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March 9 2007
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
27/3/2008SonySonyPolyphony Digital
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-22-16$59.95
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The car models are absolutely stunning.
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The BMW 135i Coupe '07 is included!

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Look familiar? Remember Gran Turismo HD?
If you've ever owned a Sony console then chances are that you've spent some time playing Kazunori Yamauchi's Gran Turismo games. Indeed the series is widely regarded as the pinnacle of racing games on consoles - at least in the previous generation of consoles. Can Polyphony Digital continue to dominate the racing genre on the newest generation of consoles? One thing is certain, they're going to have their work cut out for them with several other high profile racing games demanding, and deserving, attention including games such as Project Gotham Racing, Forza and TOCA Race Driver. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue promises to give us a taste of what to expect from the final game, Gran Turismo 5 which should be out, well, sometime in future.

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The all new in-car viewpoint rocks.
So what do you get with Gran Turismo 5 Prologue then? First the big news. American, European and Australian gamers will be getting more content then that found in the Japanese version of the game which was released in December 2007. First of all the developers have bumped the track count from five to six with Eiger Nordwand, Daytona International Speedway, the London City Track, Fuji Speedway, Suzuka and the High Speed Ring all included, with two variations with each circuit.

Game modes include the typical arcade and event races and, as expected, gamers will be able to tune the cars to their liking. Players have the ability to adjust the vehicle’s performance, including power, tyres, suspension and the ability for quick tuning whilst racing. Another new feature added to the release outside Japan is the Drift mode which tests the player’s drifting technique is measured based on drift angles, racing lines, and speeds within evaluation zones located at various turns on the course. The game also includes a 2-player offline split-screen mode.

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Gran Turismo TV should be great.
Online gameplay is the biggest addition to this game and the game supports up to 16 players at once depending on the track. While Japanese gamers had to wait for a patch to be released on Christmas Day for online gameplay (the game hit shelves about 2 weeks earlier) this will be built into our versions. Now we did mention that the game supportsup to 16 players online and it is true that some circuits will only allow 8 players to race which should still provide some decent thrills. One can only hope though that reports of up to 2 minutes loading before an online race are exaggerate or, if it is the case, will be ironed out prior to our release.

It's the other touches that are likely to impress as well. The main menu features a calendar, clock and temperatures from around the globe (why can't they put this on the XMB!) when your PS3 is connected online. Gran Turismo TV is another major component of the title. If you're offline you'll see videos like the intro to the game, however if you're online then you will also have the option to view video like Top Gear (possibly for a couple of dollars an episode), product launches for new cars from manufacturers or even videos from various car shows around the globe (there is currently a video featuring the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show online).

Naturally the cars play a major part of the game, actually they make the game. The release outside Japan will see over 30 additional cars added to the game bringing the car count to 71. Want to see what's there? Well here's the full list...
Lexus IS F '07
Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec II Nur '02
Nissan Fairlady Z Version S '07
Nissan Skyline Sedan 350GT Type SP '06
Nissan Skyline Coupe Concept '07
Nissan Skyline Coupe 370GT Type SP '07
Nissan Skyline Coupe (V36) Tuned Car
Nissan GT-R Proto '05
Nissan GT-R '07
Honda Integra TYPE R '04
Honda NSX Type R '02
Acura NSX '91
Mazda Atenza Sport (2007 Tokyo Motor Show reference exhibit)
Mazda RX-8 Type S '03
Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A (FD)
Mazda RX-7 (FD) Special Tuned Car
Subaru Impreza WRX STI (18inch BBS Wheel Option) '07
Subaru Impreza Sedan WRX STI spec C Type RA '05
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR '05
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR Premium Package '07
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR Tuned Car
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR Tuned Car
Suzuki Cappuccino '95
Suzuki Swift Sport '07
Suzuki Cervo SR '07
Suzuki Cappuccino Tuned Car
Suzuki Swift Sport Tuned Car
Daihatsu Copen Active Top '02
Daihatsu OFC-1 '07
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 '06
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C6) Tuned Car
Dodge Viper GTS '02
Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe '06
Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe Tuned Car
Ford Mustang V8 GT Coupe Premium '07
Ford GT '05
Ford Focus ST '06
Ford GT Tuned Car
Audi R8 4.2 FSI R tronic '07
Audi TT Coupe 3.2 quattro '07
BMW Z4 '03
BMW 135i Coupe '07
BMW M3 Coupe '07
BMW 135tii '08
Mini Cooper-S '06
Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG '02
Volkswagen Golf GTI '01
Volkswagen Golf V GTI '05
Alfa Romeo 147 TI 2.0 TWIN SPARK '06
Alfa Romeo Brera Sky Window 3.2 JTS Q4 '06
Ferrari 599 '06
Ferrari F430 '06
Ferrari 512BB '76
Ferrari F40 '92
Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione '91
Citroen C4 Coupe 2.0VTS '06
Renault Clio Renault Sport V6 24V '00
Clio Renault Sport V6 24V Tuned Car
Aston Martin DB9 Coupe '06
Jaguar XK Coupe '06
Lotus Elise 111R '04
Lotus Elise '96
Lotus Elise 111R Tuned Car
Lotus Elise Tuned Car
TVR Tuscan Speed 6 '00
TVR Tamora '02
Art Morrison Corvette'60
Amuse/Opera Performance Gran Turismo 350Z RS
Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo
Mine's BNR34 Skyline GT-R N1 base '06
Blitz Dunlop ER34 '07

So we do have some concerns or disappointments with this release. Firstly there is still no car damage. The excuse that manufacturer won't allow it is wearing pretty thin by now with games like Forza 2, Ferrari Challenge and Colin McRae DIRT all including - at the very least - visible damage to the cars. Perhaps if the manufacturers won't allow you to include damage then you shouldn't put their cars as a priority in the game - that will certainly change their minds we feel. Another disappointment is that apparently the amount of tweaking available to the cars in this game is, well non-existent. You get what you're given, but there's still no modding either visually or performance wise.

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Inside one of the many BMW cars.
Graphically this game is astonishing. We've played the Japanese version ofGran Turismo 5 Prologue quite a bit and there really has never been better looking cars in a video game. The accuracy and attention to detail is astounding. Graphically the biggest addition to Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is the in-car viewpoint while you are racing. As one would expect all the cars interiors have been accurately modeled for the game. Sony have confirmed that in-game the engine runs at 60fps, while the replays run at half that at 30fps due to some added effects and changing camera angles. Much has been made of the 1080p video, but to be honest that's a little misleading as Gran Turismo 5 Prologue apparently runs at 1280 x 1080 and only uses 1920 x 1080 in the Showroom and Pit areas. Having said that the game still looks superior to every single other racing game on the market.

What really has us excited about this release is the knowledge that it is essentially only a demo of the full game which will turn up sometime in, well, future. Sony Australia initially set a late 2007 release date for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue but that has obviously not occurred. Sony Australia is currently targeting the game for release in late March 2008 with a price point of $AU59.95. This is certainly one of the most expensive demos ever, but also one of the most impressive with as many, if not more, cars as other full priced games.