"Gran Turismo 5" well worth the very long wait

jheeter@macon.comDecember 10, 2010 

The wait was long.

Racing simulator “Gran Turismo 5” was first announced five years ago as one of the potential early releases for the then-new PlayStation 3.

Delays and fine-tuning resulted in a wait so long that developers released a “Gran Turismo 5 Prologue” in 2008 to preview the eventual release of the fifth full game in the franchise.

That long wait ended in late November with the release of “Gran Turismo 5” for the PlayStation 3.

It doesn’t take long after cranking up the game to understand why it took so long. The game is massive.

The game contains more than 1,000 cars, 70 tracks and hundreds of different races. You could play this game for months and not unlock everything.

Much of the game stays true to the series’ roots.

The player has a number of license tests that help unlock a variety of races. The progression through those tests and the purchase of a car or cars helps send you through the wide-open career mode. You’ll unlock vehicles as you proceed through the game, and you earn cash to purchase new cars and build up a garage.

I’ve always enjoyed the series because it allows you to really just collect cars. The variety is so huge, that it’s easy to get lost this time around while searching for vehicles. You’ll want a nice variety to give you options for the different race types.

This is a racing simulator, so the racing is supposedly realistic. I don’t race cars, so I don’t know about that. But I do know that every car handles differently, and you’ll have to play around some to find cars that fit your style.

The game includes the licenses for NASCAR and the rally series. No company owned a NASCAR license this year, so it might be tempting to pick up this game for a NASCAR fix. You can certainly use NASCAR vehicles, but this isn’t a NASCAR game, so beware if that’s what you’re looking for. This is a racing game that includes a small taste of NASCAR.

My biggest complaint with the game is its ridiculous load times. There is an optional 10-gigabyte install to your hard drive for the game. Without the install, load times are among the worst I’ve seen. But load times are still long even with the install.

Living up to five years of hype was an impossible task for Sony. But “Gran Turismo 5” is still one of the better racing games ever released, and it certainly rivals the other racing simulators out on the market.

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