Can the latest iteration of Sony’s driving sim live up to expectations?
19 March 2008

What is it?

Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is, despite its name, the eighth incarnation of Polyphony Digital’s iconic racing series for Sony’s various PlayStations. Given that GT4 Mobile, the long-awaited version for the portable PSP handheld console, has seemingly been scrapped, GT5: Prologue is effectively the first new product in four years from Polyphony and its lead producer, Kazunori Yamauchi.It’s the first GT game to have been designed from scratch for the PlayStation 3, and is an appetiser for GT5 proper, which arrives sometime in 2009. So don’t expect GT4-esque variety and garages full of hundreds of cars here; you get 71 cars and six circuits. Oh, and it’s released next week (27 March) via Sony’s online store.

What’s it like?

Visually gorgeous, for starters. The PS3 can throw around fully high-definition graphics (1080p, if you have a good enough telly) at 60 frames per second, so the action is smooth and stunning to behold. The in-game menus are slick to the point of Hollywood movies, and the cars themselves are so beautifully rendered that we wasted half an hour alone just cycling through the ‘dealership’ section where you buy machinery. You can spend entire evenings just watching replays.That attention to detail – Gran Turismo’s hallmark, really – is carried over to the racing. We chose a bright orange Ford Focus ST, then switched to the new in-car view and marvelled at the sight of the turbo boost gauge flicking to the left on upshifts. It’s that accurate.Other improvements over GT4? You can have up to 16 cars per race now, you can take on your mates in online battles and time trials, and there are plenty of new cars including, at last, some Ferraris (previously exclusive to the Xbox’s Gotham Racing series). The tiresome licence process has been abandoned, too; instead you build up your experience through racing and challenges.Frustrations? There’s still no car damage (yawn), there are still no Porsches (argh) and the online racing does need development to match the Xbox’s slick Internet experience. But given the frequency of updates on the PS3 itself, Polyphony is likely to address at least the last of those gripes in the months ahead.

Should I buy it?

Yes. If you shop around you can pick up GT5: Prologue on BluRay disc for under £20, and it has more than enough gameplay to justify that outlay (you’ll need a PS3 and TV capable of doing the graphics justice too, of course.) But you do sense that the game is just a taster for what lies ahead; the full game will need super-slick online racing, a full damage mode, hundreds of cars and dozens of tracks if it’s to really take the series to a new level.

John McIlroy

Release date: 27 March (via PSN), 28 March (on Blu-ray disc)

Our Verdict

Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R is not a cheap car, but it’s better value for money than cars that are seemingly as fast

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Join the debate


19 March 2008

Agree it needs a damage model, but apparently the car manufacturers will never allow it. Shame really. Would be great fun seeing how a Veyron rolls at 250mph.

19 March 2008

Glad to see Ferrari are in this time.. Turismo usually gets round the Porsche exclusion with RUF versions but I'm amazed Porsche don't want to be associated with the finest racer game on the planet! Graphics look fantastic, hope the 'feel' and experience is in the same league.

19 March 2008

What nonsense. If you want decent driving/racing sims, a PC is the only way to go.

For detail, try GT legends on a high end PC, it is stunning.

For racing accuracy, to a terrifyingly anal extent, try the GTR and GTR2 games from Simbin.

These are just glossy showrooms and if the developers spent less on licensing the all the cars and more on gameplay, they'd be so much better.

Having said that, I can't vouch for GT5, but GT4 et al were rubbish.

20 March 2008

Looks brilliant, I can't wait to play it, the previous 4 iterations were all epic, improving on each generation, this series stands head and shoulders above all others.

20 March 2008

I think you've been a bit harsh on Gran Turismo. I have a recing driver friend who has competed in a number of cars on most UK tracks, and he seems to think that GT4 is the most accurate game he has every played, especially with regards to the car setup.

GT Legends and rFactor are great, but that doesn't have to take anything away from GT5

20 March 2008

I hold a world record in GT4, for fastest 0-400 meters in a production car, 7.634 seconds

and have the played the game extensively. It is as it says on the box, a driving simulator, other car games don't even try to say they are a simulator. There is just so many settings on a car to change, that is what sets the game above the rest. Although I am excited by this prologue, it is still not enough reason to buy a ps3. I think I'll wait for the full version to come out. But, I might spend a few days playing it for free in an electronics store.

30 March 2008

1/ GT Legends, GTR, GTR2 and rFactor run at 1080p with antialiasing 4x and anisotropic filtering 4x (so better than PS3), on my 400 euros computer (£315) 2/ No damage = no sim. how can you call this a simulation when all you need to do to win is push the other cars off track ? this makes GT5P a SOLO driving simulator at best. 3/ Said PC games are open for modding by players communities, meaning we get FREE addons... how about the full 1955 F1 season, 1988 Le Mans, old-school Group B rally, D1 drifting series, Superkarts, rallycross, VW Funcup, ALMS and many many more ? 4/ Does GT5(P) support TrackIR devices ? (the point of view in the game follows your head's movement) Or extensive online championship customization ? Does it easily (natively) display on 3 monitors ? Or even allow you to design your own aerodynamic parts, with realistic downforce & drag, then fit and set them up for your favourite car ? The GT franchise is just that: a shiny, feel-good, solo, non-racing simulator with very good driving physics, pushed by the Massive marketing power of Sony Entertainment Ltd., to make huge money. There is some passion in there, but only a laughably small amount when compared to rFactor, for example. Sounds like racing your 800bhp cruise,pose and straight drag Mustang against my Lotus Elise GT1... ;)

31 March 2008

A damage model is coming in the near future, probably as a downloadable content addition. There are plenty of recent interviews with the developer stating that he has only a few more manufacturers to come on-line. This is all a bit smoke and mirrors to be honest, as there are damage models in most of the other main competitive titles. You can see some of these interviews on the GT5 channel.

DazzaRV - F1 Fan & Sage

18 June 2009

the full GT5 concept video has been released, available to download from ps3 or from the internet on a pc. looks pretty amazing.

and hopefully should be out before christmas this year...

28 June 2009

I have had this game for quite a few months now and I still love it. What a great job they did on the sounds, graphics, car selection and just overall.

Now that it has been out a while you can get it cheaper so it makes it even more worth it.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week