Gran Turismo 5 Prologue: Racing Towards the Future

On Friday I went and finally got my copy of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. I was so excited to play it. I have been playing the Japanese version of Prologue for a few months now, and have enjoyed the hell out of it. It was apparent though that the Japanese version was a lot more of a demo than I expected, only having a few tracks, but a decent amount of cars. I figured the American version would be just like this. Not true at all!
The American version of GT5 Prologue has so many more tracks, more features, and it’s also in English, so that makes it a lot easier to read and play. There are more cars, along with having a few more tracks and the ability to change the track from being forward or reverse. Some of the tracks even have shorter versions, such as Fuji and Suzuka, who have shorter GP style sections, or you can play the full length tracks. One of the coolest tracks is Daytona, home of the Daytona 500. You can either race the oval track, or the more challenging and fun, road course, which utilizes only part of the oval track, before turning into a twisty heaven.

The menu interface is fantastic. It showcases the car that you are currently in, in beautiful settings on different roads and other cool settings from around the world. It has a clock that shows the time of a bunch of cities, and tells you which city you are located in with the picture of your car.
One of the best things about the American versus Japanese version is how much better it is laid out. There are the classes of A, B and C. With each class that you beat, you win a car, nice ones too, well not so much if you win class C. You get a Daihatsu OFC-1 concept car that is ugly and slow. With level B you win the BMW 135tii, class A, the Nissan Skyline Coupe Concept –just the concept version of the current Infiniti G37. Once you beat class A you unlock the S class, and upon beating that you get the prototype of the GT-R. It is just like playing a regular GT version. I can only imagine what the real game will be like.
The cars. Man there are so many for basically a demo of the real game. Gran Turismo has even added tuned versions of certain cars for sale, like the Z06, Ford GT, 350Z, and numerous others to go along with the cars from Amuse, Blitz, Art Morrison and Mine’s. This is also the first time a Gran Turismo game has featured a Ferrari, and there are five of them… five of my favorites might I add. There is the F430 and the 599 GTB Fiorano, not too surprisingly. What is surprising though is the F40, the 1976 512 BB and the Ferrari F2007 F1 race car, that you can pick either the rosso corsa or the darker, and much brighter red with the sparkly flakes in the paint, just like the real race car. Also you can choose number 5 or 6, which are Kimi and Felipe’s numbers
The feel of each track and car is nothing short of amazing. This game is already ready to beat up on Froza Motorsport 2. The only things that Forza 2 has on GT5P, is the car customization, modifications, more cars and more tracks. On terms of feel though, Prologue wins hands down. There is a genuinely different feel to every car on every track. It is much more realistic. You can drift a front-wheel drive car, just like in real life. A common misperception is that they cannot drift, or oversteer to some of us, but they indeed can. GT5 Prologue just allows you to understand the concept better that once the front wheels bite in and the rear wheels lose enough traction going around a tight turn, you will find the car to be a little tail happy, by no means as drifty as a rear-wheel drive car, but still enough drifting fun.
Remember the days of Gran Turismo when if you had a rear-wheel drive car, you were no doubt going to end up spinning or be steering out of the dirt for 10 minutes? Well this game is nothing like that. The driving physics of each and every car is totally unique to that car. A Nissan GT-R with its all-wheel drive platform will drift around a track similar to that of a Corvette Z06, unlike the Impreza STI’s or the EVO’s, which will chirp the tires and bop around turns about to lose traction, but they don’t really break as much or as easily. A Mazda RX-8 is so poised with its rear-wheel drive and will handle incredibly well around tight circuits or longer ones, same as the Nissan 350Z with its rear-wheel drive as well. You now have more control of each and every car the way that it was meant to be.
Now we all know, gracing the front cover this time around for GT 5 Prologue is the new Nissan GT-R. It is a fantastic car. The noise that the exhaust makes at full bore is orgasmic. I personally didn’t know cars could sound like they were having orgasms until I heard the exhaust of the GT-R in this game. I will say though, as fast and fun as the GT-R is, it’s very hard to beat the Ferrari F430, and just as hard to shake a Z06 off of your tail.
It does seem that you can drift decently, and you can have fun, but I think due to the lack of long drawn out turns, you don’t get the same ability to drift as you do in Forza 2. There are numerous tracks where you can easily oversteer and hold it there, whereas with GT 5 Prologue, it is a lot harder to hold it. At least you can change the front and rear tires to whatever you like in most races and you don’t have to purchase different tires for different types of racing, like Forza 2.
Online play is a lot of fun, but you have to beat class A in order to race in the intermediate races. So all you can do is the beginner stuff, which is still fun because you win money, but all of the noobs in there just have really nice cars, and don’t really know how to drive. The worst thing is that if you try to pass, or even try to let them pass, they run right into you, causing you to spin out horribly and crash for half the race. It is pointless to race in a beginner online race if you don’t start in 3rd place or better. Online play is uninterrupted though. It is very fast and well laid out. But, with the case of the dumb drivers, I do miss Forza 2 and the fairness with the upper level players. Even Forza 2 online racing can be harsh when racing against cheaters and new people.
For the first time ever, I was able to race a full race with the in car view. You can see very well, and it is all too realistic. On a big 52” 1080i television, you will believe that you are in the damn driver’s seat racing against some of the best amateur and professional drivers from around the world.
Of all of the racing games I have ever played, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is by far the best. The driving is very realistic and in tune with real cars, but still very fun for all ages. The traction and stability control systems will help those who aren’t very good or don’t want to have to control the car too much. I highly recommend that you go out and GT 5 Prologue now, if you haven’t already done so. This is the type of racing game that you can play over and over again and love winning the money and buying the cars. I can’t wait for the real version of GT 5. I know that game is supposed to have more cars, and tons more tracks. When it comes out, expect a nice comparison from me on racing the Nürburgring on GT 5 versus Forza 2. Many people that know me know that whenever I am having a bad day, and don’t feel like writing music, playing guitar or anything else, I will pick up Forza 2 and race the ‘Ring with a Porsche 997 911 GT3. I can’t wait to do the same thing with Gran Turismo 5. I doubt that they will have any Porsche’s though. Hopefully they will at least have some RUF’s.
“Happy Motoring!”

Photos courtesy of: IGN