April 15, 2008
Gran Turismo has long been the standard bearer in racing sims. Lately Microsoft’s Forza has taken some of the thunder away from the popular Playstation racer. Even with great innovations by the competition the Gran Turismo series has remained relevant. Perhaps a little more concerned with how pretty the cars look, rather than how true of a sim the game is (damage and its effect on a car’s performance…I’m looking at you). But the series that made me buy a PS2 way back in the day is looking to be on track for another spectacular entry with Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.
Being so averse to the double dipping phenomenon with DVD, I am a slightly put off by Prologue. Why spend my hard earned money on a product that is by design not complete? The answer is simple: if you like to go fast, then raise your hand. Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi has an almost disturbing affinity for cars. So much so that he has opposed the use of realistic vehicle damage in past games. A patch will come out this fall to address that concern for many players. But how much is that really going to matter?
The game looks gorgeous, handles like a dream and still has some of the basic problems of previous versions. I’d like to think the team at Polyphony could figure out a better AI system for your rival cars. Earlier games in the series had each vehicle picking a line and sticking to it like a slot car. Sure, you still had to drive with realistic physics…but you were up against robots. GT5 Prologue has improved by making the AI controlled vehicles aware of where you are, therefore reacting in an improved way. The issue is they still roll along on their slots.
But that’s OK, because this is the first in a long line of games that will help establish the PS3 as a force in this generation. And it’s about damn time, I’ve just about exhausted the fun I can have with Forza 2.