Well, seems like Sony made quite the faux pas yesterday when they failed to quite realise how many people might want to play GT5 online. Amusing to see a press release stating that they are terribly sorry, but by all means carry on driving offline.
I did just that, and took my clapped out old RX7 for a run in the final beginner championship, the FR cup (Or whatever it’s called). Curiously, this event featured quite a step from the AI drivers. They all still brake too early, but not quite as obscenely early, and they’ve been down the tuning house with their motors too. Luckily, so had I, and my RX7 was now sporting sports tyres, adjustable suspension and a plethora of engine upgrades pushing her to a spritely 282hp.
Sadly, it seems that this car may have been a cut and shut, as its wayward back end could attest. The peaky engine forcing a gentle throttle approach and the sports tyres bringing a new level of tyre management to the game. Now it seems that Dukes of Hazzard style sliding around can overheat your tyres very quickly. Thankfully they drop this temperature abnormally quickly, but keeping the tyres from overcooking from desperate last minute braking and lock ups as well as crazy rear end fishtailing has become a necessary skill, thankfully providing a more accurate and cerebral driving experience. That cursed final corner at Tsukuba is a prime candidate for an overheated front left and some gentle midcorner balance caressing.
So it was back to smooth and steady wins the day for Shrapnel, and once again some winning of days returned.
However, this RX7 feels like it’s flexing in the middle of its chassis, which is most disconcerting, bringing an unpredictable balance to the car’s handling which makes it about as fun to drive as a horse that’s on fire. So once I hit level 7 it was time to chop her in and get down the used market again. I’m not sure if this was a realistic reflection of the car’s age and mileage, I won’t until I pick up a newer RX7 to compare it, but if it is I am impressed.
It came as a small surprise to me that cars in the used car dealership don’t actually cost that much less than their brand new equivalents, this is a bit rubs, but is also almost pushing me to see if i can get through the whole game with only used cars and free cars. Still, we’ll see, at some point that Ferrari F40 is going to entice me, I am sure.
Still, picked up a clean 1994 Impreza WRX sedan for 24 grand, only 15000km on the clock, total bargain. Beefed her right up to 385hp, with corresponding mid-level tyre and chassis upgrades and she’s a peach. Perfect for the 1990’s Japanese car jamboree (Or whatever it’s called!).
Once hitting level 7 I was reminded of the special events, and specifically the kart events. Coincidentally, the 100cc two stroke “Gran Turismo PDI Kart100” is intended to be notably similar to the karts I race regularly in the UK. I often come in with skepticism when looking at sims attempting to model karts. This is primarily because it is too physical. Unlike cars, which cocoon you in a comfy chair inside a large metal box, in a kart you are an integral part of its handling balance, your input, in terms of your body movements, can account for potentially massive changes in balance.
Alas, my skepticism was not assuaged when trying the GT5 karts, which have some odd reactive steering, front tyres that never slip and very little feel for any change in balance when manipulating the throttle. As well as this we’re offered exceptionally boring tracks on which to race them. I’m not sure what kind of instaheat, super sticky tyres the GT5 karts use, but its not really like anything I’ve experienced. Thankfully, this section grants me a wad of money and the opportunity to never do it again.
However, the Mercedes AMG Meisterschaft (sic.) special event is a right old time. Simply, this gives you a Mercedes 300SL AMG, the Nordschliefe and a clock. This was, so far, the most fun I have had with this game. The car is slow enough to prevent you from getting into any giantine doom-laden airborne megacrashes, but also fast enough to prevent the faster sections of the ‘Ring being fiercely boring. At the same time the lighting and texturing make for a very pretty drive in the German country. The sports tyre model allows clean driving and the same recoverable plateau of comfort on the limit which, provided you’re not being too insane, can give you the time to recover from the odd late braking or early throttle moment without going off track. The graphic representation of tyre temperature gives you an indicator of the impending drop off, and as mentioned before, once you’ve gathered everything up the tyres drop this excess temperature off almost instantly. It must be a very cold day in the Eifel mountains.
Of course, I know a lot of people may not know their way around “The Green Hell”, but it’s worth learning and I, for one, will be pushing hard to get my Gold trophies on this event, which is more than can be said for some ludicrous 1960’s camper van airfield follow the leader nonsense.