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Gran Turismo 5 – Review

Gran Turismo 5 – Review

After more than five years of development time, countless rumored, announced and later postponed release dates, Gran Turismo 5 has finally been released in time for this years’ holiday season.

Does the self-proclaimed real driving simulator offer something interesting for fans of realistic driving or is the Playstation 3 racer yet another mass-market console title relying solely on flashy graphics? Read the review below to find out!

When the first Gran Turismo title was released for the Playstation back in 1997, creator Kazunori Yamauchi single-handedly created a sub-genre among racing games, inventing the concept of a massive car-collecting title.

Gran Turismo combined road with racing cars, fantasy with real life tracks, always paired up with cutting edge graphics and polished presentation, making it the poster-child of racing games. The result is an amazing reach as Gran Turismo is by far the most popular racing title, outselling everything else on the market.

Even though the series has always been (and most likely will be) confined to the Playstation platform, GT titles have regularly outsold even multi-platform titles, Gran Turismo 3 being the most successful with almost 15 million copies sold. The commercial success has resulted in several competitors making use of the same concept, some of which like Sega GT were discontinued while others like Forza Motorsport struggle to find the same success as the GT series.

The series’ last released title, Gran Turismo 4, brought over 700 cars to the Playstation 2, squeezing the absolute maximum of graphics out of the aging platform. When first specs of the much more powerful Playstation 3 were announced, the Gran Turismo series was thought of to make big gains on the new platform.

It seemed like Polyphony Digital struggled to find a working concept on how to use all the new possibilities though. Countless plans were announced and later ditched, ranging from a quickly-converted GT4 that would be available in time for the Playstation 3 launch, to continued updates for Gran Turismo 5 prologue to a heavily online-based concept that would allow players to buy cars & tracks from an online marketplace.

In the end, Yamauchi and his crew opted to create a title that follows the classical Gran Turismo concept, resulting in GT5 as it is now available.

Content

Gran Turismo 5 features 1031 cars from 97 manufacturers, topping both the numbers of its successor and its closest competitor Forza Motorsport 3.

When looking a little closer, you´ll quickly realize that this impressive number is somewhat of a trick as only around 200 cars are brand new while over 800 have been converted from Gran Turismo 4. GT5 calls this concept Premium & Standard: While the 200 Premium cars come with all the details you´ll expect nowadays such as detailed damage, modeled cockpits and high-quality textures, the standard cars lack all these features.

The creators seem to be aware of the huge quality gap between the two groups of cars. While the premium cars are proudly shown off in the car dealerships and the photo travel mode, the standard cars are somewhat hidden in the game. Most players will only encounter them on-track as they make up a large chunk of the competition in career mode races.

Buying the standards is only possible via the used car dealership that works like classifieds in a paper. Only a handful of cars are available one at a time, it is not possible to pick one of the 800 standard cars directly and buy it – You have to wait for it to become available.

Combining this with the lacking quality makes the Standard cars somewhat unattractive, the title makes it very easy to completely ignore them though as players are almost never forced to drive a standard car.

The title’s car list has been the subject of much discussion and when looking a the raw numbers, it becomes obvious that Polyphony Digital favors cars from Japanese manufacturers while lacking European and North American vehicles. Out of the 1031 cars, more than 600 of them are from Japanese manufacturers including 136 Nissans alone.

This is once again influenced by the fact that most of the content comes from Gran Turismo 4 which was heavily Japanese-leaning. The 200 premium cars are actually nicely balanced between American, European & Japanese cars, normal road cars to supercars and racing machinery.

While many sim racers may be disappointed by the number of racing cars in the premium segment, Polyphony Digital has opted for some amazing variety in that regard as GT5 includes Formula One cars among NASCAR Sprint Cup vehicles, Super GT machinery to World Rally cars and of course Le Mans-proven machinery such as the Peugeot 908 and Audi R10. The only thing completely missing among Premiums is touring cars as DTM and ETCC machinery can only be found in the standard car pool from GT4.

In terms of tracks, Gran Turismo 5 tries to please all audiences, combining fantasy tracks and street circuits with real life race tracks. Compared to GT4, several new venues have been added as Monza, Daytona, Indianapolis the Top Gear Test Track & the Nürburgring Grand Prix track are joining old favorites like the Nordschleife, Le Mans, Laguna Seca & Suzuka.

