Snaepers review of Gran Turismo 5 and looking ahead to Gran Turismo 6! With suggestions! Greetings, allow me to first introduce myself. I would like to say that Im a dedicated albeit still casual fan of the Gran Turismo franchise. I started with GT2, played a little GT3 when I could and Ive never once had the fortune of playing GT4, ever. That being said, I love the franchise because I can easily accredit Gran Turismo 2 towards a huge growth in my love for cars. I never owned a PS2, partly the reason of me not getting to play the latter two titles, and instead had an Xbox. I scratched my racing itch with titles like Need for Speed, Group S Challenge, Project Gotham Racing, TOCA Race Driver 3 and Sega GT 2002. All titles continued my interest in automobiles while I was away from the GT series. Around 2007, my interest renewed in the Gran Turismo franchise and I began participating in the online speculation that was rampant in the waiting years for GT5. I made car wish lists (that were very elaborate and long-winded) and had my share of speculation that I felt was necessary to contribute. Interest waned, of course, and I would find myself returning yearly before becoming fully indulged in late 2008 and early 2009. Some material had surfaced at what I believe was Gamescom that set the rumors ablaze of GT5s release before the end of the year. I went out and bought a PS3 in anticipation and was understandably disappointed when I would have to wait a whole year before I could use it for its intended purpose. I feel that the long wait made me (and perhaps many of us) all blind to the ailments that GT5 brought. Or, perhaps, our expectations were unnaturally high. The What does Standard mean? fiasco didnt help and we mightve all had in our heads something completely different than what we got. Some others have probably come to this realization long before I have, but I want to go over some things in detail in the hopes of putting things in a different light and surgically analyzing the game from a gamers point of view. A gamer who likes the series to continue to play it, but isnt afraid of picking at the scabs Let me start the analysis by saying that this game has improved greatly since its initial release. Had PD left it untouched, I wouldve abandoned GT5 long ago and I commend the team for their constant improvements and updates to make Gran Turismo one of the finest supported games Ive had the pleasure of playing. Brace yourselves, though, its time to get a little wish-list-y Content (Cars, Tracks, etc.) I get it. Time and manpower and money and all that jazz all add up to what does and does not get included in the game. I certainly have the feeling that GT5 is the tip of the ice berg and I hope that GT6 brings a whole lot more content to 5s impressive list but there are some questionable decisions that I have to raise. The addition of NASCAR is one that I welcome, as its a prominent and unique form of auto racing that has a large place in the American racing sect love or hate it. I like the additions of Daytona and Indianapolis but thats it? Thats all the NASCAR tracks you decided to add? I Could continue with a short list of tracks that should be included, but instead Ill point out the three tracks that were removed: Infineon, Motegi and the Test track. Three tracks that were in the previous GT4 title and two which have been included in some form or another since GT2 at least. Sure they needed to be modeled but how late was the NASCAR license to the party that you couldnt have put priority on those three? Motegi works for the Super GT circuit as well and the Test Track shouldve been something that was there from the start. Yes, with the advent of DLC, we now have Route X but that track is so long I cant imagine it would make the racing very exciting, never mind the fact that it goes clockwise. I can only assume that Infineon was missing to keep a balance between the amount of Japan/American/European tracks, which has been pretty even thus far. If thats the logic behind the decision, then thats alright by me, but youre leaving me here guessing PD (well get to this later). Another issue with the Licensing is the matter of some key missing cars. I find the disparate years of Super GT to be odd, then theres the selective NASCAR issue. Why have some cars from some teams, yet miss on other cars on the same team? Ford could at least get Greg Biffles car, right? Why not include the second Red Bull Toyota? No love for Hendricks No. 5? SHRs No. 39? How about the complete omission of Penske and Dodge? I can understand that the Blue Deuce might mess with the E rating, but theres nothing wrong with the Double Deuce aside from a volatile driver whos brothers car made the cut. On a similar note, I wouldve loved to have seen at least three or four more GT300 class Super GT cars. I also wish the Super GT series got a little DLC love (like NASCAR), if nothing else just give us a primer HSV-010GT? On the matter of street cars, I feel that enough has been