Leipzig brought plenty of great games to the table this year. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, SKATE, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and Call of Duty 4 to name a few. But one game that just stuck in my mind the entire show was Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) Prologue. Gran Turismo has always been a huge hit on the Sony Playstation, delivering top of the range graphics and unbelievable realism.
Sony didn’t cut any corners displaying GT5 Prologue in all its glory at Leipzig. Five tight bucket racing seat were stationed in a line, each linked to a force-feedback PS3 wheel and pedals and a nice big HD TV. As soon as I sat in the seat, I felt as if I was about to play one of the greatest PS3 titles at the show, and I wasn’t far wrong. Even the menus made me drool, with super sharp images of some of my favourite sports cars – ranging from the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to the Ferrari F430.
Once I got into a race, I was blessed with amazing visuals from the off – which is to be expected from Gran Turismo these days. What I saw this time however were 15 other AI cars, all sat on the track revving their engines alongside me. Never before have we seen so many cars on the same track of a Gran Turismo title. Each car handled the way you’d expect, just like on the free downloadable demo available from the PSN. There was just something about the wheel and pedals though that added a huge amount of realism to an already impressive title. Going over the curb sent a soft rumble from the wheel down your arms, and the flappy panel gears just made me feel like I was in the Ferrari F430!
Sony boast an amazing 200,000 polygons per vehicle in GT5, compared to the previous versions 4,000, and it really does show. Even with all 16 cars on the track, you could still notice the tiny details of each vehicle, including little touches like their brake pads behind the wheel.
AI seemed more intelligent also, noticeably dodging collisions and changing their race line to overtake. Each car performed the way they should, with the faster cars not necessarily taking the lead, due to their poor handling around corners. Some AI racers also seemed slightly better than others, with the same car not necessarily taking the same spot in a race.
One thing that really caught my eye however was the in-car dashboard camera. Each car had their own unique dashboard, which of course was a perfect replication of the real car counter-part. When sitting in a racing seat, with a wheel and pedals, the in-car camera was just immensely realistic. Prologue didn’t have any gear changing animations, but we’ve been told that they will definitely be added when the full game is released. To be totally honest, even without them, the sheer amount of detail inside each vehicle was just breathtaking.
Sadly, there is still no damage model present in Gran Turismo, but there has been a small rumour flying around that this may be addressed when the full version of GT5 comes out or from a downloadable update, but this hasn’t been confirmed by Sony.
The full version of GT5 Prologue will also feature 8 players online, and 16 players offline, along with AI computer cars available when playing multi-player races. TV and Album options will be available, allowing you to save and share replays and screenshots. Home will seamlessly integrate into GT5, and there will be map and calendar options on the main menu. We’re also told that drifting will be possible in GT5, although that wasn’t shown off at Leipzig. Oh and one last thing, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will be available for a download on the Playstation Store this year, and it’ll be totally FREE!!! Yeah we know, we’re excited too.