proper control. It's a blast to drive, and the interior view is very nice. I've never personally liked the Gallardo all that much, but it's a very solid car to race at Rome.
Toscana.Car Used: Citroen C4 WRC 2008
Options: no TCS - Standard Mode, then Professional Mode - Intermediate Difficulty
Toscana demonstrates the transition from day to night on a rather long course. This is where you see the lights come on as skies darken. I was absolutely astounded in seeing this model being put to work. It is worth watching to see the skies go from daytime to nighttime. It's the first-ever time stars in the skies have been shown. It looks absolutely fantastic.
Because I want to see the skies transition nicely, I didn't want to use the Citroen's in-car view. So I used the roof cam to see the skies go from day to night. With the sun illuminating from a window, I had a little trouble trying to see how I was driving. Let me say this right now- racing at night is TOUGH! Gran Turismo 5 is the first Gran Turismo to properly demonstrate how difficult racing at night can be. You actually sense the darkness and have to mostly rely on your headlights to see properly. I think Polyphony Digital needs to consider adding light pods to rally cars to help enhance vision at night. In regards to driving models, the model seems much more improved in off-road racing, but still not impressive rally racing quality. It is better than GT4's model as the cars don't feel as heavy in the corners.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Oval).CARS USED: Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevrolet Impala
SETTINGS USED: Intermediate Difficulty - Standard Driving - no TCS
I love Jeff Gordon. So it was great for me to pilot his Impala in this Gran Turismo 5 demo. It was my first chance to play-test NASCAR stock cars in Gran Turismo (not the cheesy Racing Modification for the Ford Taurus in GT2). I think the cars sound pretty accurate. American engine (especially V6 and V8 engines) sounds have been a problem area for GT games. The cars sound pretty well to me both from Chase camera and In-car views. On the first lap, my car kind of walked up the race track and into the wall at Turn 1. I built up enough of a draft try to chase down the other seven cars down the backstretch. I would lead either on Lap 2 or before Lap 2. I completed a lap of about 51 seconds around Indy on my second lap. The thing about Indianapolis is that you can take it at full speed or with variable throttle usage, but it's tough to keep a consistent line around Indy. I struggled to keep that consistent line. After having played the classic "NASCAR Racing" titles from Sierra/Papyrus as well as "NASCAR 07" from EA Sports, I have an idea as to how stock cars handle. I wasn't disappointed with the handling dynamics of the stock cars. Polyphony Digital was pretty much on point to me.
(ADDED: Sep. 30, 2010)
SETTINGS USED: Intermediate Difficulty - Professional Driving - no TCS - Active Steering Strong
The previous impressions were made with the Standard Driving model. This time, it's the Professional model. Here is an analogy for you... going from Standard to Professional with stock cars is like going from Minor League Baseball straight into Major League Baseball. The cars still handle pretty well. Only problem is, it's tougher to gather up the car in the event of a crash or spin. An oddity that I discovered is that my car's rear end was all bent up, but in the replay... it didn't show! The replay made it look like I had a perfectly-fine race car though the rear end was all beat up. My best lap was somewhere in the 51.4 range (maybe 0:51.499). The first effort wasn't very good, and despite a late run, I was unable to chase down the remaining cars to win as I made it to about 4th or 3rd place before the demo timed out.
(ADDED: Sep. 30, 2010)
* Audi R8 V10... (SETTINGS: Professional Driving - no TCS - Single Race - Intermediate Difficulty - ??? Active Steering)
Time to bring the German beauty known as the Audi R8 road car to Indy. The car handles very well, but with the Intermediate Difficulty, victory was tough to come by. In fact, I was lagging for a great duration of the race. As capable as my Audi was, I was unable to get into any kind of drafting battle. I managed to finish 4th (maybe 5th).
Nürburgring Nordschleife.CAR USED: Audi R8 V10... - ??? Driving - Beginner Difficulty - Single Race - no TCS
While there are others that love racing the Nürburgring Nordschleife, I loathe racing this course. I'm terrible at it. On a positive note, it looks great in this game. I was racing the beautiful Audi R8 V10 road car around the famed Nordschleife. The car handled very well around the menacing narrow roads of Nürburgring Nordschleife. I unintentionally whacked the front of cars I was I trailing through the race. At one point, a blue Corvette C6 was leading the race. I tried to overtake the 'Vette heading into a kink. I ended up whacking him off the road, my car hits the outside wall HARD, and the Corvette was still having trouble getting back on the road! Completely unintentional, but it's safe to say that Gran Turismo can now challenge Forza for intense crashes. The Forza Motorsport has even more intense crashes, but Gran Turismo is starting to show a lot more character in racing than ever before.