and is being done. Im happy that the list isnt as Japanese centric as it used to be, but I still would like to see a bit more effort given to represent more of the American and European cars. My point? Not every Chevy sold is a Camaro or Corvette. The Cobalt SS (either Supercharged or Turbocharged) was pretty terrifying and deserves a place in the game in my book. When I speak of the other markets though, I include Japanese brands in them. The Civic Si might be over-shadowed by the Type-Rs, but they get enough love to warrant their inclusion. Id like to see at least one version of every generation GTI as well, since the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th are all very iconic and notable cars yet get the shaft. On the short: Sentra SE-R, Euro Civic Type-R Hatch, BMW M3 and standard 3-series, Ford Mustang and Camaro (all generations/notable body styles/trims/etc) and on and on. I just feel like Japan gets Kei cars, but the basic modes of transportation (or at least closer to basic) from America and Europe are snubbedI feel that I do have to mention standards, so I will. I was not as disappointed as most when news came that we'd be getting them, mainly because I never played GT4, so all the cars would still be fairly new to me. I love the standards but I have to wonder why a small handful didn't seem to make the leap to GT5. The FPV Fords? Auto Union? Daimler Patent Motorwagen? Heck, even the Nike car! Thankfully the Online Dealership really alleviated the difficulty that was getting cars you wanted as it was a pain in the butt to watch as that one ultra rare car you wanted disappears for another month because you were a few hundred thousand credits too short and many of the cars you had in your garage are not allowed to be sold. Also, while I'm thankful that the Audi R8 LMS got into the game, why on earth does it cost so much? It's an FIA GT3 car!!! Those things are supposed to be cheap! I can buy an R8 Prototype for less!!! I'd rather spend 5 million credits on an R15+ or R18! Where are those? However, the biggest licensing fail I can think of has to be Top Gear. You got the track and that seems to be about the extent of it. The challenges are ridiculous (I wouldve picked something based from the show), none of the hosts make an appearance, the replay angles do not match the real top gear hot lap replays not that it matters though since theres no hot lapping system set up. One of the first things I wouldve done is make an online hot lap system that has leader boards per car with one grand leader board that shows the fastest laps made in each car similar to the one on the show (in theory, not in style). Online and more Lets face it, regardless of how the system is set up, theres bound to be one or two bad eggs that eventually show up to race even in the most strictest of open lobbies. Generally these might be well-intentioned poorly-skilled individuals, but theres also the gentleman who prefer to take out their stress on another individuals automobile. With that in mind, I like the Open Lobby system, but I cant help but think that the online couldve used a little more structure. Something that couldve been implemented alongside the lobby system. Imagine the Online Races that could be done in both online or offline mode, with the Online mode setting you up in a match-making process for quality in connection, ability and more. You could also do Online racing series that string several events together for larger credit rewards and possibly even car rewards/paint chips/etc. I seek this structure because I've simply given up on joining most open lobbies these days. It's hard to understand what the host wants before you join, plus most rooms with casual hosts are usually rampant with foul players. In the first few months, I found a lot of exciting and competitive racing in the form of PP limited races (specifically 500PP), but those events were soon replaced with Shuffle Races. I've found a certain consistency between most shuffle lobbies, the racing is usually clean enough but clean racing usually comes at a great deal of work and stress on the host. I myself have often relented from actually participating just to ensure that my races are as clean as can be... but after awhile I can't help but leave my lobby due to disinterest. There really needs to be some sort of system set up to sort the good from the bad. This would need a some sort of algorithm and mechanic that would observe and record a racers record to help matching, or you could just go on a trust-factor and have participants fill out a card similar to online dating, letting GT/PD know what you look for in competitors and matching you against them. Sure people could lie to foul up someones day, but lets say somebody puts I like clean racing A LOT and then spends a whole race doing doughnuts and running into people, they could get the boot or their match card would switch to Dirty Racing is A-OK. Other features could be quick apology notes that PDs online system