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Gran Turismo HD for PS3 Impressions 257

Posted by timothy
from the upshots-are-handy dept.
fistfullast33l writes "On Christmas Eve, Sony released the Gran Turismo HD demo to the U.S. and Japan Playstation 3s. The downloadable demo is about 650mb in size and I let it download while I was at church for Christmas. The following are my own impressions.

Visually, the game is by far one of the best for the PS3. The graphics really are top notch including some extremely visually impressive effects like the sky reflecting off the roof of your car. The crowds are a little static, but look alive enough to be believable. There are no weather effects, but the shine of the sun off the road is realistic as well. All in all, this is arguably the pinnacle of graphics on the console at this moment, and it sets the standard pretty high."
Read on for the rest of this concise review -- and chime in below with comments on any other games of this season that you'd like to praise or pan.
"The game is integrated right into the Playstation network, but sadly does not allow you to race against other drivers. Instead, you are limited to time and draft attack trials. However, the gameplay will keep you busy. You are allowed to save your replays and upload your times to the network, but only the top 10 or so are viewable from the track portion of the game. On the main menu there is an option to view where you rank per car. Not surprisingly, the U.S. version definitely had some large gaps between times as of December 25th so if you're really competitive there are some great opportunities to make a name for yourself. I think I was ranked as low as 4000 on some of the tracks as I was just trying to unlock the cars, so there are a lot of competitors out there.

There are 10 cars in all. The IGN article above links to the list if you're interested. You start with the Suzuki Cappuccino and work your way up by beating goal times for each car on the given track. There is only one track, but it's challenging enough that it might take you a few tries initially to beat the times. IGN says it took them about half an hour to unlock the cars, but I turned off a lot of the driving aids such as stability control and automatic shifting so it took me closer to a few hours. Plus, I'm a horrible driver.

From a control standpoint, the game is pretty standard in that you use the buttons to accelerate and brake and the L1 and R1 buttons to shift. The left analog allows you to steer. Contrast this with the F1 Championship Edition demo which uses the Left analog to steer and the Right analog to accelerate and decelerate. I actually prefer the F1 method better as it gives you a little more control over the pace of acceleration, similar to a gas pedal in a real car.

Overall, the game is a lot of fun when you've played out the launch titles and want something that you can show off to your friends. It might not be the most exciting title but it's definitely a challenge for casual gamers and experts alike, and the ability to record your times online adds a bit of fun to the title. Hopefully it will satiate those who need a GT5 fix and there is a rumor that more content will be released later on.

As a side note, my parents wanted to try out the PS3 so I let them play the F1 Championship Edition, Motorstorm, and GT HD demos, and they preferred F1 because it was easier to drive. GT was second hardest and Motorstorm totally confused them as the tracks aren't well defined."

Thanks to fistfullast33l for this review.
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Gran Turismo HD for PS3 Impressions

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  • On control schemes (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:16PM (#17369628) Homepage Journal
    From a control standpoint, the game is pretty standard in that you use the buttons to accelerate and brake and the L1 and R1 buttons to shift. The left analog allows you to steer. Contrast this with the F1 Championship Edition demo which uses the Left analog to steer and the Right analog to accelerate and decelerate. I actually prefer the F1 method better as it gives you a little more control over the pace of acceleration, similar to a gas pedal in a real car.

    The reason the default changed, which IIRC happened with Gran Turismo 3, is that having accel and brake at opposite ends of an axis precludes heel-toe braking, which is a necessary technique out in the real world, and thus useful to get the best possible times in gran turismo.

    I can't heel-toe in the real world (feet too big, legs too long) and I can't drive worth a fuck in computer racing games (no buttometer makes it much harder - I need the ass dyno for assistance) so I've never employed it myself. I find that preloading is usually enough. But it does make sense.