Tokyo R246.CAR USED: Motul Pitwork GT-R
SETTINGS USED: Automatic Transmission - Professional Driving - no Traction Control - Professional Difficulty - Single Race
Tokyo R246 is one of my favorite courses in the Gran Turismo series. So to challenge myself, I put the difficulty on Profesisonal and the driving on Professional. The racing line is gone in Professional Mode. And boy... I had my butt handed to on this one. The failing began when I spun out my GT-R out of Turn 1 after flooring the gas immediately. Afterwards, I became more defensive racing my car. The in-car view is great! Super GT/JGTC cars are usually great-handling machines, and the GT-R is no different in taming the streets of downtown Tokyo. I ended up losing the race, completing my misery. I finished 8th and basically wanted to play-test the damage model by intentionally hitting a tire wall heading into the backstretch. Finally, it's great to see the lights on the race cars even during a daytime race.
(ADDED: Sep. 30, 2010)
* SETTINGS USED: Intermediate Difficulty - Professional Driving - no TCS - Active Steering Strong
Tokyo got to experience what the roar of NASCAR stock cars is like rumbling through downtown Tokyo. One of my favorite tracks in Gran Turismo is still quite a torture test. I did my racing under Professional Driving. In doing so, I've gotten better appreciation of the low-speed properties of stock cars. You can ride the inside curbing around Tokyo R246 (or any other road course) quite well if in a good touring car or GT car. Try riding the inside curb in a stock car under Professional driving, and your car will spin out, and if you're [un]lucky, your car's front will get friendly with the outside wall. One thing you need to practice is proper low-speed racing and understand the car's tendency to fishtail or slide out haphazardly if you apply too much throttle too soon. You may also need to avoid riding the inside curbs to make sure your car is pointed in the right direction. After spinning out a few times and botching corners, I managed a time of about 2:06 around Tokyo R246, which is not bad considering how long this track is (3.18 miles).
* Motul Pitwork Z... again
I next tried to get revenge at Tokyo. This time, at Intermediate Difficulty. The GT racing cars are all so evenly matched that victory is tough to come by. Unlike the stock cars, I can aggressively ride the inside curbs and gather up the rear coming out of corners. I'm more comfortable with GT cars than stock cars in this game.
* It's just a demo, but I can already see the improvement in AI and in driving dynamics compared to GT4. GT5 should be a tremendous boost from GT4. Conversely, GT4 was a big boost from GT3.
* The particle effects are really amazing and adds some great environmental detail to Gran Turismo 5.
* I was greatly pleased with the lighting model as well as the night dynamics. It is TOUGH racing at night! I expect to see the night driving experience become much more intense and realistic as the best simulation of darkness and lighting are demonstrated here.
* The one thing I didn't notice about the racing line is that it is dynamic. The blue dashed line becomes a solid red line when you need to brake. I think Forza Motorsport still does a better job with racing lines. I tend to like a consistent line rather than the dashed line we've seen in past Gran Turismo titles.
* While people have complained of slow-looking replays, I tend to look at it as a great cinematic experience. You can not fault the quality of the replays. It feels more like you're watching a racing documentary or movie rather than a race that was just completed.
* (ADDED: Sep. 30, 2010) I noticed that in Time Trial, if the time is red, it means that you crashed or that you spun off the track. Those times, then, will NOT count when done with the Time Trial.
All in all, I can say that I'm pretty excited for Gran Turismo 5. I can only imagine what eight more cars to a track can be like compared to the eight to a track for the demo races. I would have loved to have raced in the rain and in other night races, but this experience has done just enough for me. I'm sold and convinced that Gran Turismo 5 may end up becoming the greatest Gran Turismo game ever. GT5's release will only make us wonder what Gran Turismo 6 will provide.
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Thanks to everyone for providing sufficient traffic to this blog. I hope my comments have offered some insight as to how I feel about my first GT5 demo experience. If you want to pre-order GT5 from Amazon, you can pre-orderby clicking on the image below. Once again, thanks to all of you for providing so much traffic to this blog entry!
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