records, to clean your record if you bumped into someone a few times. Accidents happen! Another feature could be a drivers Cool Level similar to B-Spec, if a driver goes a few races where he spends time off track or trading paint, a color-indicator changes to a warmer and warmer shade, with red being the hottest and blue being the coldest. This can go down (or up) with certain offline races as well, so if you need to do an attitude improvement, you can shoot for a couple of simple and clean runs against Tuned cars to repair your reputation. I suggest this because it would be a nice pre-qualifier to know what a driver has been doing before he joined your room. You could even attach a numerical value to it so that the driver knows he's fouling up and needs to improve, this numerical value could also be used to filter undesirable drivers from your rooms. In terms of the Open Lobby, theres more to be desired. The first item is a bit of a long shot, but Id love to see a button that has a list of pre-made OLR rules that a host can select to show everyone entering what he does and does not tolerate. These may or may not have a scripted enforcement attached to them, but the main point is that if the host sees someone violating one of his rules, that person is gonna get kicked. It becomes tiresome having to re-iterate my do's and don'ts to everyone who joins my room to race with me, because I want clean racing. These pre-written rules could also let people know what to expect before joining the room, because the Open Lobby's title bar is woefully inadequate at getting the message across. Also, a host shouldnt have to leave the race to kick someone, its a pain in the butt. Granted a host shouldnt be able to kick someone in the middle of the race either (it could be abused if someone is leading and the host is in second), so I recommend the host being able to kick the driver from the pits as an alternative. Sure it might end the hosts race anyways, but at least he gets a some credits so his time wasnt completely wasted. Another option would be a time penalty that could become available on longer tracks like Le Mans and Nurburgring. The host will enter in the start menu, wait for the clock to count down to kick the driver. The clock would only count if the offending driver is in the top three positions. Another criticism is the lack of control over certain criteria (like aero as an example), or at least the option to see an opponents stat sheet to verify his car isnt doing anything that the host or competitors would deem illegal. I also wish there were even more intensive regulating criteria with more being able to cross over each other (ex: PP and HP limitations). Also, why not set up a multi-class regulation set? I can make up to four different classes with different limiting criteria. These could be drastic (500PP, 550PP, 600PP) or nearly identical (500pp with weight limit but no power, 500pp with power limit but no weight limit, etc). A-Spec We all know this. Even Yamauchi-san has admitted that he wished there was more to A-Spec than what we got. Let me just say that I pity the poor and select few who will never attach their PS3 to the internet permanently because the game runs out of miles very quickly. I spent a month of casual driving and I had finished all but the endurance A-spec events (something I still have yet to do as no endurance race requires one driver to do the entire event). On top of the fact that the lack of A-Spec races makes the 1,000 cars seem gloriously redundant, but its the lack of previous events that were present in former GT titles that makes it hurt even more. Even GT5: Prologue had manufacturers events and if youre going to include a glorious amount of one type of car, you should at least do a factory even to see all of them race against each other at the same time. No S2000 cup? No GT-R event? No Viper series? Cmon! Then we get into what A-Spec events there are, which are a one-and-done since GT only hands out prize cars once now. Some of the events arent even full, usually only having one race, some having two and three. I really wouldnt complain if they had slightly tweaked the theme, put it on a different five courses and used the full range of tracks in GT5, since some dont appear at all (2005 Le Mans??). Yes, PD did offer up the Online races, but even those dont give any incentive to participate again once youve completed them, and they dont exactly add new events every day. Ive also had the pleasure of having to race offline and my goodness is it painful when you cant access the Online events. Then theres the challenges. Again, some things that I havent really been too inclined to complete. Some of them are unnecessarily hard and stressful. Sure theres a sense of accomplishment when you complete them, but I often find myself becoming overwhelmingly stressed trying to complete the task and it makes me an irritable person in general, so I give-up to keep my peace of mind. I guess you could argue that