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Gran Turismo 5 Post 1.05 Impressions

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Before I begin, let me just say I’ve already penned down Gran Turismo 5 as my most disappointing game of 2010. You can also consider this a review if you want.

I picked up Gran Turismo 5 on launch day. I tolerated the 40+ minute install and gave it a fair shake, but I gave up on it until a patch like 1.05 came along.

Gran Turismo 5 isn’t done and if it is, there’s a host of changes that need to happen with the user interface/experience and the game’s tech.

Loading, Installing, Loading

First and foremost, the game’s incessant loading. Both the length and the frequency of loading is source of annoyance. Just navigating between menus require me to wait and stare at a clock and watch for the PS3’s disk activity light flare up. For a game that spends that much time switching between menus, this is unacceptable.

Menus! I’m Lost In A Maze of Menus!

Why can’t I manage my personal music from the Music Library? Why is it tucked away in the Hardware/Audio section under the game’s Main Options? Why have a separate tuning and maintenance page? Why can’t they be consolidated into one? And why can’t I adjust the in-game volume from within the game itself?

Gran Turismo 5’s menu layout for its GT World is garbage. Even GT5 Prologue’s interface was better organized — hell, even GT5’s own Arcade Mode is better. It is a decent looker of interface, I’ll give it that, but functionality is much more important to me than form.

Premium vs Standard

I’m trying to play Gran Turismo 5 with only Premium cars because I enjoy driving from the cockpit. I like turning off the HUD (thanks to latest patch for that option) and reading the in-car dials while racing. So for me, the lack of in-cockpit view with the standard cars is a turn off. In my view, Gran Turismo 5 has only about 200+ cars which is plenty.

But what’s the point of these rendered cockpits when I can’t fully explore them? I can glance left and right and explore what’s in front of me, but what about the rear? I can only look back. It’s a nitpick, but that’s what Gran Turismo was always about: the details.

All In The Details

Details like the actuated rear wing of an Enzo? I didn’t know the car featured that because I’ve never seen it in another game. I love the detailing of the wheels in some of the cars as well. All the digital read outs right there in front of me without the necessity of a game HUD really helps establish that fantasy of driving in these speedy machines.

Inconsistent

But then I notice that driver isn’t paddle shifting correctly or that the wheel in one car looks like a hexadecagon. C’mon now. Why is it so inconsistent?

Even the tracks and the tech powering the game range from gorgeous and smooth to cringe worthy. This game tries to be 60 FPS. I give it kudos for trying, but I cannot believe or forgive the amount of pop-in and screen tearing that happens. Around certain tracks I can predict when a tear will happen and when a city block will suddenly pop into view. Why make your game look so good if your engine cannot handle the stress?

Oh that’s right. Photo mode.

Because this game is all about car porn stills.

It’s All About The Driving Though

At the end of the day, the only reason why I keep pushing forward with Gran Turismo 5 is because of the excellent driving. It feels right and it’s gratifying when I pull off the perfect turn. The driving itself makes up for a lot of this game’s missteps, but I wonder how long that will last.

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