...and don't get started on those !#%@ing license tests.
It was as if the "real driving simulator" took all the worst bits out of driving and left the rest. Unfortunately it made a lot of money which gave the game studio to make the same game with the same problems again and again. Think of it as the video game equivalent of "Saw."
Recently the fifth game of the series was released, or the seventh depending on how you count them. Like GT4, Gran Turismo 5 was first released as a half-finished "Prologue" edition two years ago to encourage fans to part with their money in a way that would make George "Special Edition" Lucas proud. GT5 Prologue gave gamers a glimpse of what they could expect while also using them as beta testers: Ask any player about the seemingly random aerodynamic effects.
Now the full version is out in stores and outside of some better graphics it's still very much the Gran Turismo we first played thirteen years ago. Fortunately it does add some new features:
B-Spec mode gives you a virtual pet disguised as a racing driver. Remember those arduous endurance races? Now you get to play them again but instead of driving you get to monitor your baby Andretti's stress levels.
Real race drivers are available with advice. If you want to improve your times on circle tracks take notes from Jeff Gordon's zombie-like avatar.
Damage has been added, but it's so light at the beginning of the game that you can only see a few pixel changes. Full damage isn't available until level 40 which is about 25 levels after most players will move on to something else.
It includes "Premium cars." This is double-speak for "80% of cars are recycled Gran Turismo 4 models." GT4 was a PS2 game so you know how splendid they will look on your HDTV.
3D support is included for those five people who just had to spend $3k+ to bring the Avatar experience to their home theaters.
Tuning has been simplified by removing the option of buying aftermarket brakes. No, I don't know why they would do that, either.
The game includes the Project X1, a vehicle designed by Red Bull's racing development team. This car was designed to "push the boundaries of motorsports" yet it doesn't include protruding spoilers. Isn't Red Bull supposed to give you wings?
Kart racing has been included, although the presence of the dreaded blue shell has yet to be determined.
Is GT5 a great game? Technically, yes. If you want car pr0n drive around in a premium car on your 3DTV. If you want the most realistic driving dynamics it's got that, too. Is it the most fun? No. It's hard to enjoy driving when the AI careens into your car or you have to stop it in a tiny box before you get the next license.