this is personal opinion. However, what Im sure you will agree on is the absolutely ridiculous progression of difficulty one faces in GTs A-Spec. I consider myself to be a fairly talented driver with a DS3 or G27 (I did all my career with the DS3, though) and I think its rather entertaining to breeze through about 70% of the events then suddenly get leveled with a handful that are ridiculously challenging in comparison. The main frustration is that many of the events dont teach you any skills to overcome the coming challenges, as many of said challenges introduce unique and ridiculous criteria to make the race artificially harder. Examples: Can you think of anything that would prepare you for the Formula GT races? I cant (I wont get started on the epic fail that was the task of obtaining the FGT, either). Why is the Daytona race in the NASCAR series so ridiculously difficult, hmm? Also, why not just call it Skill Challenge instead of License Test? Its not like its teaching me anything that Ill actually apply to racing in Gran Turismo. I almost wish you could get disqualified for colliding with another car in an online race! Add in the Pass/Fail mentality with no leeway in between, not to mention some Gold trophies that seem perennially out of reach and you really have to wonder how much is actually based on skill and how much is based on the luck that everything that has to go right, did. The other issue with License Tests is that they really have no place in the game aside from helping you gain some XP early. Previous GT games would limit you from participating in certain events if you didnt have a specific license level. Ive gotten away with playing in everything and I still havent bothered with the nonsense that is my Super License. So rolling the uselessness of the tests, with the lack of skills they help build combined with the difficulty they provide really makes me question why theyre there and why I should bother with them. My suggestion would be to remove the pass/fail mentality of the tests. I dont want to feel like I have to be a professional race car driver with years of experience just to get gold. Making someone grind out a task just to get the gold really undermines the point. Or give the license tests some worth, make me feel like Im learning something. Give me a little instruction on what line I should take and why I should take it. Hints, tips etc. Something to make me feel like its worth my time to endlessly repeat the task in the quest of those gold trophies. This is part of a larger criticism that Ill save for the end. B-Spec I love the idea of B-Spec, but the execution is the absolute worst thing in this game. I know that running the races in real time simulates being a racing manager, so since I dont want to be a racing manager, Im going to ignore this whole part of the game and register my B-Spec drivers online so people will rank them up with no effort on my part and easy money in the bank when I need it. Thats my mentality on B-Spec. B-spec is so boring that its put me to sleep on one occasion and gotten damned near close on several others. I was playing in the middle of the day, though admittedly lying on the couch (granted I lie on the couch a lot and dont fall asleep). Currently, my resolution is to simply put my Bob in a much faster car, walk away and let him have at it but thats not much more fun is it? A game should keep me engaged and B-Spec is the antithesis to that philosophy of mine. One possible fix is simple, make the races go a bit faster. Not full on twice the speed per-say, but at least 15 to 25% faster. If I want to crank out some B-Spec races to level up my drivers, I shouldnt be punished with doing racers that are even longer than the A-Spec versions because once my bobs are leveled up, the races are so easy I wonder what the point of all those extra laps is. So making the race go by a bit quicker will make it seem a bit more worth it, or you could add a challenge and just remove the extra laps... Other suggestions could include repeat winning of prize cars but my favorite would have to be leveling up the pit crew. As of now, pit stops are so mechanical its a wonder why my car cant just drive down the pit lane, have its tires and fuel replenished while moving and just pop back out on the track again. Why not make B-Spec (as well as A-Spec) a training ground for pit crew members. Tire changes speed is increased through experience, the gas man will make sure the pump is in and out in a timely fashion and that the required amount of fuel is put in the car, not a drop less or more. The jack man learns not to drop the car before the tires are completely on, etc. You could have entertaining moments where youre watching the signal man flailing his arms at unseen crew before he signals you as good to go (A-Spec). Or you can watch from your B-Spec eye in the sky as your car is raised and dropped while they fix the issues. Granted this would require doing pit stops (could have a pit stop practice