Gran Turismo 5
It’s hard to believe that after all these years of waiting for GT5 that it can still catch us by surprise, but that’s exactly what happened when Kazunori Yamauchi recently revealed a whole bunch of new features for his most-anticipated game to date. Quite apart from being one of the most stunning-looking games ever made, GT5 has an RPG mode, track creator and karts. So much for not being able to teach an old dog new tricks.
The RPG mode is actually called B-Spec (with the main racing modes under the A-Spec banner) and had been planned since GT3. Yamauchi wasn’t able to complete it back then, but now he can include his vision of a Gran Turismo RPG on the disc with GT5. In B-Spec you will play through the game as a race team director as you recruit drivers, enter competitions and then get your guys ready for the race.
You’ll be able to build up to six drivers through the game, each of whom you’ll be able to motivate and command during a race, but you can’t control them directly. Instead you need to train them, improve their experience and manage them correctly to get the wins. The greatest challenge will be the 24-hour races in which you’ll need four drivers as you pit your wits against the elements, fatigue and your opposition. It looks like a fantastic new mode that turns Gran Turismo on its head and proves yet again that GT5 could make all other sim-racers obsolete.
The track creator is another new feature confirmed and demoed for the first time recently. Rather than giving you full course editing you can set parameters for a course and it is generated for you, making sure it is drivable. If you ever used the Auto Complete option in ModNation Racers then it’s a little like that. Once it has been made you can change how the course is divided up and then edit each section by adding more corners or the difficulty of those corners. All your creations can of course be shared online for others to race.
And then there were the karts, rumoured for some time and seemingly leaked not long ago. Yamauchi revealed he had actually planned on holding the karts off until GT6, but since they got leaked he decided to include them this year instead. The idea behind them is to allow newcomers to throw a car about without having to be too knowledgeable about driving or Gran Turismo in general. Karts should be a great way for players to get into the game and learn the ropes or just let off some steam in a nice casual environment.
And like everything else in the game all of these modes and features are presented in the highest quality visuals we’ve ever seen. Some of the detail in the cars and tracks as well as the superb physics make GT5 something to behold. The B-Spec mode is a great place to take that all in, too, as you watch the cars go around the course in real-time, switching camera angles whenever you like. And the loading times? Whatever you may have heard elsewhere, there was no trouble there either. Nothing seemed to take longer than about 30 seconds to load at any given time and that’s with a game that’s still in development. Come launch we would expect even those to have been trimmed down.