Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 6:42 PM by Raymond Newell
Once upon a time games were complete. They shipped with whatever problems they had and those problems didn’t change or get fixed. Game developers released a game only when it was done and not months before when it was an incomplete mess and fill it in with various patches and DLC’s in order to take more money from the already expensive full-retail game in the hopes that this will finally make the game ‘complete’ for those customers that cue up and are eager to buy the game, yet the corporation care so little about.
When we look at the latest installment of the Gran Turismo franchise what do we see? DLC worth more than the game, a prologue that was supposed to tide our appetites over until the full game was released. If, of course, it was ever released. I wouldn’t blame many being skeptical, it had been delayed so many times it became the laughing stock of the video game world for a short while. Even when it was eventually released the game was riddled with glitches and bugs that plagued every race and after having to do a total of 11GB of updates as well as suffering through load times that are unacceptable in this day and age I finally gave up on Gran Turismo 5. It has improved since release but when we see what has been achieved and the potential that was there with earlier installments you can’t help but feel anger towards Polyphony.
This enlightenment came to me in a recent nostalgia trip that I had involving a PS2, the only SCART TV I have left and a whole lot of games produced from 2000-2006. One of the games in question is obviously the game I write this article concerning. I was playing Gran Turismo 3, using my trusty Pikes Peaks which has been my overpowered, physics defying car of choice for most of the game and my newly acquired Polyphony 001 car because who doesn’t love F1 cars? Racing around the ever iconic Special Stage Route 11, a classic night time Tokyo-set track complete with a ferris wheel lit up like a Christmas tree and the best inclusion of a tunnel in a game (not sure how many were vying for that title though) I was doing what all gamers playing a racing title that has numerous laps of the same track do and pondering the important issues of life such as are there other intelligent organisms out there, what should happen to gun control in America and are Kate Upton’s boobs real? At this point a brainwave came to me. Gran Turismo 5 was a completely unnecessary game. As was 4.
They could’ve never been released and my experiences with the racing mammoth that is Gran Turismo would still be the same because when we look at it they are exactly the same game, identical twins but even more identical. The graphics have barely changed despite 11 years of progress in the field. It may not have online but face it; GT5′s multiplayer was hardly a work of art. The number of vehicles has not increased by that much. The customisation options are vaguely the same. The 1000 cars in GT5 may dwarf the modest in comparison 179 in GT3 but most of the automobiles in the mort recent iteration aren’t desirable to drive and are just standard cars like we have seen in GT3, not the ‘premium’ that we hear so much about yet see so little in GT5 and is just a fancy way of covering up the fact that they didn’t finish the game before they shipped it out. I was shocked at a few of the inclusions in the title such as B-Spec. Who even wanted to play that anyway?
Some things didn’t just stay the same but deteriorated with age, much like an unloved car. The music from GT3 is superb, Feeder remain ingrained in my memory thanks to far too many hours ‘wasted’ on Super Speedway and the pursuit of racing perfection. There is only one song in GT5 that even comes close and even that is a sullied consolation as it is a mainstream song that will be remembered for its role in the series by too few. The tracks, an essential part to any racing game were better in GT3, offering tighter packed racing with more scenic views that stunned me for years to come. If I have one thing I want you to take away from this article it’s that you shouldn’t waste time on the shiny new toy for the sake of wasting time on the shiny new toy. Just because it’s so shiny and new doesn’t mean that it’s superior to the battle-hardened veteran of a toy that you have spent time with in the past. So get your PS2 out (I know you had one, we all did), pop this game in and just drive for an hour. Drive and think. Eventually your thumb may be sore from jamming down X and you may not be engaged as other games make you but you will enjoy it and you will be spat out a better gamer the other side for it. You will remember why you like game-producing companies for shipping such a complete game, you will remember why you like simulators for giving you such control and customization and you will remember why you like racing games, for giving you the ride of your life. Happy driving.