Being a car fanatic for the vast majority of my life, I’ve always kept a keen watch on driving games. When Gran Turismo launched in May of 98, I felt that my life couldn’t get any better. Then Gran Turismo 2 showed up which made me realize that the Gran Turismo franchise will always be an evolving franchise with constantly improving graphics, gameplay, and physics. Now, more than 10 years later after the original left me in a gobsmacked heap, GT5 is finally on the horizon.
The Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Challenge demo was designed for the main purpose of showing off Polyphony Digital’s all new physics engine that was built from the ground up for this game. To challenge gamers Polyphony Digital turned off most assists, and set the demo up to use the professional driving physics. If you haven’t run the professional physics before, prepare for a rude awakening. Standard physics is like a fresh, warm spring morning while professional physics is like the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. If you decide to go full throttle at the wrong part of a turn you will spin out, if you accidentally drop a wheel off the tarmac while accelerating you will spin out. It is AWESOME. Having been around race cars and peddled a few cars aggressively, the physics seem right on the money.
For the demo, 1 track is included along with 1 car. The track is the Indianapolis Speedway GP course, and the car is a Nissan 370Z. The 370z comes in 2 flavors, there’s the tuned version and the stock version. The tuned version has weight reduction, suspension work, and racing tires among other things. The difference between the track prepped 370 and the stock 370 is vast, just like one would expect with professional physics to exaggerate the difference. While there isn’t much going on around the Speedway, the graphics look pretty damn good. I’m very intrigued to find out what Polyphony Digital could do with tracks with more scenery, like the Nurburgring or Spa-Francorchamps. However, Polyphony Digital did not include damage in the demo, so that is kind of a bummer. But, the sounds of the VQ37 revving are on point, if the other vehicles sound half as realistic as the 370 does, I’ll be ecstatic.
Oh, and since this is a Time Trial the person with the lowest combined time of both the tuned version and the stock version of the 370z on January 25th will win a round-trip flight to attend the Indy 500 with a guest, along with VIP treatment for both. There will be 1 winner from the USA and 1 winner from Canada.