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Video Game of the Week – Gran Turismo 5

There are very few video game franchises that attract the kind of excitement among their supporters that Gran Turismo generates. The first game in the classic racing simulation series appeared in 1997 and since then the franchise has generated sales in excess of 50 million units.

Gran Turismo devotees have waited a long time for Gran Turismo 5. In fact, this is the first GT game developed for the PlayStation 3, which came out in 2006. However, fans will not be disappointed. GT5 sticks faithfully to the winning formula of earlier versions, while adding numerous twists that make it feel new.

There are over 1,000 vehicles to choose from in GT5, although the gorgeous 170 Premium models are only available once you prove your worth in the less exacting Standard models. The 26 different locations feature over 70 different tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona, and imaginative street circuits in Rome and Madrid.

Unlike earlier versions, GT5 offers large amounts of help and guidance for beginners. However, despite the numerous driving aids – traction control, a driving line, skid recovery – GT5 is quick to punish you if you do something wrong. In spite of this – or because of it – there is real satisfaction in earning experience points and the right to move on to the more powerful cars.

The various game modes include Arcade for single race functionality and 2-player battles; and GT Mode, which includes My Garage, Tuning Shop, License Test, and the Race Championship Series. The many unlockable special events include karting, NASCAR challenges, rallying, and wet weather time trials.

The robust online options support up to 16 players racing simultaneously. The host of each online session can determine which cars are eligible to race and whether or not driving aids are permitted. There are also some very neat tricks for keeping everyone in line and making sure the racing is clean.

When you’re not behind the wheel it’s fun to check out the used car lot and look for forgotten gems. The huge roster of cars includes virtually any vehicle you can think of, although whether you would take some of them anywhere near a race track is another matter.

Despite the variety of vehicles and circuits – and the obsessive attention to detail when it comes to the Premium cars – Gran Turismo 5 is first and foremost a racing game. Whether you end up in a Ferrari or a Fiat Punto, you better have your game face on!

Gran Turismo 5 is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB. Check out the ESRB video game ratings and content descriptors at ESRB.org

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3
Genre: Racing simulation
RRP: $59.99
Release Date: November 24, 2010
ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

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