    • by MoriaOrc (822758)
      With respect to the submitter's complaint about "precise control," I was under the impression that the PS3 controllers had replaced the bottom two shoulder buttons with some sort of analog "trigger" instead of just a button. The triggers on the XBox controller work great for gas and break because they have a long enough range from "fully pressed" to "not pressed" that you have fairly precise control over how much gas/break to give the car. I'd assume (if I heard correctly about the controller) that someth
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bastian (66383)
      Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought heel-toe braking was a technique for downshifting while braking where you brake with your heel, take the car out gear, tap the gas a little bit (while braking) to get the engine speed matched with the wheel speed, and downshift. (It allows a smooth downshift so drivers can keep better control of the car.) Given that Gran Turismo doesn't do anything like simulating a clutch pedal, how could it possibly give you a way to do heel-toe braking in the game?

      My gues
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought heel-toe braking was a technique for downshifting while braking where you brake with your heel, take the car out gear, tap the gas a little bit (while braking) to get the engine speed matched with the wheel speed, and downshift.

        You just described heel-toe shifting. You can match RPMs without heel-toe, I do it all the time. Or at least I did when I had a car with a stick; right now I'm driving an auto (yecch.) Heel-toe braking is where you brake into the tu

        • by Criterion (51515)
          Bzzzzzt. Sorry, try again. Where in the world did you hear that load of hogwash? Heel/toe, by whatever other name you want to call it, is, and always has been, a process of downshifting. What you describe is a form of suspension control, a commonly used technique for weight shifting. One might wonder how long you have been driving to think it is something new and "superior".. much less think it is what is universally known as heel/toe (driving, shifting, braking.. it's all the same thing).
        • by Bastian (66383)
          I'm thinking what you're talking about is a misnomer. There's left-foot braking, where you use your left foot to work the brake and your right foot to work the gas. This is a fairly common thing in racing, for the reasons you mentioned. I can't really imagine many people, even seasoned drivers, are good enough to manipulate the full range of the brake and gas pedal consistently (and safeily) with one foot while going around a turn. (This isn't really an issue with heel-toe because you're really just givi
      • by Criterion (51515)
        Please don't tell me you brake with your *heel*. >

        Just in case you are serious.. before you break your ankle.. you are supposed to brake with your toes, and have your heel on the gas.
        • Bullshit. I spend about 60 days a year on-track and I guarantee you that everyone has a slightly different position. Some guys point their feet one way, and some guys the other. Some people I know use the edges of their foot on both pedals. I use my heel on the brake and the outer edge of my foot on the gas. Has a lot to do with pedal placement in your vehicle of choice, too -- the position you describe was more comfortable for me in the Rustang-based Panoz GTR-A's that I learned in quite a few years back.

          W
          • by Criterion (51515)
            Indeed using the ball and side of your foot is a common way to do it, but I was taught from an early age (started driving at 12.. egads.. driving for 30 years now) to always use the upper part of your foot for braking as you have more control over modulation that way.. not to mention I've been in many cars, but none with the pedal placement to allow reaching the gas while your heel is on the brake. I've only run 4 cars on track, so you've seen many more setups than I, but I've never known anybody that said
            • It's a lot easier to understand when you're talking about cars with adjustments for each pedal. Also a lot of it depends on where the gas pedal actually moves -- most gas pedals sort of rotate quite a lot around the linkage that actually moves. On quite a few cars the position of the linkage just happens to be better-suited to being depressed by the upper portion of the foot.

              As I said, it really tends to be a combination of the vehicle and personal preference. I mostly run a Viper, and my three closest Vipe
    • by ReKleSS (749007)
      I was kind of annoyed when I found that GT4 didn't allow me to configure the right analog for throttle... but then I found out that was the default setting and couldn't be changed anyway. GT HD might well be the same... anyone want to find out?

      Also, it would be nice to know if my Driving Force will still work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Criterion (51515)
      I'm just guessing that you are completely unaware that heel/toe driving is only necessary if one also actually has a clutch? By asserting that heel/toe is useful in GT would then by default assert that you have a clutch in GT which you do not. Therefore I can conclude that you are, indeed, talking about something which you do not understand.
      • It's a pretty poor "simulator" that doesn't have a clutch, eh?

        I sure hope Simbin's GTR retains the full simulation mode for the Xbox 360 that is available in the PC version...
        • by Criterion (51515)
          Hmmm.. one would think so, but how many others do simulate clutch usage? I know SRS has a clutch button, but I think it's more for popping into a drift than actually being used as a clutch.. and I also would not consider labeling it a simulator as it's a rather average arcade racer.

