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Gran Turismo 5 E3 2010 Preview

by Garnett Lee, Jun 24, 2010 11:50am PDT

QUICKTAKE: It's finally dated for November of this year and faces nearly insurmountable expectations built up over the years spent in development but boy does it look good.

Years of waiting will come to a close when Gran Turismo 5 hits PlayStation 3 on November 2. Before offering a guided tour of the E3 demo, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi readily admitted they'd taken an extreme approach to the fidelity of the game. While showing off images comparing minute details in production cars to their in-game models he went as far as to say, "we've gone too far in modeling some of this detail...[it's] more suited for the next generation of the PlayStation."

This impressive display also came with a somewhat disappointing revelation as well. Only some 200 of the 1000-plus cars in the game will be of the so-called "premium" class that lives up to this standard of detailing. The other 800 plus cars fall into the "standard" category described as old favorites from the series brought up to the level needed for high definition display. One of the biggest differences is the intricately detailed full interiors of premium cars that go beyond the steering wheel and dashboard of standards. Premiums also get fully detailed undercarriages, something you'll be able see should you roll one over--as you now can. The extra detail also figures into the damage system where body panels of premium cars can become mangled and even ripped from the car.

As shown earlier, Gran Turismo 5 supports stereoscopic 3D visuals--at E3 I got to play the game not only in 3D, but with head tracking that adjusted the view to where I looked. Sitting down in a nice cockpit setup, I noticed a PlayStation Eye camera perched on the steering wheel. Without needing any special adjustments it was able to sense when I turned my head left or right. The inside-the-car view, combined with 3D and head-tracking, had a dramatic effect. I was able to get a better sense of how the car lined up through corners and comfortably look a little around the bend to line up exit points. Driving a Subaru on the gravel Toscana track really brought it out as I got a nice seat-of-the-pants feel for angling the car as it drifted around the corner.

For those of us who won't be playing in 3D with head-tracking, Gran Turismo 5 adds plenty more to the game. There's a beautiful day and night cycle and when the sun goes down you can even chose between regular and high-beam headlights in the premium cars. And it's not all just visual upgrades. GT5 brings the world of NASCAR into the fold complete with its technical rules such as how full-course cautions work. The thought of how much work has gone into creating this game is truly staggering and we should get a chance to see the cumulative result of that effort at the end of summer. Yamauchi said the team hopes to have a version of the full game read to show at GamesCom.

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