Gran Turismo 5 Prologue

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Review for PS3

On: PS3

Sony's racing series goes online for the first time.

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8Out of 10
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GT5 Prologue isn't quite as polished as we'd hoped it would be
GT5 Prologue isn't quite as polished as we'd hoped it would be

GT5 Prologue isn't quite as polished as we'd hoped it would be

I must have poured hundreds of hours into Gran Turismo 3. Released during the summer before I started university, Polyphony Digital's first entry in the series for PS2 proved to be a good enough reason to prevent me from getting a summer job - after all, I had to devote all my time to the lucrative, but oh so dull endurance races so my car collection could grow to obscene proportions. It's fair to say that GT3 was a phenomenon. Back in 2001 the game was dropping jaws all over the world and sales to date stand at around 15 million units. To put that into context, that's more than the combined worldwide sales of Halo and Halo 2 on the Xbox. Gran Turismo is about as big as racing games come.

So, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue should represent something of a milestone for the PlayStation 3. As the first retail Gran Turismo for Sony's latest console you'd expect sales of the console to soar and Sony fans the world over to be rejoicing. And they are, just not quite as jubilantly as you might expect. GT5 Prologue is in fact just a teaser for what we're going to get from the full GT5 when it's released next year. What we get in this budget £25 release is six tracks (Eiger Nordwand, Daytona International Speedway, the London City Track, Fuji Speedway, Suzuka and the High Speed Ring) drivable in two layouts, 71 cars, car tuning, 16-player online support, two-player split-screen and more. Not bad by any means, but don't be fooled into thinking this is any more than a prelude to the big event.

Anyone who's played a game in the GT series will instantly recognise the sleek menus and presentation. From the off the game's so trendy it's just missing a bouncer asking for ID at the door and checking for trainers. It's GT through and through, with options and game modes galore. You've got News, GT TV, Online, Rankings, Arcade, 2P, Events, Garage, Dealerships and Replay. Again, for £25 that's a fair amount of content and it rubbishes any claims that GT5 Prologue is little more than a demo.

The core modes are Events, Arcade and Online. While Prologue doesn't include an all encompassing career mode, Events is where you'll find the most traditional GT experience. After buying your first car it's time to enter the Class C races your car is eligible for, earning credits for your performances. Build up enough credits and you can buy another car, giving you access to more events, and repeat the cycle until your garage is full of cars from Class A, B and C and you're whipping the competition every time you take to the track.

'The game looks completely stunning for the most part. Car models are incredible, the detail in the tracks is at times breathtaking and the 1080p visuals are to die for...'

Newcomers will find Prologue's cars pretty tricky to get to grips with at first. Even compared to Microsoft's Forza series, at first it feels as if you're cornering at walking pace. A number of driving options (Transmission, Active steering, Driving Physics, Active Stability Management, Traction Control and Driving Control) are available so you can tailor the handling to your skill level, but even with all the assists on things take a little getting used to. For some the sim nature of the car physics will be too much to handle, but persevere and the physics really comes into their own.

What doesn't impress nearly as much is the way your AI rivals behave during races. The GT series has always been criticised for its racing experience and GT5 Prologue doesn't improve things a great deal. The car handling is never questioned, but compared to its competitors (Forza 2 and PGR4) races in GT5 Prologue feel far too much like processions. At times while playing Forza 2 you could have mistaken an AI driver for a real-life opponent, but no such mistake could be made while playing Prologue. Things aren't helped by the way your car bounces off competitors, without any damage in sight - compounded further if you're not using a Dual Shock 3.

You'll really only get a true sense of the depth to the car physics once you unlock the Quick Tune options and the 10 S-Class races (achieved by completing all 30 A-C Class events). By this time you're likely to have been playing for longer than it takes to complete current PS3 big hitters Uncharted or Ratchet and Clank, perhaps even both. You'll still only have a small number of the 71 cars too, so there's no question you'll get your money's worth from Prologue. Tweaking your car settings and going after the S-Class races will take longer still, if you've got the skill needed to win. The included Arcade mode also offers a more instant way to sample the tracks on offer in the game, and a number of manufacturer specific events can be accessed from within the Dealership menu.

Sadly an erratic frame rate blemishes a stunning looking game

Sadly an erratic frame rate blemishes a stunning looking game

The game looks completely stunning for the most part. Car models are incredible, the detail in the tracks is at times breathtaking and the 1080p visuals are to die for, but there are a few unsightly blemishes. The aforementioned lack of damage is more jarring than it ever has been, with the lack of damage totally ruining any sense of realism. The frame rate, something the series is known for, also fluctuates far too often. During certain corners when the cars stack up the game really starts to chug and this is usually accompanied by some ugly screen tearing. Those fake backgrounds, most noticeable on the Eiger Nordwand track, also don't quite fit. To my eyes they stick out like a sore thumb.

What is without doubt the biggest disappointment of all is the online implementation. It's currently woefully behind what we've got in Forza 2 and PGR4, lacking even basic support for custom races. Support for up to 16 players is excellent, but without a friends list or any proper match making you're left to pick from the 35 events currently listed. You can't organise races with friends or browse races taking place, and unless you own the required car and have completed the required single-player events your choice online is extremely limited. After starting the game with the cheapest Honda available at the dealership my online events were restricted to two races on the two most basic tracks in the game. There are online leaderboards for anyone interested in time trials, but anyone expecting Forza 2 levels of online brilliance will find nothing of the sort.

