As I was driving back home on 495 today, I fell into a traffic jam caused by a car on fire.. several miles later, as I drove along, I came upon a second car on fire! (seriously!) I should have realized that Gran Turismo 5 had finally been released today...
I was very pleased to find it waiting for me in front of my door (preordering is nice). I slipped it into the PS3, and... the first thing it did was to ask me to download the update to Gran Turismo 5 version 1.01... Seriously, guys? On release date there is already an update? After 6 years of development?
Anyway, after a whole hour of installing, the pretty nice introduction started playing, after which I was finally able to buy a used Miata and play my first races.. And my second "what the hell" moment: The 3D model of the Miata sucks! The Miata is not one of the premium cars, and as a result, I can notice pretty crude polygons. Even worse, there are shadow map artifacts what make the car cast a shadow with disturbingly jagged edges onto the track. Well, I'm sorry, I've written code for shadow maps and I don't believe it would have been so hard to fix this artifact (unless the PS3 is such a terrible machine after all). It's also hard to understand why there seem to be different shadow rendering paths for the premium and the "standard" cars. The first car I won, the Toyota Vitz (aka Yaris) is an equally terribly modeled car (eg the rims seem to be just painted on a texture). I feel that it might have looked better in Gran Turismo 4.
I know that the premium cars have much better models, and they do look excellent, and I know that there are almost 1000 cars in the game (actually more like 200 when you remove the duplicates). But they had 6 years to develop this thing. I bought my PS3 3 years ago
assuming that pretty soon I would be playing it. And, after waiting for all this time, listening to my beard grow, patiently dusting the PS3 off and regularly removing the spider webs from the cables and gamepads, I expected to find a game that was polished and, if not perfect, near-perfect.
To be honest, the most important part of the game, the driving model, is greatly improved (over both GT4, GT5 Prologue, or the GT5 demo that came out some time ago). The cars finally feel like real cars (in GT4 it was like a magic force was keeping things in order, even with all the assists off). I smiled wide when I drove a kart - it's so much like the real thing, even the bumpiness of the ride was there (and this kart will not give me bruises like the real ones). But the imaginary tracks are totally uninspired, and the computer opponents ridiculously slow and probably drunk, just like GT4. I'm sure I'll drive it as much as I did with GT4 and GT5Prologue, but... right now I feel like ranting about how they made the fans wait for so many years for something which is just "good".