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A Prologue to greatness on PS3
April 30, 2008
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
A Prologue to greatness on PS3
It's not surprising that Gran Turismo 5 Prologue had plenty of detractors before it was released. From a typical gamer's perspective, it looked like they were being asked to pay a good chunk of change for what sounded like a demo, which are typically released every week free of charge.
But now that it's released, it's more than fair to say that Polyphony Digital crammed a lot of stuff into a great-looking and slick package, even if it isn't a 'full' game. And gamers have to remember that, even if it were a demo, it would be a demo based around one of the most popular racing series of all time.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of 'Prologue', it's very similar to the past iterations of the series in terms of gameplay. It's definitely less arcade-y than the Project Gothams and certainly moreso than the Burnouts of the gaming world, but it's also not quite as labour-intensive as something like the Forza Motorsport series, where it seems more time should be spent tuning than racing. What that means is that 'Prologue' has the best balance of 'real' and 'fun' of just about any racing game out there. In 'Prologue', you can even adjust driver aids such as traction control to make things even more realistic. There's nothing like doing a full 360 in a Nissan GT-R, then plowing into a wall as you try to correct yourself, to make you realize that you're not nearly as good as you think you are.
Despite all the realism, there's still one thing keeping the Gran Turismo series from being truly lifelike, and that is the lack of vehicle damage. Leaving vehicle damage out of the game doesn't ruin it by any stretch of the imagination, and there are surely plenty of fans of the series who would never, ever want that changed, but I for one would like to see that happen in future games in the series.
Considering how fantastic the graphics have been on the first four games for their time, it's no surprise that Prologue is absolutely breaktaking visually. The amount of detail on the cars is absolutely phenomenal, and it's a pleasure just looking around each track when you hit a straightaway and get a moment to take everything in, from the reflections coming off the hood of your car, to the fans at the finish lines of some tracks who flash their cameras as the vehicles fly by.
The online portion of the game is good, but it's a real shame that friend invites aren't included. You can only jump into pre-made game lobbies, though there is a usually a good mix of different game modes and difficulties to choose from. The games started up fairly quickly, and there was virtually zero lag issues to contend with.
The online features don't stop there though. You can also run time trials and drifting challenges and have your times added automatically to a worldwide ranking list. The drifting trials in particular are absolutely addictive.
The single player mode consists mostly of several races in three different classes. The first two classes aren't all that difficult but AI does ramp up quite a bit more in the third class, though if you choose the right cars, you shouldn't have too much trouble. You earn cash for placing high up in races and as you probably could have guessed, this allows you to purchase better cars to fill out your virtual garage. The only problem with this single player mode is that some races have very specific cars you have to use to complete them. You can't just take your trusty Evo X or Viper into every race, which is fine - but to be forced to buy a Diahatsu that you'll otherwise never use again just to finish one race? Not fun.
There are all kinds of small and not-so-small extras thrown into the game for good measure to really make this worth the cost and not feel like a glorified demo (which I was worried it would be). For instance, you can log onto Gran Turismo TV and view features on certain cars, as well as an insightful view into the series called 'Beyond the Apex.' You can drive through any of the tracks in Arcade mode, and the game also supports a two-player split-screen mode. It also supports the new Dualshock 3 controller, and this is especially great for this game, as it makes things much more immersive when you drive off the road or hit another car and feel every jolt. Heck, there are even cool little factoids that pop up on the screen if you don't touch the screen controller for a few seconds.
It's a no-brainer for any Gran Turismo fan to buy this game, but really anyone looking for a great racing game on the Playstation 3 can't go wrong with this. This game was meant to whet the appetites of gamers and it did just that. There's plenty here to keep players busy until the full game is released.
Gran Turimso 5 Prologue
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