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Gran Turismo 5: 8 things you need to know

Why Sony's delayed but prestige racer is still worth the hype...

So far fans following the fifth Gran Turismo in the series have been rewarded with nothing but delays and disappointment. You'd be forgiven for turning your attention to other things. But hold your horsepower, PSM3 have gathered 8 reasons for you to hold on just a little bit longer.


1. OFFICIAL LICENCES
GT-creator Kazunori Yamauchi (CEO of Polyphony Digital) wants to appeal to a global audience with Gran Turismo 5. The announcement of IndyCar and NASCAR - both new to the series - add a more American flavour to the game.

Meanwhile European petrolheads will probably be more interested in the inclusion of a fully licenced World Rally Championship. If GT5's rendition of official rallying ends up as authentic as the American flavours, expect your copy of DIRT 2 to be gathering dust by Christmas.

Then there's the small matter of Ferrari and Bugatti (including the formidable Veyron) - it's the first time ever that the automobile legends have been snapped up for Sony's racing stalwart.

2. IT'S BEAUTIFUL
It looks better than real life. That's what GT's famous mastermind, Kazunori Yamauchi said of GT5's astonishing visuals. Okay, so that's perhaps a bit much - see bit.ly/4FApAI for a head-to-head comparison video, captured using the game's 'Data Logger Visualization' tech - but his intentions are crystal clear. From every wheel nut, tyre tread and grill dimple, GT5 exudes almost pixel-perfect photo-realism.

The entire engine has been built from scratch, utilising none of GT4's code. Every car is painstakingly built from scratch, using roughly half a million polygons - up from a mere 300 in the original PSone game. It's no surprise that a staggering 60% of GT5's development time to date has been spent just creating the cars. Not satisfied with the results shown in GT5: Prologue, Kaz has been delaying GT5 for years polishing the graphics to a higher and higher sheen. Running at a staggering 60 frames per second, even in full 1080p HD without even a hint of a jag or blur in sight, it's an unparalleled technical achievement. Polyphony Digital isn't just trying to raise the bar for visuals: they want to obliterate it.

Kazunori and his team are well known for their attention to detail when it comes to tracks, too. Visiting circuits to include in the game, they photographed plants, paving slabs and even the grain of the tarmac to help nail the details.

The most staggering thing of all though? Kaz reckons these beautiful results use only 80% of the PS3's power', leaving room for improvement for GT6. Hang on Kaz, let's have this one first, eh?

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3. IT'S GOT THE MOST REALISTIC HANDLING PHYSICS
Each one of GT5's enormous roster of vehicles was test-driven by Kazunori and his team - all predictably avid race enthusiasts - to ensure spot-on handling. But Gran Turismo 5 promises to bring the most realistic handling models yet. As anyone who attempted the recent GT Academy demo without the traction controls will attest to, the game is punishingly demanding. Each car's handling model is built from scratch in the same way as its appearance.

The physics, too, are a real step up over GT4 and even GT5: Prologue. Cars' bodies rock through sharp corners and authentically spiral out of control at the slightest nudge from rivals. They can even completely flip over. The result is a racing experience that not only feels more realistic than ever, but much more white-knuckle than the stuffy bumper-cars approach of old.

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