Gran Turismo 5: Prologue PlayStation 3
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Polyphony Digital
Release Date: Out Now
There aren’t too many games that you would be interested in purchasing a work in progress for. The Gran Turismo series is one of those rare exceptions however and because the gap between sequels is so great, fans of the series are always keen get to their hands on anything that becomes available. As you all know, Gran Turismo 5 will be the first title in the series to be developed for the PlayStation 3 but with the game’s release date being sometime in 2009, fans of the series are certainly not going to complain about the release of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. Of course it’s always difficult to judge a work in progress but from what we’ve seen of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, it’s fair to say that Gran Turismo 5 is set to become the best game in the series.
The first thing that surprises you with GT5: Prologue is how much content is here. There is an Events mode where you can race in a series of races. You’ll begin by only being able to afford one of the smaller, cheaper cars but as you progress you’ll be able to use your winnings to buy bigger and better cars. In short it’s offering you a piece of the total GT experience (you can’t upgrade your cars in Prologue however). Arcade mode allows you to compete in races and Time Trials. Online allows you to take on fellow GT fans from all around the world. Up to 16 players can take part in the races and there always seems to be a good amount of races to take part in. Online races can lag quite a bit at times and you can bet that this is something that will be constantly improved before the release of the full version of GT5. Offline multiplayer is also catered for with support for two players in the 2P Battle mode. There’s also a GT-TV mode that allows you to watch car and game related video clips. At the time of writing there are about four videos that have been added for you to watch. It’s worth pointing out that only the Japanese dialogue in these videos is subtitled meaning that deaf gamers will miss out on quite of lot of verbal content.
The game only includes six different circuits for you to race on which is a little disappointing, but there is a good amount of variety between the six that are on offer. Included are Daytona, Fuji Speedway F, Eiger Nordwand and Suzuka. There are just over seventy cars in the game from around 16 different manufacturers such as Citroen, Renault, Ferrari, Lotus and Volkswagen. Again that isn’t a great deal of cars but there are some rather impressive cars here, including a Formula 1 car. The cars look very impressive and the quality of the in-car view is superb. Driving from this view really adds something to the Gran Turismo experience and personally I don’t think I’ll ever use another view in the game.
Whilst GT5: Prologue is generally impressive, there are some aspects of it that are a little disappointing. The AI still sticks like glue to the racing line and it has no objections to smacking you off the road in order to overtake. This has always been a problem with the series and it’s a shame that it still seems to be a feature of the series. Of course there is no damage modelling so there’s no incentive for the AI to drive carefully. If you use automatic gears you’ll notice that the game actually makes quite a poor job of the gear changes. I usually drive with automatic gears until I’m happy with how I’ve configured the controls to my liking (the Logitech Driving Force Pro works well with the game) and on switching to manual gears I was surprised to see my lap times fall quite significantly without making too much of an effort. It’s also worth mentioning that whilst you can buy GT5: Prologue from the PSN store, you’re better off purchasing the game from an online store. The game costs £24.99 on the PSN store, whilst it can be had for £17.99 online.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue may only be a taste of what is to come, but it’s a game that’s well worth the asking price (especially the cheaper price you can purchase it for online). There’s enough here to suggest that Gran Turismo 5 will be the best Gran Turismo to date when it arrives sometime next year. Of course by then we’re hoping that the AI has been improved and that the online experience is a smoother one amongst other things. There’s a good chunk of single-player and multiplayer content here to not only more than justify the asking price but also make it an essential purchase for all of those gamers looking for a quality racing experience on the PlayStation 3.