In the end GT5 Prologue is pretty essential for GT fans but its enhanced demo nature is more than obvious in various parts of the package. For £25 (even cheaper if you shop around) you'll get more play time than many full-price titles, but with a severely limited online mode and some visual blemishes it's hard not to be a little disappointed. Hopefully Prologue really is just a tiny part of what we'll get with Gran Turismo 5 next year.

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User Comments

midnight club!'s Avatar
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midnight club!

gt5 is boring, its boring, its boring, and ..... gud graphics though
Posted 07:48 on 14 December 2008
jj's Avatar
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jj

brill but only 5 traks but really good i recomend the mitshibushi lancer brill car!!!!!!!
Posted 12:29 on 25 July 2008
kieran96's Avatar
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kieran96

gt5 is da best ever
Posted 15:29 on 27 June 2008
047gaboca's Avatar

047gaboca

Knowing that, this is only a demo-stage of the real deal do you think this game is a let-down ???? Then try NFS Prostreet. Absolute waste of time....and money.
Posted 03:43 on 09 June 2008
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047gaboca

Guys, there is NO such thing as a perfect game. Every game has something that could/should be improved. The problem is that, if it's only a demo-stage game why can't we get it on a cheaper price ? I'm a huge GT fan, i played over 1500 races on GT3 only. If this is your type of game, just has to accept that this is only half of the deal. Otherwise you better off waiting for the full version next year. Hopefully Sony does listen what people want to see in the future.....after all we are the ones who paying for it. Usual story : everything is about money....... SUCKS
Posted 03:41 on 09 June 2008
Phil's Avatar
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Phil

Love GT5 ITS THE BEST, LOOKING FORWARD FOR DAMAGE IN FALL.
Posted 23:47 on 07 June 2008
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Hal Stuhl

First off, this game is well made. After playing it once, I was very disappointed with the results. they start by giving you $35,000 to purchase a car. I purchased the Mazda and was happy with it. But it is not fast enough to win a race, the turning is sloppy on this game. I am not going to return it because I will play it again and try to become better, but for now it totally sucks. They don't even give you a option to customize it! Gran Turismo 2 was much better then 3 and 4. GRAN TURISMO 5 PROLOGUE SUCKS!
Posted 21:35 on 04 June 2008
yeah funny man's Avatar
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yeah funny man

well i must why critisise a demo versoin of a game to full version relases and still you are comparing gt 5 prolouge to gt 3 i found that physics engine and realisim of the cars in gt 4 were much better and after playing the gt hd concept that i downloaded from the playstation store gt5 is a very promising game i hear that tracks evolve with time and we finally have the ferarris to buy and pit against our much loved rice burners nuff said huh
Posted 13:23 on 22 April 2008
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fatturtledog

Can't begin to tell you how disappointed i am with this game.
After rushing to HMV to buy it on release day, i whizzed home and stuck it in the PS3 and had to wait 20 mins for it to install, then on launch it found an update which took 25 mins to download - even on a 4 meg broadband connection!
It was about an hour before i could finally race a car!
Then with just 35,000 credits to start with you only have the choice of about 3 cars and to buy another (next cheapest car to buy is about 44,000 credits) you have to race monotonously and get 3,000 cr per race win! it takes ages and is boring.
It does look good though, and i like the new interface but graphically it hasn't moved on from the free demo which is nearly a year old!
Gutted? Anyone wanna buy mine? :-(
Posted 13:26 on 14 April 2008
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alln2themusic

FYI.....remember they announced that damage is coming to this game in about 4 or 5 months, so enjoy criticizing the "flaws" while you can because believe it or not updates and patches will come for this game. Just something to think about amongst all the talk of the good and bad. Peace!
Posted 21:43 on 11 April 2008
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Clitbeak

lets all be honest - its a disappointment. Its limited. Its rushed and a holding pattern action by the authors to satisfy the pressure of getting a GT title released on PS3. That said - worth spending £20 for when you want a real race; just dont bump into any other cars as it quickly shattters the gameplay experience.

Those who want to argue my points feel free but can you really put your hand on your heart and tell me that the tracks are impressive and rich in detail? London aside, its a very basic but accurate racer.

Posted 17:20 on 10 April 2008
AlligatorRick's Avatar
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AlligatorRick

If you're a GT fan then you will buy it ($$$ is no object) and you will have nothing but great things to say about it. And if you're a fan of other racing titles.........well....!!!!!!you do the math............Nuff said
Posted 19:23 on 08 April 2008
hello's Avatar
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hello

fanboys are so funny !!! Fight !!! Fight !!!
Posted 18:02 on 04 April 2008
Monkeydoh's Avatar
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Monkeydoh

Can anybody just have fun with thoses games??? There is no perfect game. All we can do is have fun with what we have and enjoy. The first mission of a game is to have fun whatever console or PC it is. Dont forget it and HAVE FUN!!!!! :)
Posted 22:36 on 01 April 2008
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Reda Bollox

No..its still utter crap!

As a wise guy said before...AVOID!!!!!
Posted 20:54 on 01 April 2008

Game Stats

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
8
Out of 10
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
  • Physics are superb
  • Stunning car models
  • Slowdown
  • Online is disappointing
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 28/03/2007
Platform: PS3
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Racing
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 843 82
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