As we walked into the Tokyo Motor Show today the first thing that we hit was the Gran Turismo 5 stand. Although the game won’t be out until March 2010, they had a raft of virtual cockpit simulators ready and waiting for journalists who think they are Kimi Raikkonen but are actually crap at driving.
I bit and was sitting comfortably behind the wheel ready and waiting for my first go on the full version of Gran Turismo 5 before most journalists had made it through the Motor Show doors. There may have been a bit of elbow barging action in my entry but we won’t go into specifics. If the journalist from Argentina who I face planted into the floor while trying to get through the door is reading this, get well soon! The hospital will do a great job with your nose reconstruction, I’m sure of it.
Anyway, Gran Turismo 5. I will lay my bias on the line now as a GT5 Prologue addict. The full version is certainly different to Prologue yet retains the same heart. The handling has been tweaked, it’s easier to step out of line, the AI is a lot more brutal and there are a hell of a lot more cars and tracks available. Not to mention tuning options (I think, it was all in Japanese so I struggled a bit to figure it all out).
The only track they were allowing us to try was the Tokyo circuit that ran through the city. I tried it first with a Mazda 3 and found the graphics, handling and sound to be similar to Prologue but at the same time a certain improvement. If you’re looking for Need for Speed Shift style motion though you’re not going to get it. That’s fine by me and anyone else who suffers from motion sickness.
Second time around the staff at the stand obviously saw that I was a competent driver and probably realised that I indeed was Toyota’s first choice to replace Timo Glock at Toyota F1 for last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Of course, in the end I didn’t get that seat, it went to Kamui Kobayashi, but I forgave and forgot. The WRC Ford Focus was the next car at my disposal anyway so it was time to forget the F1 dream and go off road.
I certainly went off road and learnt the definition of oversteer during that run. Three spins and two crashes later (yes, damage is finally here and awesome) I decided to give up. Either that or one of the attendants pulled me out of my seat because I was making too much of a virtual mess on the track. Either way.
Long story short, which is ironic because this is a long story not a short one — Gran Turismo 5 is a must have for car fanatics. It also features the Toyota FT-82 that they unveiled today.
Damian Francis is the editor-at-large for Australian T3 and contributing technology editor for GQ Australia. He is in Japan as a guest of Toyota Australia and sometimes makes stuff up about becoming a Formula 1 driver. He also exaggerates his driving skill, but don't tell anyone.