          I can state that I would take PGR or Forza (or TOCA, Collin McRae, Rallisport, SegaGT etc) over GT any day (and do hehe).
          • I used to rate PGR over GT until I put force-feedback wheels on GT. PGR can't touch it. But Forza is generally better all-around, even if the original Xbox lacked FF wheels. I have high hopes for Forza 2 even though I'm not too terribly impressed with the 360's FF wheel (rather weak force level, otherwise it's ok).

            Simbin is the real-deal though. On the PC side the game outputs performance data which can actually be run through the real-world Motec analysis software -- that's saying quite a lot in terms of s
    • by smash (1351)
      Heel+toe is not used in the GT series yet.

      However, being able to apply the brakes AND accelerator at the same time is good for burnouts, which can be done in GT4 :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:17PM (#17369634)
    You must be a Unitarian. Fucking Catholics have no wireless access and the powerstrip situation is abysmal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:18PM (#17369644)

    "On Christmas Eve, Sony released the Gran Turismo HD demo to the U.S. and Japan Playstation 3s. [...] I let it download while I was at church for Christmas.
    And there you have it - we have a new & improved Santa Claus. It is called the Internet, and it encourages you to go to church.

  • I wonder what a car crash looks like in HD? Guess we'll still be waiting to find out! And isn't it funny that there isn't any weather effects. Any console can make pretty, but static environments. Let me know when "fake" backgrounds become something more than a pretty painting that you get to look at.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by KingNaught (718536)
      No crash effects in this game, I rammed my car into a railing at top speed and it just came to a stop.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by donaldm (919619)
        GT games have never shown crash damage.

        Whenever I purchased a racing game for my kids I always made sure the game showed crash damage otherwise my kids and their friends would not play it. Still they mainly played racing games just to crash the cars so games like Twisted Metal and Destruction Derby (there are many others) where the most popular. I do have friends who rave about GT but they are not interested in crashing the car so crash damage is not important and in many ways it would detract from the game
    • by Bobzibub (20561)
      no car crashes... You just bump into a static fence.
      But I really really suck at driving. Especially with the traction control and the stability control off.

      Nobody lend me your car! = )
    • by oGMo (379)

      You're whining there aren't weather effects in a 10-car, 2-track demo game? And that the ... backgrounds are fake? You should be asking about how the cars handle, how good the physics are, and similar. Gran Turismo leans far more toward simulation racing.

      If you want spectacular HD wrecks and destructible tracks and all that, get Full Auto 2... it's got all that and more.

      • Last time I watched a race any car that bumped into the wall or another car didn't win the race... in every GT game it has never been about sim racing unless you put it on time trials. It is a joke of a racing game and the only thing it has ever gotten right was it's licensing deal to include real car brands. Let me know when I don't just pick the fastest car and bounce off the AI drivers and fake walls to get around every corner.
  • by RiotXIX (230569) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:25PM (#17369712) Journal
    Are there any plans to release this for other hardware and OSs? Speaking as an Amiga OS 4 user it's one of my concerns.
  • The whole piece reads like one of those shill adverts you get from some marketing drone.

    The OP doesn't work for Zipatoni by any chance?
    • Did you get the US Army advertisement when you clicked for videos?

      What a nice touch of Christmas there. "Son, you've changed." Well, yah, having one's left leg blown off by an IED can do that to a person.
  • Visually, the game is by far one of the best for the PS3.

    No. It's either "one of the best", or it's "by far the best", it can't be both. Make up your mind and get back to us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:40PM (#17369846)
    some extremely visually impressive effects like the sky reflecting off the roof of your car.

    Haha, well I guess we shouldn't mention that the sky has been reflecting off cars' roofs ever since Gran Turismo on the PSX? Ahh, hype, gotta love it.
    • by Surt (22457) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @05:49PM (#17370492) Homepage Journal
      But cmon, this is an HD sky reflecting off an HD roof!
    • by ozbird (127571)
      Haha, well I guess we shouldn't mention that the sky has been reflecting off cars' roofs ever since Gran Turismo on the PSX?

