Gran Turismo 5 is finally out in November

It’s been five years since the ‘real driving simulator’ from Polyphony Digital made an appearance on the Sony PlayStation – the brilliant Gran Turismo 4 on the PlayStation 2.

I remember spending hours, days and even months unlocking faster and powerful cars while progressing the deeply involving career mode in Gran Turismo 4. The sense of achievement in winning endurance races or rally stages was a great feeling and I love the idea of taking photographs featuring your dream cars afterwards.

The level of detail was astonishing with beautiful rendering of the cars and tracks. The game play had a slight difficulty curve, from the simple arcade mode in which you can powerslide and barge your way through to the chequered flag in first place, to the more realistic and unforgiving Gran Turismo mode where even tyre wear became a factor when racing against the AI rivals.

With the news that Gran Turismo 5 for the PlayStation 3 is finally out of development hell with the European release on November 3 (a full 24 hours after the US release), it will be fascinating if this new racing game can live up to the big hype.

I really hope it does as I love the series and have been playing the original Gran Turismo way back in 1997 on the PSone. Sure, the game play remains the same over the years with improved graphics and more manufacturers being involved, but the biggest criticism was a lack of damage affecting the cars. It was quite surreal for a car to remain unscratched after slamming into a wall at 120mph… But thankfully the new game features a more detail and realistic damage model.

As for the cars, I am amazed and really excited by the idea that Gran Turismo 5 features over one thousand cars, with Lamborghini and Bugatti making a first time appearance in the game. It even has the license to feature the World Rally Championship, NASCAR and Super GT. This is driving heaven!

Plus, you can even design your own tracks with a course creator! If you happened to get bored when racing around on the Daytona International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Monza and the Top Gear Test Track

The graphics are truly spectacular. From the dust and grass kicked up into the night sky to the reflective water effects when racing in the rain. Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi and his team should be immensely proud with the level of detail and commitment in making Gran Turismo 5 the most photo-realistic racing game on the PlayStation 3.

And after watching this stylish trailer, featuring an appearance of Adrian Newey and Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull Racing, my enthusiasm for this game has set my heart racing!

Yes I have to confess that five years has been a long time to get my Gran Turismo fix. Microsoft and Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 2 and 3 on the Xbox 360 has been the best substitute for my racing needs but nothing can match the sheer passion with Yamauchi-san latest driving simulator. Roll on November 3 2010.

UPDATE: The official real date of Gran Turismo 5 has been confirmed as November 24. It has been pushed back many times but it seems the game is now ready.

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