I am cheating with this post in a way as this little mini-series was meant to be about games from the holiday rush of last year, not games I only got a couple of days ago. I can't help myself though with Gran Turismo 5: Prologue on my mind after a long Saturday afternoon spent with it.
I have always been a fan of the Gran Turismo franchise with each game in the series being 100% completed (and beyond - Gran Turismo 2 went to 105% if I recall correctly) and thousands of races under my belt. The franchise has taught me more about cars in general, allowed me to drive some of my favourite cars around some of my favourite tracks and also continued to impress me with its visuals with every new release.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is no different and I was amazed with how beautiful the cars, scenery and even the menus looked. Taking a Mazda RX8 for a spin around the Suzuka track, I was instantly back in my element with my experience with the track and of course the franchise easing me straight back in. I was blown away when I tried the in-car view for the first time, as it was animated a lot better than I expected. I have mentioned on this blog before how I try to make my racing games as realistic as they can possibly be and using an in-car camera view is one of the ways I can make this possible. Other things I found impressive include Gran Turismo TV, a service that provides car related videos such as the famous BBC show Top Gear. I also imagine that playing Gran Turismo online would be quite fun though I haven't been able to try it just yet.
It is essentially a demo though, so naturally it isn't as good as it could (or will?) be. Handling has improved since Gran Turismo 4 but still feels, well, Gran Turismo. After playing Forza 2 for the past two years it feels like a step back to be playing with a system that hasn't evolved all that much. That is something I will look at in an upcoming post, though. There is still no damage modeling in the game nor any dynamic weather effects or things like that. As a long-time Gran Turismo fan, it is disappointing but Polyphony Digital are known to be perfectionists so it still remains to be seen as to whether they will be in the full game or not. Track selection feels limited with only six tracks to choose from and it's another thing that feels like a step back. I can overlook it though as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is, after all, just a taste of what is to come and after enjoying my time with the game so far, all I can say is bring on the full game!