For car-loving PlayStation 3 owners, Nov. 24 marked an important date: the release of “Gran Turismo 5.” After numerous delays instigated by a director known for his obsession with perfection, drivers could finally start their engines.
Fortunately, the delays seem to have been worth the wait. Almost every feature of GT5 screams polish. The controls are finely tuned to simulation-style racing and feel even better than the Xbox 360’s “Forza Motorsport 3,” GT5 most direct competitor. The addition of new features such as NASCAR racing and a leveling system help keep the game fresh. Of special note is the new in-depth photo mode, which gives the player professional-level control over their in-game snapshots. With pretty graphics, a well-taken shot in GT5 can rival real life.
The focus on this game is the cars, and there are a lot of them; 1,031 to be exact. Cars from all throughout automotive history make appearances, from the smallest economy vehicles to the flashiest super cars and beyond. Cars from makers such as Lamborghini and Bugatti were included for the first time in the history of the series, adding to an already impressive lineup of manufacturers. All cars are fully customizable, but not to the extent they could have been. Engine swaps are unavailable, and paint colors are limited. It’s a minor gripe, to be honest; the game never makes you feel like you aren’t in complete control of your car.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem is the AI. Computer-controlled racers stick to one line, following each other single-file and making passing a joke. They are also terrible at reacting to obstacles. As I was playing, I noted that if you attempt to block the track, the AI spends more time piling up behind you than it does trying to go around you.
AI issues aside, there is no matching GT5’s depth or precision. It was never a question of whether it would be good or not, but how good it would be. Race fans, be proud: your ride has arrived.