Written by  :  Stijn Daneels (85)
Written on  :  Sep 17, 2014
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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GT5 will keep you entertained for a very long time.

The Good

Gran Turismo 5 is the first game in the series that I have thoroughly played. Like virtually every other man in the world with a healthy dose of masculinity, I have a crush for cars (particularly fast and luxurious ones) and I also like to play racing games from time to time (Need for Speed and Carmageddon are my favorites). But I can tell you right now that no other racing game kept me hooked for such a long, continuous time as GT5.

The first thing you will notice when you boot this game up, is the sheer amount of content in the game. As I already mentioned, the game has over 1000 different cars to collect ranging from karts, old-timers and family sedans all the way to luxury sport cars and the fictional futuristic Red Bull X2010. Every car sounds and looks great too. Every single detail of the car, even the tiniest scratch, is shown in all its glory. Some cars even have a fully detailed interior view.

If you do not know Gran Turismo (WTF?), you need to remember that the series is about racing simulation instead of arcade style gameplay. Tires get flat after riding for some time and the gas tank gradually empties so you will have to enter the pit stop from time to time. Other than that, the gameplay can be both fast-paced and almost arcade-like while sometimes it is slower and more technical.

Most of the cars can be modified according to your taste. You can upgrade or tune every part under the hood of your car. You can increase (to a certain extent) the maximum speed as well as the time it takes to switch gears. You can give your car a new paint job or switch the tires to fit the weather conditions.

When it comes to tracks, all of them are based on real-life racing tracks such as the Nürburgring, the Suzuka Circuit and the Top Gear Test Track. Events range from free for all to specialty races wherein you and your opponents have to use a specific type of car.

Races can be both played in A-Spec as well as in B-Spec. A-Spec means that you drive by yourself while in B-Spec mode you play as a coach and have to coordinate the AI driver throughout the race. Both modes have their own level system and it will take a lot of time to reach the maximum level. Leveling up allows you to gain access to faster cars and tougher events.

In addition to the typical races and tournaments, GT5 also has special challenge events. Most of the time these are beat-the-clock challenges in which you drive an unique car through a predetermined track. You have Kart Racing, NASCAR, Off the Road Rally and more. Some of them are extremely easy while others are downright insanely hard (more on that in the negative section).

Of course, no racing game is great without good driving mechanics and this game has them in spades. Every car has a different driving feel, some of them will deliberately feel more sluggish while others are smooth and fast. The controls themselves are responsive, even while using the Dual Shock 3. Logically, a steering wheel gives you the ultimate racing feel and the game supports more than a dozen different wheels. The AI for the opponent drivers and the B-Spec racer are pretty good as well, they will try to slipstream you when they can and they do not bump into anything, except when you hit them hard enough in the back. Ha, ha!

When it comes to audio and music, it is particularly the sound of the cars that steals the show. Every car sounds exactly as their real-life counterparts. Music-wise the game utilizes relaxing Lounge and Jazz music for the menus and up-beat techno and rock tracks for the races. The soundtrack is enjoyable to listen to and in case you get tired of the music, you can always put in your own MP3 tracks.

The Bad

I already mentioned that some of the game's special challenges are extremely hard. Particularly the dreaded Vettel X Challenges will get your hair stand on end. The car is in fact a fictional car that would have been made if all safety regulations were thrown out of the window. The car looks like a rocket and it can reach a speed of 400 km/h in mere seconds and you will have to complete 3 time challenges through the most technical tracks in the game!! Not only that, but if you get off the track, you will get disqualified and to top it all off, the time limit is very severe (if you want to get gold at least) so you will have to drive the "car" through the track as fast as humanly possible. Personally, I managed to obtain gold for all three challenges using nothing but a Dual Shock 3 controller (I am not kidding). It took me about a month of almost daily practice but I am very proud I did it.

It is also worth mentioning the since May 2014, the online part of the Gran Turismo 5 has been shut down. So if you wish to play Gran Turismo online, you better skip this one and directly move on to its sequel.

The Bottom Line

Personally, I had a ton of fun playing Gran Turismo 5 and as of this moment I am still playing it (mainly grinding A-Spec in order to get the platinum trophy). If you like racing games, I can certainly recommend this game despite the lack of online play and the extreme difficulty of some of the game's challenges. Now go jump into your "insert favorite car here" and feel the adrenaline flowing!