So I drove down into Manhattan for another fun little Sony event. This one took place downtown bordering SoHo and Chinatown in a big gallery showcase. I knew that the streets there can be parked on after 6PM, and that's when I arrived in my car. Lucky me, I parked, literally, right in front of the glass doors – so I didn't need to lug my coat around, I just left it in the car, and walked two feet to the door. Once greeted and signed in, the nice PR ladies told me some of the biggest highlights at the show, but I just really, really…reaaallly wanted to play Gran Turismo 5 which was the first game setup in the gallery.
So when I said "first thing's first, I must play that" pointing at Gran Turismo 5, the girls laughed and said something along the lines of "yeah, we figured you would." Since they saw me and my girlfriend come out of my 350Z, they also promptly had someone attend to me and whisper sweet nothings in my ear while I raced. Okay, the guy talking to me was actually telling me everything I already knew about the build I was playing. And chances are, if you've been following Gran Turismo 5, then you've seen this build played numerous times over the past months – be it at Tokyo Game Show or GamesCom.
This build of GT5 boasted the Tokyo track with a few cars, such as the Mercedes SLS, the Ferrari 458, the Toyota FT-86 Concept, the Subaru WRX STi, and one other I'm forgetting. On the track we only had a meager two minutes, or so. It was barely any time to do anything, let alone pass enough of the aggressive A.I., which now holds grudges. At one point during a race with my Ferrari, a yellow Lamborghini LP560-4 decided it'd be funny to ram into me from behind during a turn, side swipe me, and then stick to my door like a magnet, not allowing me to straighten out. Sheesh. To be honest, the magnetization seemed more like a hiccup than an intentenional A.I. trait, but either way, I did notice that the A.I. does behave differently here than Prologue. And to be fair, I did accidentally hit that Lambo earlier on when he braked during a little corner I normally coast through.
I didn't see many cars following the same line anymore, as I spotted numerous A.I. drivers going a bit too left, too right, having the rear get squirly, and even grazing a wall. The physics felt a bit tighter than Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, which is pretty damn impressive. As a result, cars feel more planted and their weight more apparent, allowing you to perform with more precision, even with a controller. That weight can also be felt when slamming into walls, as your car no longer bounces off of them like a toy.
And speaking of damage, I took the Subaru out on the track to witness the crash physics. Now, because this is the same build they've been showing for months now, the damage here is actually pretty dated and the final game will not deform in such simplistic and almost pre-determined ways. While the damage I saw was pretty nice and extreme, including even damage to mechanical aspect of the car's performance, Polyphony promises that the final game will demonstrate damage that is far more advanced than the demo we played.
All of that has us quite excited, because with the amount of work and features being packed into it, Gran Turismo 5 will no doubt end up being one of the biggest PlayStation 3 sellers, if not the biggest, and should easily be the best racing game of all time. I may not sound terribly enthused in this preview, but that's only because I've seen this build so many times over the past months that I feel like I've already played it to death.
Don't forget about the 370Z Gran Turismo 5 demo to arrive this week! That one will have a new track, complete with the new physics. No word on whether or not the damage will be fully enabled, though.