      I wouldn't know - like in the real world, I prefer to drive from the driver's seat (1st person), not hanging off an invisible trailer towed behind the car.
      Like another poster mentioned, the lack of G-force feedback on your body takes away some of the driving experience, but you can compensate a little by leaning into corners...
    • by syle (638903)
      He didn't say it's new, he said it's impressive.
    • by JFMulder (59706)
      Sony exec was quoted saying :
      The sky doesn't reflect on a car roof until we say it does!
  • Same ol' GT (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nfinit (1041584) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:41PM (#17369860)
    I love GT, GT4 is the reason I finally broke down and picked up a Slimline PS2, but until a working car damage system is implemented-- something Sega GT on the Dreamcast holds to this day over the Gran Turismo games-- it's really hard to take GT HD seriously anymore. And that's not even getting into other advancements made such as driving lines, more than six cars on the track and working driver AI.
    • Re:Same ol' GT (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Criterion (51515) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @08:06PM (#17371914)
      There will be no damage system in GT until the car manufacturers allow their cars to be shown all broke'd up.
  • Impressions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oGMo (379) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @04:41PM (#17369868)

    A few impressions ... GT:HD is decent, but I don't know if I'd call it the best-looking game the PS3 has to offer, but I can't comment too much on this as I'm still sadly playing in standard def. However, people previously commenting on how this was a high-res GT4 need to take a closer look. Any criticism directed toward it is rather silly, though; it's free, it's fun, and it looks good. You may want more, but come on, it's free.

    That said, Resistance has been my main focus. I don't even like first-person shooters, normally. The polygon count is nice, but since I'm playing this in SD it's not really of primary concern; a really solid Insomniac shooter is. If you've ever played Ratchet and Clank, you know how Insomniac can put together a level and pace things: though far different than R&C, their style and skill is very evident. They toss lots of things to shoot at you, and give you lots of stuff to shoot with, which are the two fundamental things a shooter needs; they did this in R&C, and they did it again in Resistance. It's not some fundamentally different, revolutionary game; but it is a very fun FPS that has kept even me, who gets bored after minutes of play with other FPS's, interested enough to keep playing. I guess it gets a lot of the little things right.

    The other game I have at the moment is Full Auto 2. This is a blast, too, pun not entirely unintended. To summarize, the game is basically the bastard child of Need for Speed and Twisted Metal. The races can feel intensely fast-paced, and the battle arenas play out much the same way as TM. The story is ignorable; I have. The one noticeable annoyance is what seems to be stuttery audio/video ... but strangely, this only occurs during menu sequences and cutscenes. If it's an intentional effect, it's not a good one. Fortunately it's not a nuisance when you actually play the game.

  • The launch PS3 titles are comparable with the Xbox 360 launch titles, but cannot touch recent releases such as Gears of War/NFSC. How does this game stack up?
  • The crowds are a little static, but look alive enough to be believable

    What's with that? Last time I watched a race, they had this gorilla throwing barrels down a series of ramps, and all the fans had to climb ladders or jump over the barrels on the ramps. When a fan reached the top, the ramps rearranged themselves, and it all started over again. What's with these lasy fans nowadays?
  • You know, it looks fine in 320x240 trailers, but in HD screenshots you can see it looks like any other game.

    It's not good enough for me you guys! I don't wanna see stretched textures and low-polygon models anymore! I mean, it's next gen!

    COME ON! And on top of that half the scenery is precomputed and static. For example, going into a tunnel of course drops shadows on your car since otherwise it'd be too jarring. But when outside and crossing the shadow of a tree on the street, the shadow magically remains be
  • The history behind this game was that it was more or less Gran Turismo 4 on the PS3. Of course it was drawn out trying to figure out what else they could do with GT4 plus some more bells and whistles when someone realized that this was a dumb idea. Instead of putting more time into this game which would just be recycling, they stopped work on the game at this demo level and proceeded forward on a completely redesigned stuff that will be Gran Turismo 5.

