There was never a suggestion that with Gran Turismo 5, Polyphony would look to overhaul the series. Rather, it’s being promoted on the back of additions and refinements that seek to make it the ultimate racing game, unseating Forza 3 as the sim of choice for the current generation. Headline changes include: a comprehensive damage-modelling system, detailed track effects such as skid marks, changing weather, Karting, WRC, NASCAR and online multi-player. But what many players will be interested in is the vehicles. There are over 1,000 models included in GT5, of which around 220 are Premium cars.
They have been modelled in far more detail than the Standard cars, and incorporate a faithfully-recreated cockpit view. From some angles, GT5 is one of the most sublime graphical experiences you could wish for. Seeing the sunlight glisten off a lovingly-recreated chassis against a stunning backdrop is truly awe-inspiring, often making the cars look better than they do on the companies’ own adverts. At least, that’s true for the Premium models. Take a close look at some of the available Standard cars and the effect is far less impressive. They’re taken from the series’ PS2 predecessors — to say they look previous-gen would be overstating the point, but the gap between Standard and Premium is huge and unmissable.
Fans of the series will no doubt be pleased to learn that from the first moment, you know you’re playing Gran Turismo. The cars handle superbly and — if you turn off / block out the eccentric music — sound marvellous and utterly distinctive. Each vehicle feels unique to begin with, and the range of modifications available means every player should be able to tailor a car to their specific needs. It’s not at the Forza 3 level of customisation, but it’s expansive nonetheless. Credit is due to Polyphony for ensuring satisfaction can be found whether you’re behind the wheel of a Yaris, a Ferrari or a Kart — all handle perfectly adequately with a standard controller, and even better with a quality wheel peripheral. Being one of the best racing games out there today, this one is a must have!