Racing games are no longer what they used to be. Sure, they’re still about getting in front of a monitor and pretending like you’re on a racetrack. But with games like Gran Turismo 5: Prologue in your console, the need to pretend is gradually being replaced by the feeling of reality.
This experience of course is created in part by the use of hardware essentially designed for games exactly like Gran Turismo — the racing wheel (see our feature page 29). And if you don’t have access to such hardware, never fear, you’ll still get every bit the experience you paid for, and then some.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is probably one of the smoothest looking racing games I have ever had the enjoyment of playing. And whilst I could harp on and on about the luscious graphics (delivered in all of its 1080p magnificence), it’s the interactivity and gameplay itself that stands out.
The entire experience from buying your first car to winning races is captured in beautiful, fluid PS3 powered graphics. The ability to access 70 different car models ranging from the good old Nissan to the Lotus is far too tantalising to ignore, especially if you’re a racing car fanatic.
The tried and true formula of racing to win is still at the heart of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. But it’s very important to remember that Prologue is exactly that, a peek at things to come so it’s more of a prelude to the GT5 game that will be releasing in 2009.
Whether you’re a fan of the franchise or new to racing car games, you’ll be able to get right into Prologue without too many delays (although there is an update to do prior to playing the game for the PS3).
The sheer amount of detail that has gone into the cars will certainly astound you, even if you’re used to seeing the best that high def can offer. And not only can you admire your car from the outside, you have the ability to play the game in first person which certainly gives you a much more realistic experience. There are a few options available to tune your car and make small alterations for each race/track but in Prologue, the heavy modifications option is unavailable. Perhaps they will include this when the game releases next year.
We’ve talked about the graphics (which have been seriously amped to allow for 1080p display) but the sound is equally as enjoyable. And with the use of the GT wheel, everything you do is that much more realistic. After comparing the use of the controller to the wheel, I was confidently satisfied that if you want the best possible experience with this game, you should seriously think about purchasing a driving wheel. If you consider yourself a fan of games like Gran Turismo, you’d be robbing yourself of a better gaming experience without one.
Prologue is very much focused on the event of racing itself which means that you can get right into the racing without having to go through license tests (as in previous games). However, you’re still required to unlock cars before you progress to the next class of car which is pretty standard and expected. Getting your hands on the cold, hard cash in Prologue is a real challenge and this feature will only help to fuel the competitive nature of even the most savvy racing car drivers out there.
If you view Prologue as step towards what awaits us next year, then you’ll be chomping at the bit to buy Gran Turismo 5 come release day.