    The subtext in all of this is that "concepts" like thi
  • ...Contrast this with the F1 Championship Edition demo which uses the Left analog to steer and the Right analog to accelerate and decelerate.
    In GTHD, you can also use the right analog to accelerate and decelerate in addition to being able to use the buttons.
  • by MrJynxx (902913) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @11:45PM (#17373416)
    I own both the 360/ps3 (and the wii, I know, stupid :)

    I had an older style hdtv I picked up about 4 years ago. So I got the ps3 a few weeks back, hooked it up and was really not impressed with the ps3(no upscaling which really screwed me). Then gran turismo came out, i downloaded it, again. Bleh, not impressed at all.

    So, today I decided to pick the Sony SXRD 50" LCD Projection TV, and after hours of dealing with boxing day lines I finally got it home, unpacked and set up (many hours later).

    All I have to say is WOW! Gran Turismo looks amazing, I can really tell the difference now. At first I thought PGR3 looked better but now it's a totally different story. And when it comes to 1080p at first I was not a believer, but from what I've seen so far that's changed significantly. Damn, it's been mind boggling, hell even Rainbow 6 for the 360 looks way better.

    So that got me thinking, the ps3 isn't so bad if you have a new tv, it's only bad when you have older style tv's(dont' like that personally) but now I'm not so pissed at the ps3(I like the 360 controller better though :)

    And Gran Turismo is free and it does have a few things to do even if it's the same track over and over again..

    MrJynx
  • by h3 (27424) on Tuesday December 26, 2006 @11:47PM (#17373424) Homepage Journal
    Coincidentally, I'm in the midst of playing GT4 right now on the PS2. I'm trying to complete the 24hr Nurburgring event and for those of you not familiar with the series, this really means 24 hours. You can't save and come back to it later. You *can* pause the game, so it's not like you have to sit there for 24 hours, but still. My PS2 has been on for 3 days straight and I'm only 12:32:28:250 in.

    Which illustrates, I think, where the GT franchise has gone wrong. I've been a huge fan of the series since the first edition, on PSX. It's made a wannabe riceboy out of me, in particular my fascination with the beast of a car called the Skyline. I even own one now, albeit the North American domestic market version. I don't play games as much as I used to and really, my PlayStations have become Gran Turismo machines. I bought my PS2 only after GT3 came out; I bought GT4 shortly after release more than a year and half ago.

    And as I sit there, circling Nurburgring over and over and over (on lap 102 now), it's clear to me that this isn't fun anymore. Polyphony Digital lost sight of the "fun" aspect in GT3, I think. Endurance races existed before then, but in GT3, they got ludicrous and now, it's just completely insane. 24 hours??? For a single race??? And this is not the only one- there's another 24h hour one, plus a bunch of 8 hours. 2-4 hours was bad enough in the earlier versions.

    I enjoy the technical aspects of the game - finding the line, the brake points, the differences between cars. But I can't also help think about all the things I don't like about the game while mindless doing this event. Like the utter shit AI in computer controlled cars. They drive like you don't exist, ramming you from behind as if you were invisible. And they make the same mistakes over and over. The lack of balance in the races - very few are actually challenging when you take a LM Fairlady against tuned production cars, or as in this case, a Minolota Toyota race car against LM cars. You could argue that I should pick cars that are more competitive and sometimes I do, but they don't make it easy to figure out what you are up against and with the potential "penalty" to have to do another 24 fucking hours if I lose, no, I'm not going to pick a competitive car.

    Polyphony's strength, obviously, is their graphics wizardry- each new version takes your breath away. But they really need to rethink gameplay. Lose the ridiculous endurance races. Pare down the total number of events - it's ungodly and without the sense of satisifaction of "completing" a game, I feel less anticipation for the next one. Do something to make races more competitive - perhaps chose the opposing field based on the car the player brings in. Make the computer controlled cars mercy to the same physics as the player. Create bigger penalties for crashing (much has been said about how the auto manufacturers won't allow damage to appear on their cars, but there are other ways). And so on.

    Buying the next GT edition has always been an automatic for me, but after this, I'm not so sure. When a game is more work than fun, what's the point?

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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