mode), but it will be fun to watch as your pit stop times slowly shrink as your team gets faster and faster. The reward will be especially sweet if you do your A-Spec races online and watch as your pit stops are instantaneous while other inexperienced drivers sit in the stalls wallowing in despair. Though stops should never be so drastically long that it would be infuriating, well assume all crew members have prior experience. Photomode Let me start by saying that photo mode in GT5 is amazing, spectacular and fantastic. Im only going to touch on what I feel couldve shouldve been. Wheres the multi-car photo mode? I dont care if theyre lower-quality racing models, I want to take a picture of 16 of my cars on track at the same time. I can pick all the entries from my garage, set a speed and watch them motor around while I snap away and make fantastic simulated racing shots. Itd be no different than if I were a racing series wanting to make promotional material for my series. My frustration stems from my urge to take photos of multiple cars together and the fact that many of my online friends do not have the cars I want and if they do theyre usually modified and if theyre not modified then I have so few participants with an attention span long enough to help me that there was no point in trying anyways. I tried organizing people online but no one was interested, please see what you can do? I also think that the photo mode locales were pretty sterile, albeit beautiful. Be realistic! Give me a Tokyo Auto Salon/SEMA style environment! Give me an international car show-style Environment. Have a few pre-set car sets that I can choose to be around my car (assuming selecting cars individually is too difficult to accomplish, also see Challenger picture below for example). How about an out door car show style piece? Wheres my concrete parking structure? Wheres my garage setting? Wheres my pre-race ceremony with all the cars sitting on the grid, race queens standing near with flags and umbrellas, my driver under said umbrella having a chat with a media crew. A few of my crew examining the car as people mill about, other cars teams and drivers sitting nearby. You could also do American, Japanese, and European tuning garages as well as Dyno and Wind tunnel environments. Maybe even include one or two racing paddocks from select tracks in full detail. Assuming the pit-crew thing becomes a reality, what about having a few pit-lane locales where I can put my fictional racing team and driver posing next to my car? Same goes for multiple B-Spec drivers standing next to the LMP I used when I raced in the 24 hours of LeMans B-Spec event. I know this might also push the E-rating but what about having a few girls available wearing provocative (but not necessarily exposing) clothing that are leaning against/washing/sitting on the car? Ill stop before this becomes a full blown wish list. This just shows how amazing Photomode is, yet how much more there is to go. This is a perfect analogy of Gran Turismo 5 as a whole: Well polished, but lacking material, focus and direction. Extras/Miscellaneous The Online Racing Menu music needs to have the option to be changed. Racing Modification was so pitifully executed its a wonder why they even bothered. Dont get me wrong, I love the RMs and the options that they present, I just hate that theres so few of them and that the DLC Touring Cars are being marketed as pre-tuned unlicensed racing machines instead of the build-it-yourself Racing Mods that they should have been. We all know how lacking the wheel selection is on certain cars. I really would love to preview a paint color on a car before I use it. In the real world it isnt something you can do, but in the real world you dont get your paint from a single-use paint chip. LIVERY EDITOR (Trying not to make this a wish list but cmon!) GT Academy Content! Where's the 350/370Z's? I would've thought for sure that some support would've been given to that program. Racing suits from Super GT as well as generic branded racing suits (Dunlop, Red Bull, Honda, etc) and GT Academy Racing suits, Vettel's suit, Ferrari F1's suits... etc. You're trying to tell me we all get to celebrate Vettel's second championship, yet another Red Bull driver wins his... what was it 30th now... WRC Championship and his car isn't given out for free? The car he actually drives. I'll avoid getting into WRC's license issues, too. Bring back a basic and universal regulation that can apply to all cars for quick and easy control: S= Street Cars, or cars without aero. T= Tuned cars, or cars with rear aero and/or some fixed front Aero. R= Race cars, or cars with adjustable front and rear aero. The Big One This is one Im having a hard time labeling. I feel that the biggest flaw in Gran Turismo is that it sets you out with a sink or swim mentality. Its not difficult enough to where you cannot enjoy the game but as you start digging, there are questions that start to be raised within the game. Questions that are