by Chris Scott
reviewed on PS3
Realism? Go online
While Gran Turismo 5 Prologue offers one of the most realistic experiences driving a car, a knock on the series -if it has one- has been the set driving line AI. Fortunately Polyphony has come up with a new scheme for its AI drivers and they react more realistically. You will notice AI cars spinning out and while you will still get the occasional AI car ramming into you for no apparent reason, the single player races are much improved from previous editions.
However if you want the most realistic driving experience the game has to offer, you need to take the game online and compete against human opponents. The online racing in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is a mixed bag. The setup is extremely basic, with just a list of individual events to compete in. You’ll need to complete the single player campaign to be eligible to race in all the online races but at least that way you can be assured of having a decent car to race with when you do go online. I have generally encountered little to no lag but when it does happen the effect can be quite jarring with players magically appearing and disappearing all over the track.
The actual online racing experience is quite fun, although your enjoyment will certainly depend on who you get matched up against. Some players will take the race seriously and provide you with a challenging race, while others may decide that Gran Turismo is really just a bumper car simulator, being as there is no damage model to worry about. Polyphony has stated that a damage model is in the works so hopefully with a future update this will curb the bumper car activities by imposing a virtual financial penalty for slamming someone with their car.
If you can’t take your car online, there is a split screen mode but racing against one human opponent pales in comparison, and challenge. However if you truly can not take your game online, you will at least be able to school your friends locally. It is a nice to see a developer keep the option available when so many others are choosing to let it slip out of their development model.
While the game is perfect in many ways it does have a couple problems. It may seem like I am nit-picking but the lifeless fan models that you will encounter as you circle the courses frustrate me to no end. Maybe it is just that every other graphical piece is so polished that the mannequin like fans seems like such a glaring error. Another bone of contention I have with the game is the lack of a damage model. I understand it is coming in an update but when its direct competitor, Forza Motorsport 2, has the feature in their game Gran Turismo 5 Prologue should not have shipped without it in theirs. I also find the two million credit cap limit to be completely unfair. Yes I understand that Polyphony has stated that the credits will be transferable to the full version of Gran Turismo 5 but why not cap the amount that can be imported instead.
But these are all just minor quibbles. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue offers plenty for gear heads and car enthusiasts to do and collecting all the cars, including the two million credit, Ferarri F2007 will take plenty of time. If you are a die-hard fan of the series, this should certainly be on your to buy list but if you are just a casual fan or a non-fan looking to get into the series I recommend waiting for the full version to be released. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is just a glimpse at what we will be getting in the final version of the game and based on what is included in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, there is a lot to look forward to.
No Pros and Cons at this time