Quick Impressions of Gran Turismo HD Concept

Ready, race, go!

I have played quite a number of racing games, and I would say I am naturally a fan. As such, there are certain things that I tend to look out for when trying out a new race game. More than just the visuals, I have got to feel the speed, that sudden burst of adrenaline while speeding down a sharp curve or while hurtling through mid-air after stepping off an incline at a minimum of 120mph.

The downloadable demo for Polyphony Digital‘s Gran Turismo HD seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to have some quick impressions on the progress of the game, and basically just see if it does good service to all those race aficionados out there. I must admit, the expectation was rather high coming from my end. But why not? Surely you must have seen the gameplay videos, too. And who wouldn’t get excited with the graphics? The screenshots alone were already to drool for.

So, getting off my chair and into our game room, I couldn’t help but feel that buzz slowly building.

Ready for take-off
Launching the demo, a cinematic trailer welcomes you. For a while back there, I almost completely forgot that I had some demo to play. I fell into a trance, just content watching them cars rallying by the course. Yeah, no question about it, the graphics sure are splendid.

(If you fall into the same trance as I did with the opening scene, just remember to press the X button. That should snap you right out of your stupor.)

The Menu then displays the different modes you can tinker with. There’s the Time Trial Mode, Drift Mode, Controls, and basically the other functions that you might want to adjust for your comfort. Clicking on Trial Mode, I was presented with my ride. The first off the collection was a Suzuki Cappuccino ’95. Hmmm… let’s go for red. It looks smarter that way.

More quick impressions on the Time Trial, the controls and the view + the verdict at the “Full Article”!

Ready, race, go!

I have played quite a number of racing games, and I would say I am naturally a fan. As such, there are certain things that I tend to look out for when trying out a new race game. More than just the visuals, I have got to feel the speed, that sudden burst of adrenaline while speeding down a sharp curve or while hurtling through mid-air after stepping off an incline at a minimum of 120mph.

The downloadable demo for Polyphony Digital‘s Gran Turismo HD seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to have some quick impressions on the progress of the game, and basically just see if it does good service to all those race aficionados out there. I must admit, the expectation was rather high coming from my end. But why not? Surely you must have seen the gameplay videos, too. And who wouldn’t get excited with the graphics? The screenshots alone were already to drool for.

So, getting off my chair and into our game room, I couldn’t help but feel that buzz slowly building.

Ready for take-off
Launching the demo, a cinematic trailer welcomes you. For a while back there, I almost completely forgot that I had some demo to play. I fell into a trance, just content watching them cars rallying by the course. Yeah, no question about it, the graphics sure are splendid.

(If you fall into the same trance as I did with the opening scene, just remember to press the X button. That should snap you right out of your stupor.)

The Menu then displays the different modes you can tinker with. There’s the Time Trial Mode, Drift Mode, Controls, and basically the other functions that you might want to adjust for your comfort. Clicking on Trial Mode, I was presented with my ride. The first off the collection was a Suzuki Cappuccino ’95. Hmmm… let’s go for red. It looks smarter that way.

Take your pick

Fashionable arrival for Time Trial
Pimping your ride in the demo was pretty basic. The variety of colors available is pretty much dependent on what car is in your possession. Apart from that, there weren’t really any other mods you can do with your car. Of course you can choose to go Manual or ‘Matic.

Anyway, I got the car. And that’s what makes me all set for the race. The goal of the Time Trial Mode is basically to beat the set record in a particular track. I got the one with the pretty Swiss countryside. Now, if you want some looped action, meaning, if you just want to drive ’round and ’round the track, then this mode is most probably for you.

What is being measured here is the time you complete the full course, although it doesn’t really matter how many laps you take. That’s why it’s a loop. The mode is literally never-ending. Unless, of course, you choose to exit it. If you do, the data will save and you will see your ranking. It’s actually cool the way that your record is being pitted against all others who have already tried out the Time Trial mode.

Drifted apart
As for the Drift Mode, I was kinda disappointed, ‘cuz although the option was there, it still wasn’t available for play. It was looking for some requirement for you to be able to access it. As to what that requirement is, I can’t be too sure. My only logical theory for that is the Time Trial would have something to do with it.

Maybe your ranking in the Time Trial would have some bearing on your capacity to open the other race modes? After all, that’s how I got my second car, a Mazda ’89. Then again, I just can’t be too sure about it. I mean, come on. I’ve been getting dizzy just going around the same course for the Time Trial mode, and still, it didn’t seem to have any effect on the playability of the Drift Mode.

You control your fate
The controls, obviously, have a lot to do with the degree of enjoyment you garner from the race. So, you have two options for driving your car. Do you want to go Manual, or do you want to go for the Automatic one? Well, to make this Quick Impressions article as comprehensive as I can, I tried out both.

First up: Manual. I don’t know about you, guys but I find playing race games much more exhilarating if it’s on Manual. For me, it completes that simulation of being in an actual race. Obviously, this is really a big deal for me. So how did I find it? It was actually basic. The analog stick works for directions, while the figure buttons work out the throttle, the brakes, and the view. The simpler, the better.

Now, this was what I found rather uncomfortable. The default mode for the controls is that the gears are controlled by the secondary shoulder buttons. For some weird reason, pressing it just didn’t feel quite right. More often than not, I end up second-guessing myself whether or not I pressed it good enough to warrant a response from the system.

I am not saying the PS3’s controller was faulty. It just felt, at least for me, like those particular buttons were lacking support. How do I put this?…Right…It felt like they were caving in. And as shifting gears at that right precise moment is essential, especially for those crucial curves, having that sync between my fingers’ commands and the controller’s response to it becomes primordial.

pretty-fied


A splendid view

Apart from this, they only had two choices for your view. It’s either you get the third person’s perspective, or the one where the camera is lugging behind your car at an angled top view, or you get the first person’s perspective, where you are relegated into the driver’s seat. Actually, those are the standard ones, anyway, so there really is no reason for me to complain. I guess it’s just that I got used to having four choices for my views, like in Need for Speed.

Anyhow, I personally prefer the latter view. I swear, you can almost feel the car tires crunching away at them green, green countryside grass! It was that realistic. If you end up on the graveled part of the road, that’s what you hear. I’m sure if there was a rumble, it would have completed the feeling.

Going through the tunnels would surely make you want to step on the gas. The afternoon sun filtering through the massive pillars only adds some more beauty to the glistening cobblestone walls. Heck, everything is just glossy pretty in this demo!

The ‘Quick Impression’ verdict
But for what it’s worth, I’d have to be honest and give out my verdict. Over all, I just didn’t quite feel that speed. For the most part, the car felt heavy. Don’t ask me how I got that feeling through a video game. I know I didn’t have to literally carry the car. But still…it just wasn’t race-y enough.

There sure are a lot of factors to consider. I mean, admittedly, while I love racing games in general, I have more affinity for street-racing than rallies. Maybe that’s what kept me from just enjoying the ride. But assuming that such a bias does exist, and barring that assumed bias, at the end of the day, I think I’d still say that it just didn’t give me that much high.

The engine’s roar weren’t intimidating enough, the roads weren’t dusty enough…

Polyphony Digital sure made a great job pretty-fying this game. At least visually. But as for that X-racing factor, it still isn’t quite there yet. Maybe that’s exactly the reason why. Over all, it was just too damned pretty. Whatever happened to the rough roads ahead?

Then again, that’s just me. And besides, this is just a demo. But certainly, this game really is promising. So, Polyphony, how about getting those boosters on, eh?

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