Gran Turismo 5: Prologue – the PS3 Attitude Retro Review
Welcome to the PS3 Attitude Retro Review, where we take another look at titles that were released at least six months ago and discover whether they still ought to garner your attention. This time, it is the turn of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue released back in spring 2008 for the European and North America markets, and introduced PS3 gamers to their first glimpse of this significant franchise in HD, plus a small taster of what Polyphony Digital were capable of.
Many people criticised it for simply being an expensive demo but in reality it is a full game in its own right.
It first shipped in Japan at the end of 2007 with five tracks, including the iconic Daytona Speedway, and around 50 cars.
When Polyphony Digital then released it to the west, the game was enhanced further with the introduction of the franchise’s iconic High Speed Ring and around a further 30 cars.
Although the game lacks the car and track content seen in other racing games the gameplay is still up there with the best. It is Gran Turismo, after all.
The title’s visuals are unmatched by any other driving experience on the market today and the developers have set themselves a tough hill to climb at improving them any further for GT5.
The game offers a basic events mode that gives you the opportunity to build your library of cars from the very cheapest to the fastest of supercars, and even a 2007 Formula 1 Ferrari.
Races are divided into Classes. In Class C you will be typically driving low powered cars such as a 95 Suzuki Cappuccino and as you climb up by completing enough events, the vehicles you drive become more luxurious.
Events can differ from races to time trials and earning gold, silver or bronze will reward you with cash to spend for your next purchase.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is the series’ first proper introduction into online racing and although it is a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.
In total you can race against a maximum of fifteen other players, which is a good number, but what the game does not offer are any form of player invites, so you are stuck with whatever competitors it throws at you.
Cheating is a big issue in this mode as many drivers choose to push their rivals off the track or into other cars. To be fair, various patches have been released over time to try and stop this, but the problem is still there and cannot really be rectified until cars can take damage, which will be in the forthcoming GT5.
You can of course choose the Arcade mode with its highly customisable options, but online offers various types of events and leaderboards that add a level of competitiveness.
The developers have tried to change some of the online events regularly to avoid the mode getting stale, but to be honest, there are far better multiplayer racing choices on the PlayStation 3.
If you would rather race against a friend, a two-player split-screen mode fulfils this purpose well and, perhaps surprisingly, does not compromise on gameplay or graphics.
For the first time a new feature called Gran Turismo TV has been added that gives motor-heads a bunch of free and premium video content.
Unfortunately, not so long ago all of the ever-so-popular Top Gear episodes available were removed, which is really a shame because that was the best content available. However, there are various other alternatives to watch the show for free or at a small price.
If you’re hoping for downloadable tracks or cars the developers have chosen instead to focus their attention on developing GT5, which is not surprising.
The significance of the franchise is clear when viewing the sales figures. GT5: Prologue currently sits on the top podium step for best selling PlayStation 3 title with over 3.7 million copies sold worldwide at the time of writing.
The general critical reception that this game has received is also good, sporting a Metacritic score of 80 out of 100.
If you’re looking for a cheap but quality racing game, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is a fair choice and can be bought from the PlayStation Store as well as at retail.
The second-hand market may also be a good choice too due to the short replay value of the game and because many fans may have, or will be planning to sell their copies in preparation for Gran Turismo 5.
The majority of racing fans, however, are advised to wait for Gran Turismo 5. No date has yet been confirmed, but GT5 may reach shelves this year. If not, we expect it to be available in early 2010 instead.