When one thinks of the Playstation brand, names like Final Fantasy, God of War, Ratchet and Clank come to mind. These titles are synonymous with Sony and its Playstation. One that will always comes to mind and holds the title of best selling franchise though belongs to the storied Gran Turismo racing series from Polyphony Digital. Every Playstation launch has always had a new entry in the racing franchise. The Playstation 3 is no different. At e3 ’06 we were given GT: HD which essentially a major visual upgrade given to GT4. Running at full 1080p at 60fps and a demo on PSN it was really a feast for the eyes. But honestly it wasn’t much different from GT4. When we first heard details of GT5 and some of the new features that were coming to the series it’s understandable that our excitement level was through roof.
As with other GT games the racing gods at Polyphony Digital have released “Prologue” edition just to give gamers a brief hint at the things to come. Let’s get one thing straight. The GT 5: Prologue demo is only available on the Japanese PSN store (click here to see how to make a free Japanese account in 5 minutes and get downloading) the menus are in English and the options are in Japanese but it’s easy enough to get started and play.
The full version GT 5: Prologue is coming to the Japanese PSN in December and in the US / Europe in February. Then the full blown GT 5 retail game should be in stores next fall. So essentially what you’re getting by downloading this 768 MB file is the demo of a preview which is in turn a demo of the full game. Now if this is any indication of what is coming next year, words cannot express how unbelievably incredible GT 5 will be.
So lets get to the good stuff, the demo that can be downloaded of the Japanese PSN store has only 1 track ,the Suzaka long course and at the moment 5 cars. More will be unlocked when the 40th Tokyo Motor Show gets under way next week though. You can drive a Daihatsu OC-1, BMW 135i, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X and the recently unveiled Nissan GT-R. There is the Lexus IS-F, Japanese Mazda 6 and the new Subaru Impreza STI that are currently locked. There are a quite a few other cars present that you unfortunately can’t drive but they’ll most likely be in the full version of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue such as an Alfa Rameo coupe, BMW Z4, Ford Mustang GT, the new Audi R8 and of course the Ferrari F430. My favorite car of the bunch that you can drive is the new BMW 135i, it really is one speedy little bastard. It’s a shame that they couldn’t give it the M1 moniker, but that would take away from the classic BMW M1 pro car. The GT-R in this game is given the title of Black Mask, because it still retains the black car bra on the front and rear which was used to hide the details from all the spy photographers during its development phase. The leather texture of the camouflage on the car is incredibly real. But honestly after seeing the car they should have left the camouflage on the front fascia, everything about the car is incredible except the front. It really looks like a bloated Celica. The GT-R has actually been locked as of today, they will unveil the final car this week and the demo will eventually have the production model with full interior as a selectable car. Here is where Polyphony digital have come through. For the first time ever in a Gran Turismo game the cars have fully recreated interiors. The level of detail is just jaw dropping. I’ll use the BMW 135i as reference. Everything inside the car is accurately recreated. All interior details from the speedometers, fuel gauges, even an LCD screen with the horrid I-Drive system is present. And when you’re inside the car driving and use the rear view button, you see out the back window with all the rear seats, rear window defroster lines and more! The lighting in the cockpit view is even more impressive. Shadows are cast realistically even the stitching on your drivers gloves are present. The rear view mirrors are 100% real time. Needless to say I will only play racing games that have full interiors now, nothing else will cut it. All of this mind blowing detail is running at full 1080p HD resolution at 60 fps and 16 cars on track at once! The bar has been set.