Headlight flashing and windscreen wipers. Two of the upcoming ‘new features’ within glorified virtual showroom Gran Turismo 5 [what!?!?]. For gamers schooled in the age of thrilling racer innovation, from Kudos incentives through a full day/night cycle to Ridge Racer Type 4’s charming narrative, it’s difficult to become thrilled at the prospect of many of its so-called USPs.
Simply put, Gran Turismo 5 offers nothing this generation hasn’t already provided, leading us to look back with rose-tinted glasses upon the likes of Auto Modellista, which at least thrilled us with a cel-shaded polygon or two before boring us rigid. Still, in the interests of science, let’s take the list in order, eh?
First up, realistic damage. Considering the fine-toothed comb with which the title’s camera picks over accidents, little could topple Burnout Paradise from its lofty perch. After all, a title that models collisions based upon whether a vehicle’s ‘premium’ or not (whatever that means) can hardly separate wing mirror from chassis by a distance of a few hundred yards or more.
Secondly, weather. Since when has this been a reason to purchase a videogame? Unless tornadoes can spontaneously sprout up, allowing gamers to gently guide their vehicle through the air to its destination, this is hardly thrilling territory. Besides, what of DiRT 2’s caked earth, liberally smudging itself across gamers’ windscreens, and the futile attempts to remove it. Yeah, take that, headline windscreen wiper feature!
For ‘dynamic skidmarks’ too, why not consider the broadly ignored current-gen version of Sega Rally, drenched in surfaces so malleable they appeared as fresh snow? If it’s customised tracks you require, there’s always ModNation racers. As for the series’ covetous collection of expensive vehicles, well, everybody does that now.
We’re sure Gran Turismo 5 will offer technologically sound, generally beautiful driving – and perhaps there’s no real point to this unquestionable rant – but in a genre containing Blur, Split/Second: Velocity and even Need For Speed: Most Wanted, it’s sad to see realistic racers not holding up their end of the innovative bargain. Well, at least the Top Gear track’s in it…