In 1998 Polyphony Digital released the first game in a series of games spanning more than a decade. This game series was dubbed “The Real Driving Simulator”. Each installment providing the most realistic and authentic driving experience possible at the time. Pushing the limits of their respective platforms, these games have set the bar for driving games time and time again. Let us take a look back at the humble beginnings and the evolution of Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator.
Gran Turismo – PS1 – 1998
The original Gran Turismo made a big impression in 1998 having both an arcade mode for casual players, and a meatier, much more substantial simulation mode for hardcore racers. It sported life-like cars, authentic engine sounds, and for the true gear-head, fully customizable tuning options. The controls were a bit touchy and the soundtrack a little grating, but it still proved to be the best driving experience the ps1 had to offer.
-around 150 vehicles
-11 tracks (22 counting reverse)
-new and used cars from more than half a dozen manufacturers
-car trading via memory card
-tuning setup saving ability
Gran Turismo 2 – PS1 – 1999
Gran Turismo 2 seemed more of an expansion of it’s predecessor, but in this case that’s a good thing. While only marginally improving graphically, GT2 greatly expanded in sheer content. It being so overstuffed with new features, cars, and tracks, arcade mode was forced onto a separate disc! Control remained basically unchanged, but the soundtrack improved. The grating synthesized music of the first GT was replaced with more mainstream rock and the now signature relaxed lounge tunes played during menus.
-slight improvement in graphics/control
-400+ cars from almost 50 manufacturers
-almost 30 tracks (not counting reverses)
-demonstrations in license tests
-rally racing and a night track
Gran Turismo 3 – PS2 – 2001
Gran Turismo 3 was a definite turning point in the series. Taking the ps2 nearly to it’s limits, it featured the most realistically detailed automobiles ever seen in a videogame. Controls were as smooth as ever with the advent of pressure-sensitive controllers. While only having about a third of the cars of GT2, it more than made up for it with superb presentation, elevating the genre higher than any other game before it.
-greatly improved next gen graphics
-pressure-sensitive controls, ensuring smooth handling and accelerator input
-10 multi-hour endurance courses
-adding to the realism, cars now need oil changes
-saving allowed during long championship series
Gran Turismo 4 – PS2 – 2005
Much like GT2 was a vast expansion of GT1, GT4 takes what made GT3 great and quadruples it. Bursting with content, GT4 was an overwhelming venture taking months to complete. Having a save file of GT3 garnered 100,000 bonus credits and the instant passage of the A and B license tests (if they had indeed been completed in GT3), making things a little easier at the outset. B-spec mode, sold separately for GT3, was included in GT4. Training an AI driver and having it earn money and prize cars to be used in A-spec mode added an interesting dimension to GT4. GT4 also had the most extensive list of attainable cars ever to be seen in a racing game, ranging from road-ready to exotic to downright bizarre.New Features-
-AI-controlled B-spec mode with time progression to speed up lengthy races
-visible pit crew
-wings/spoilers added in car customization
-photo travel mode to take pictures of memorable moments
-nitrous oxide boost purchasable
-light signs of wear now visible on car exterior
-user-friendly garage with sorting by make/model/drivetrain
-grueling new 24 hour race
-about 50 tracks
-more than 700 cars from 80 manufacturers
-historic and imaginative cars such as the steam-powered sleigh and the futuristic Nike one
*The anticipation for Gran Turismo 5 was so great, and the wait so long, that 2 GT games were released to occupy fans until it’s release. A psp game simply titled “Gran Turismo” was released in 2009 featuring arcade mode only. It still boasted 800 cars, 35 tracks, and the superb graphics you’ve come to expect. The other game released, GT Prologue was basically a glorified demo of GT5. Instead of covering Prologue, let’s move on to the genuine article…
Gran Turismo 5 – PS3 – 2010
Only Excellence can describe the long-awaited Gran Turismo 5. Being the first GT to be presented in HD and 3D, GT5 is visually in a league of it’s own. High end multi-screen setups (in combination with the playstation camera) can give the illusion of actually driving within one of the 200 or so cars featuring the in-car viewpoint. GT5 also goes online as well with open lobbies to join, private sessions between friends, and messaging or voice chat to communicate with. It also offers car trading, photo sharing, and the ability to train your and friends’ B-spec drivers together online, netting everyone involved experience and bonus credits. The cars look more realistic than ever. Some of them are meticulously detailed inside as well as out. Having over 2,000 vehicles and 71 tracks (including randomly generated courses), Gran Turismo 5 is easily the largest and most ambitious GT game ever.
-HD and 3D presentation
-online play with text and voice chat
-in-car camera view on select models
-over 1,000 vehicles
-online seasonal events posted regularly, promoting continued play even after game completion
-all-new paint shop for changing body and wheel color on select models
-online car trading/sharing
-71 tracks from 26 locations including randomly generated courses
GT5 remains somewhat unfinished. With new features regularly being implemented via update, GT5 will continue to be a work in progress for an indeterminable amount of time. GT6 won’t be available for many years, but it will most certainly appear on the PS4. After having seen what GT5 is capable of, there is little doubt that the next installment in “The Real Driving Simulator” series will get us that much closer to reality.
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