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Gran Turismo 5 is, in my opinion, the best racing game to date. I have been a fan of the GT series since Gran Turismo 2. While there are some games in the GT series that were not my favorites (cough, cough, A-Spec). This 5th game seems to get the mix just right. With online multiplayer and a familiar base to the game its hard to go wrong.

Of course the core of the game is the buying of cars. Not only do you get awarded with cars for the normal winning of series style races, but there are multiple sources for your car purchases.

Instead of going shopping for cars only at the dealers, you now need to have a look around. There is a used dealership with a great rotation of cars, as well as an online car dealership, all offering older and more unique cars than those in the general dealership. Many of times you can find a car that not only meets your needs in the used dealers, but you can find one that beats out the stock dealer cars. The used car dealer or online dealer offer the older cars as well. Those older cars from the past generations of Gran Turismo, this is what makes the used dealers so powerful. No where else can you find some of the throw back cars that just simply tore up tracks.

The crown jewel to the GT series is one that is rather unseen. The physics engine in game is one that makes even the small changes such as tire tread and composition a large factor in the cars control. The sheer customization of parts, enhancements and power tweaks blows the mind. By modifying your transmission, and other parts, you can tune your car for a high top end for those straight races, or tune it down for cornering on those really pesky curvaceous tracks. The one part of the physics engine that has always been lacking in the Gran Turismo series is the damage of the cars. I’m not sure if it is simply because the physics engine is already pushed to its limit or what, but the inclusion of damage to cars when you hit walls or other cars is the one single thing that would make the whole racing experience more real. As it stands if you have a fast enough car and track the path of the computer racers there is a common tactic in taking corners and giving you a boost that, with decent driving, usually can never be lost. When approaching a curve if you only brake about 50%, and with good timing, t-bone the lead car or even the 2nd car it slows you to a turnable speed, pushes the t-boned car off track and stalls almost all of the cars behind the targeted car. While this is a risky move and one that can land you yourself in a wall, because of timing, or even the general physics of the following cars, the high risk, high return makes it at least a powerful play on a track where a driver’s skill just is not up to snuff. Having car damage would halt this behavior, making players focus on the actual skill of driving rather than slipping by on dirty tricks. With the high end physics that the GT series boasts having these kind of dynamics different on all the cars or at least different on the types of cars based on weight and body, I think would be trivial.

While the soundtrack is a good one, I find it lacking in music that really gets me n a race mood. Thankfully there is now the ability to use music straight off of your PS3. It may simply be my nostalgia but Gran Turismo 2 had the best stock soundtrack. I will admit that there is a ton of music in GT5, problem is that a good deal of it is classical or “menu Music”.

If you are a fan of the Gran Turismo series make sure to pick this one up. If you just happen to be a fan of racing games or you want to try one, start here. It will not disappoint. Strong racing, focused on tracks and cars. No police chasing you, no stunt cameras, no fictional jumps or car tricks. Pure racing that the GT series does and does well. No need to change that.