Review: Gran Turismo 5 worth the wait

So, racing fans have been sitting around for five years, hearing the occasional Gran Turismo update, taking it in and then just filing it away. It’s almost as though we became conditioned to think of Gran Turismo 5 as nothing more than a concept, a vision with no end product.

The idea of a release date just didn’t exist after a while.

But here we are, finally, with those glorious words – “Gran Turismo 5” – sitting on boxes at stores all over the world. Okay, so now that we’ve built up the suspense just as much as developer Polyphony Digital did, let’s start talking about what is actually in the game.

For those unfamiliar with the Gran Turismo franchise, it stands out from almost all other racers on the market. If you’re looking for a game where you can get behind the wheel of a car and just go hog wild, drive on crazy off-road courses, and explore miles and miles of virtual roads, you won’t find what you’re looking for here. Gran Turismo 5 is a highly, strictly focused game in which you compete in closed circuit racing competitions.

Getting behind the wheel of your first car in GT5 is almost intimidating. It feels like you don’t even really belong there. It’s as nerve-wracking as getting behind a real world-class racing vehicle. Okay, maybe not really, but it is a very realistic experience.

If all this sounds too daunting, it kind of is. Don’t be mistaken – this isn’t the kind of game where you can just floor the acceleration, turn at every corner without braking, and expect to score a good time. Learning how to perfect your driving in GT5 is indeed akin to a crash course in real-life circuit racing. It’s something you’ll need to spend a lot of time practicing.

That said, the training in the game is a very complete and exhaustive experience. As you climb your way up the ranks, you’ll gain confidence naturally, and fluidly build up your Gran Turismo acumen.

Its presentation in stereoscopic 3D on a brand new TV set is unbelievable. Every detail from the drops of rain falling on your windshield to the extremely well-tuned braking system are perfect in this game.

It’s not a really wacky, fun-filled romp around the race course. Rather it’s a game that fits as much into some sort of science museum as it is a game that makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you come in first place. It’s a proud addition to the PS3 and, actually, worth the very long wait.