So another month, another delay. Gran Turismo 5 is now officially late. I am one peed-off Playstation owner. I pre-ordered my copy last summer when I read rumours of a release before christmas. Then it got put back to March. Now it’s been put back to September 2010 at the earliest – and I’m not happy. Here’s why:
I’m a sim racer. I can’t stand arcadey car handling. Ridge Racer, Need for Speed and Burnout all make me want to eat my joypad. Motorstorm made me want to eat my Playstation. Not that GT: Prologue is bad, but it’s insufficient to keep me going. There are only six tracks, albeit with a couple of variations, but there’s only so many times you can go round each. As a virtual racer, when you start to find Suzuka boring, you know you need a fresh challenge. Polyphony Digital – could we not have a couple of new tracks? Could you fix it so I can race Suzuka backwards? How about giving the cars guns? Hell, I even took to oval racing the other day because I was fed up, and then gave up completely.
Image by sergesegal on Flickr, used under CC Licence.
The online racing is great, but servers are populated with people who pick the best cars for the same tracks over and over again. Well done you. Well done for making it so repetitive for everyone else. I’d love a ‘random’ mode where you don’t get to pick your own car… or a qualifying session followed by a reversed grid… or a staggered start… or just anything to help me enjoy it again. The menu music is now something I’m considering for my funeral.
Why do I persevere? Because the alternatives suck. Put simply, there just enough decent simulation racers on the PS3. F1 Championship Edition now feels out of date, and whilst fun enough to play, the graphics are looking a little shabby and the AI isn’t good enough for me to want to carry on for long periods. Race Driver: Grid was horrible. Colin McRae Dirt 2 somehow managed to be worse than the first one, but nobody except Codemasters is even bothering to produce the games I love most – hence my desperation for GT5.
My frustration lies in that I love this type of game, but there hasn’t been a recent one that’s up to scratch. Maybe they don’t sell well enough, but there’s been nothing to rival the Crammond GP series, or anything decent with one-make formula and all-equal set-ups where the winner is always the best, or luckiest driver. Racing the online Seat Leon championships in Toca Race Driver 2 was immense – it was all about driver skill, not car choice, and had great British tracks like Oulton Park and Knockhill. It’s so rare you’ll get three good drivers heading into the last corner three-abreast and you know two are going to end up in the gravel trap. Because that’s what it’s all about for me – those great racing moments, not my best lap times.
GT5 has carrying all my hopes for so long because I want it to be the next game that I fall in love with. I feel like a long-suffering groom-in-waiting who’s fiancé keeps putting off the wedding because they haven’t quite got the table decorations right. Of course if it is perfect when it arrives then all will be forgiven, but until then I have nothing to do except keep on reading the wedding magazines, and remembering how good my exes were with rose-tinted glasses.