Let me start by pointing out a few things:
- I’ve been playing Forza since 2.0 (and LOVE 3.0)
- I have the Microsoft wheel with a stand system to hold it solid
- I’ve never owned a PS3 so I got it, GT5, and the Logitech Driving Force wheel (about $525 total)
- I’ve never played any Gran Turismo game before
As I’ve been following the hype behind this game for a very long time I was really looking forward to its release. I picked it up on release day and have played it quite a bit since. If I had to use one word to describe it that word would be disappointing. While there are some great things about the simulation part of the game overall it’s a jumbled mess. More importantly I can’t possibly understand how it was delayed so many times yet still has so many glaring omissions and problems.
The actual driving/physics engine in the game is fantastic. The level of realism is completely over the top, the graphics are just mind blowing. It is stunning to look at and stunning to drive. Being able to adjust the traction control in real time during a race is fantastic. The cars handle very realistically and the tracks are modeled fantastically. it’s clear they spent all the time on the physics of the simulator.
Ok, here’s where the laundry list gets rather long. What I did for this was break out my complaints into the sections of the game from things about the cars, to the menus, to the actual in-game experience.
Tuning / Upgrades / Cars
When tuning a car you can’t upgrade the brakes or sway bars. These are two of the most common upgrades that are made to cars, for GT5 to leave them off is almost unbelieable.
When upgrading you get no before/after of the upgrade so you have no real, concrete idea of what you’re getting for your upgrade. No before/after HP numbers, weight, etc. Just here you go.
You can’t upgrade a car from the tuning page. This really has more to do with the horrible menu system as nothing is linked together. So if you begin a race or tuning session and realize you need better tires you have to go through menu after menu to get there.
you can only buy one car at a time, as once you buy a car you are retuend to the home page so if you want another car yo have to go back into the horribly slow menus once again.
There is no PI or comparable for cars so you have no idea how fast/rank they are. This is probably the worst thing around the actual cars. As you have no idea how two cars compare you have no good idea of what you should be driving. This means you wind up with either the fastest or slowest car on the track, in most cases by a lot.
Menus / Look / Flow
The GT page layout is a HORRIBLE, jumbled mess. I can’t believe this is what they settled on as nothing is laid out in a simple or logical manner. Things are just slapped about in a randon way, with random sizes that don’t appear to be sized based on their importance.
every option is a maze of choices that always dead ends. You constantly go down one path only to have to back out to the top to go down another path. When finishing races you can’t simply proceed from race to race, you must back out and go into the new race from the beginning.
you spend tons of time in the menus, more than 30% of your time is navigating the terrible menu system. Constantly loaading, saving, saving, loading. Then you find you went down a dead end path and have to back out to the top to try again.
menus are all VERY slow. No, I mean slooooo.
when you go to the garage in game (before a race) you see nothing other than valid cars for this race as it hides all other cars. So you have no clue what you really have/had and can’t have your memory jogged. I keep thinking “I know I have X” and while I do there is one thing wrong with it. Well just show me them all but only let me pick the valid ones.
race load screen is terrible, how about some useful information there about the track. You get a black screen with the name of the track and a listing of the other cars that will be racing with you. You get nothing useful like the length of the track, number of laps, map, etc. You finally get this information on the race start screen, a scree you don’t want to read because you finally get to start racing.
When you begin a race as long as the car you are in qualifies it will let you run, with no warning if you have either a very underpowered or underclassed car or one that is way too fast. By the time you find out, stop, back out, get a new car, only to find you don’t have a good one, then go to buy one, stuggle with that, finally get a car, come back, then realize you don’t have dirt tires. Then you go back to the top, go get tires, go back to the top then you can’t remember where you wanted to go in the first place because there is no progression mode. So you search and search until you finally find where you are then you get to race. 22 minutes later…
Most of the time you get a screen where you have to click “X” but nothing tells you that so you sit like a moron. But on some screens you do get a notification to press something. The end of race screen for example just shows you a table, no indication that you can press anything to continue.
some races progress you from track to track, most are you go in, race once, come back out, then back in to race again. So again you waste tons of time navigating around to find the next race.
most important menu choices do NOT have a “are you sure” prompt. So you accidentally click Exit when you’re in a race. No “hey, that takes forever if you’re wrong, are you sure?”. Nope, it just does it. While I can see the logic in that (you said to do it!) in this case it should prompt you if what you’re about to do will take quite some time.
it is constantly saving saving saving. When it’s not saving it’s loading so it can save something.
can’t play the truck challenge as I can’t buy one anywhere? There are several examples of this but you are constantly given options to race that you can’t get the right vehicle for. I can see no where to buy a truck so I can’t play this challenge.
The in-game timing system is really bad as it’s really hard to understand your split times, how far behind or ahead you are, etc. You can see your previous lap times with your best highlighted but that’s about it.
The “end of race” screens are boring as hell. You get the total times for all racers and that’s it (no fastest lap).
No damage? no engine over-reving? Tire simulation? Are you kidding me? I can slam into someone a full speed and just bounce off them and through the corner. There are a few challenges where if you hit someone you are disqualified but 90% of the time it’s totally fine. Drive through the dirt at full speed – fine, no issues.
pressing the “PS” button doesn’t pause the game? I have the Logitec Driving Force wheel and if I bump the PS (Playstatoin) button the menus come up but I keep racing, unable to control it. I have lost a few races thanks to this mistake.
When you need reverse, at least on the wheel, you have to hold a specifc button. This becomes very hard to do when you have to steer while holding a button on the wheel you are turning. Doing this quickly (we are racing right?) is very difficult and frustrating. Why can’t I just shift into reverse and leave it there?
I’m really bad with braking in games where I can’t feel the speed so I use the braking line for corners only. As GT5 only lets you have it on or off I run with it on all the time just so I can see the speed in the corners. This sucks as it’s annoying most of the time.
The lines on the the tiny map of the track that you see on screen are so small you can’t see where the split markers or start/finish line so you really can’t tell where on the track you are.
There are a few starts where there are flags blowing in the breeze, which look great. But if you look down at the reflections on the track they are unbelievably bad. Like 8bit Nintendo graphic bad. Huge bug that was missed.
When you drive in rally/dirt/sno mode the small version of the track is put right in front of you like a heads up display. While this is helpful some of the time so you know what’s coming if it’s hard to see (evening/night/snow) it blocks your view of the horizion as it’s right in your line of sight. Most of the time it’s really annoying.