I Game To Complain: Gran Turismo 5


Why I Sold My Copy Of Gran Turismo 5

I prefer sim racers over arcade ones like the Burnout series but Gran Turismo 5, the self-proclaimed king of driving sims, despite it’s realistic trappings and awesome visuals, left me wanting a lot more. In this case my money back.
Menu/User Interface

Did Polyphony Digital design the interface to be future-proof hoping that all households will eventually be using touch-screen TVs? You’d think they were releasing GT5 on PC with what looks like a mouse-driven GUI but without the analog control. Basically it’s a very cluttered confusing mess with mysterious icons and whatnot that forces the player into way too many button presses just to get the simplest tasks done (exiting any given menu usually takes about 2-3 button presses).

Damage

What’s this rally car doing on a street circuit anyway?

Real racing is full of incidents, accidents, and mishaps. These mishaps affect a vehicle’s aesthetics and overall performance. Therefore a Real Driving Simulator should have Real Damage Modeling, right? Apparently not, according to Polyphony Digital who believe a head on impact with a steel barrier at 200mph results only in a dull ‘thud’ sound effect and your car’s bonnet only getting slightly crumpled. Your steering might go somewhat awry but rest assured you can still finish the race even after several brushes with death. How can GT5 pride itself as being a complete simulation when one of the most integral parts of racing is missing?

Classic Cars Get Discriminated Against

If you prick us do we not get a flat tire?

GT5 boasts an unprecedented number of cars available in-game. What most will realize though is that only about 20% of the 1000-plus vehicles are modeled in great detail. The rest of the “non-premium” cars have a PS2 look to them, are missing their corresponding dashboard/cockpit views and feature no damage modeling at all on any of them save for some scratches here and there. My favorite, the Honda Civic SiR-II, is included in this list.

Jagged, Flickering Shadows

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GT5 has superb graphics all in all that’s why the little negative nuances really shine as well. The rippling shadow issue has plagued GT since the first game on the original Playstation. You’d think with all the power the PS3 has could’ve resolved this issue but sadly no. The replays are marred by this technical hiccup and it gets really distracting especially as the rest of the visuals are stunning.

Long Install & Load Times
GT5 took about 45 minutes to install on my PS3. FORTY-FIVE WHAT THE HELL FOR MINUTES! On top of that, once it’s done installing and you’ve also finished doing your laundry AND making dinner for you and your neighbors, the game tells you that it requires an update via PSN. This update is 600-plus MB which, depending on your internet connection, is another 40 minutes or so. GT5 installs about 7GB of data on your PS3 hard drive yet it still takes the game ages to load just about anything. From menus, to car previews, to race start, GT5 likes to makes you wait. The game also insists on checking and synchronizing online every time you change something which makes the wait time more unbearable. Polyphony Digital is probably Japanese for “You take it & like it, idiot monkey“.

The Need For More Speed
Why can’t driving at 200mph feel as dangerous as it should? I often find myself under-braking when turning into corners in the game because I get the sensation I’m already at a slow enough speed to take them but then I realize the speedometer says I’m still going at well above 20mph faster than I ought to be. Even on straights the sensation of speed is sorely lacking unlike in games like NFS Shift which I thought had this part of the driving experience well in hand. In NFS Shift it felt exciting and dangerous to be going wheel to wheel at top speed and that’s probably due to the (excessive) blur effect. But then if that’s what it takes to make for a great experience then blur me silly, I say.

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