The PlayStation 3 doesn't have many marquee exclusive games this fall, but one its most-anticipated and delayed games has finally arrived on store shelves: Gran Turismo 5. The PS3 update to Sony's long-running hyperreal car franchise has endless vehicles and unparalleled physics, but can it compete with the faster, more action-packed racing games that have flooded the market since?
Scott: As racing games have evolved over the years, physics has gotten more impressive, controls tighter, speeds faster, and presentation positively hyperkinetic. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is the perfect example of the adrenaline-rush racer, a drift-crazy takedown-fueled game filled with rage and competitive social leaderboards. It's three shots of espresso mainlined in your eyeballs, and a heck of a lot of fun.
Gran Turismo, once the proud owner of the best-racing-gaming-ever title, is a different sort of car game altogether. If Sony's new Gran Turismo 5 were a war shooter, it would be The Thin Red Line of video games. Realism, patience, focus--and education. It's a meditation on automotive technology. No running from one event to another--instead, smooth jazz and a series of menus that look like they were taken from a car dealer's wall calendar. Is it uncool? Compared to games like Need for Speed, yes, but is that the point? GT5, a game that Polyphony has been developing for as long as the PlayStation 3 has been released, is a living car catalog, and as its name broadcasts, a "driving simulator."
To that end, it's also the only game of this generation brave enough to have you race a Honda Civic at 55 miles an hour. This game's not afraid to go slow, if slow means realistic. Speeds vary greatly--in bonus NASCAR races, the hyper pace feels shocking. Switch to a kart-racing mode, and the experience shifts again. Racing old Volkswagen minivans around the Top Gear test track is completely absurd, yet faithful to the experience. Braking is clumsy but necessary, just like driving a real car. … Read more