not answered. If I wasnt a member of gtplanet.net, Id probably still be guessing and even then the members dont really have much more to go off of and the answers seem to be determined by cold hard play time and research. An example of this would have to be the racing suspension settings. As someone who enjoys cars but has never touched a car in the ways that the suspension settings ask me to, I find it overwhelming. What does each setting do? What exactly does it effect? Why can't there be a school mode that would put me in cars and run me through the same sets of course in repetition, with the suspension automatically changing each time and explaining to me what is happening and what scenarios I would use this for, etc. Going over different cars and training you how to set up suspension for different compounds of tires and conditions. It doesnt have to be the definitive answers were looking for, but it should help us lay down the basic ground work so we know what were doing and how to properly use the tools that GT gives us. I shouldnt have to go to a private web site to figure out how to work the game. The same can be said for a number of things in the tuning menu. How can I use weight distribution to my advantage? How can I set up my transmission to fit the track Im about to use? When should I use less aero? How can I get a higher top speed? How can I set my car up to drift? Why do these things have to be answered from sources outside the game? Another example is B-Spec. I still dont know what those arrows mean when youre looking at your drivers profile. Does it mean hes happy? Is he going to have the tendency to perform well or poorly? How does it get to be like that? How do I reverse the effects? This is another issue with B-Spec: That so much is left up to you. Its like GT hands you the game mode and says Wing it. I say this and I even have the Collectors Edition that came with the little handbook that is supposed to help explain the game, yet none of this is ever really explained. Final Words Gran Turismo 5 feels like it suffered from familiarity. It's as if PD spent so much time working on it off and on that certain decisions were made that were logical to the staff but didn't translate to the consumer of the product. Dare I say that some things actually felt rushed, as if they realized that they needed to make the game and just threw a sampler of all of their ideas in to tie us over for GT6. It is a great game and is competitive with all of the titles currently on the market. However, it just needs more meat, more oomph! Its like a great car that just needs a few more standard features and a better exterior design to be perfect. The chassis and power train are there! There are also a few features that need a little more polish, as well. I commend Gran Turismo 5 as I still enjoy playing it over a year after its release, however I have to say that my expectations for Gran Turismo 6 are high. As usual Ill expect the worst (or try to, at least) so I dont get disappointed, but we all know that things can, will and should get a lot better from here on out!I would also like to thank Polyphony Digital for the things they have given us. Those being a weather and time effect that is so beautiful and natural that I forget it's fake. I also forgive PD for not being able to implement it at every track... because the ones that do have it make the most use of it. I'm thankful for Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti and Mclaren. I'm thankful for more than 6 cars on the track at the same time, though I do question why the game can go to 16, yet so often chooses 12, hopefully the PS4 will remedy this. I'm thankful that we have damage and other details that enhance the effect of the game play, even if they are (in my opinion) unnecessary. I'm thankful that we can race online and that Gran Turismo is popular enough that I always meet someone new when I race, even if I don't like that person. I'm thankful that we are able to race on some of the greatest race tracks in the world, even if there's a few notable entries missing. I'm thankful that GT continues to ask the questions no one else does, that they forge ahead to new frontiers while competitors play it safe, that they continue to make an unprecedented link to racing in real life, where others are content to simply make games. I'm thankful that Gran Turismo 5 has made such advances, that I only have to pick out superficial things now like missing cars/tracks/content and merely make suggestions for improving current content... rather than suggest wholly new ideas like we've all done in the past. I'm thankful that Gran Turismo continues to be one of the few titles that combines multiple racing disciplines to such effect and authenticity. Thank you, Polyphony Digital. If this seems kind of redundant, it's because I wrote it with a general audience in mind. Many of the ideas I'm sure have all been experienced by you Premium users before, so it may be playing the same fiddle.