Some tracks from past Gran Turismo series have been dropped though as Infineon Raceway, Motegi and a few fantasy classics like Seattle are nowhere to be found. Some tracks come with added features such as day & night cycle and weather, two new additions to Gran Turismo 5.

Adding to the real life & fantasy tracks are rally tracks with gravel, asphalt or snow surface to make most of the WRC cars as well as the track editor. Given the fact that console players have rather limited input abilities using a controller, the track editor is of course no fully-fledged editor that allows to start tracks from scratch.

PD has come up with a great and very accessible compromise that allows players to edit tracks as using sliders that define the track width, number of corners and other details.

Graphics

When it comes to graphics, everyone expects Gran Turismo to set new standards with each title and if we look look at the premium content alone, GT5 fully delivers in that regard.

The premium cars are exceptionally well modeled with rich details and great looking textures, the quality even surpasses Forza Motorsport 3’s car models which were already very impressive in that regard.

Gran Turismo 5 opts to create a very photorealistic graphics experience with no overdone effects such as blur, bloom, fictional track side objects or anything else you wouldn’t expect in a tv broadcast of an actual race.

The choice of very natural colors creates a very realistic-looking environment, especially compared to titles like Need for Speed Shift that went overboard with fictional trackside objects or Forza Motorsport 3 which uses much too saturated colors. The comparison below does a great job of showing how Gran Turismo 5 manages to look much more realistic than its direct competitor.

Other aspects of the graphics are splendid as well, including great use of track shadows that make the title’s Nordschleife particularly enjoyable as well as great night & weather effects even though the rain effects fall a little short compared to the standard F1 2010 has set.

The title’s sheer graphical power is most apparent in photo mode that allows players to take high-resolution shots of their cars in various environments. While many people argue that these “photos” are essentially renders that have nothing to do with in-game graphics, only part of that is correct.

While photo mode applies improved lighting and other post-processing effects such as anti-aliasing, the car models used in photo mode are the same as those used in game as in-game graphics don’t differ too much from the results in photo mode aside from a few missing finishing touches.

The term photo-realistic has been applied to graphics ever since Grand Prix 2 and while it certainly has been overused, Gran Turismo 5 is the first racing game that offers literally photo realistic results as some shots taken in photo mode make it extremely hard to tell whether or not you´re looking at a real photo.

Of course, nothing’s perfect and GT5’s graphics have a few shortcomings as well. The least impressive thing about the premium cars is definitely the cockpit view. While the cockpits are fairly detailed and, contrary to Forza Motorsport 3, all come with fully working gauges, they feel less alive and more sterile as those in Need for Speed Shift and are spoiled by very blocky shadows.

Aside from that, some other console-typical graphic flaws are apparent such as texture flickering here and there as well as an obvious lack of anti-aliasing. But none of that is even worth mentioning compared to the quality of the standard cars.

As mentioned earlier, the title pretty much hides the 800 standard cars and it does for a reason as the cars taken over from Gran Turismo 4 range from mediocre to absolutely shocking in terms of graphical quality. While some cars look pretty decent if you don’t get close to them, others sport outrageously low-resolution textures that even mediocre rFactor mods put to shame, leaving one wondering if Polyphony Digital spent any effort trying to improve the GT4 cars at all.

Polyphony Digital seems to be very aware of these issues as standard cars are not usable in photo travel mode and players aren’t allowed to zoom in on the blocky details in track photo mode either.

Sounds

Unlike the graphics, the audio department has always been Gran Turismo’s weakest link with most cars in GT4 sounding like vacuum cleaners. Gran Turismo 5 has vastly improved in this regard, still sounds aren’t the thing the developers should take most pride in.

Most premium cars sound alright and close enough, don’t expect the sounds to be spot on though. Anybody who has ever driven a NASCAR Sprint Cup car in another simulation or knows how the Citroen C4 WRC sounds from on-board footage will be disappointed with the lacking detail of the audio samples as most engines samples are a bit to generic and weak to be considered spot-on.

The standard cars are a mixed bag, while some seem to have improved sounds most sound as dull as they did in GT4. Sound effects like tire squeal, curbs and others are alright as only the collision sounds deserve special mentioning as cars colliding in Gran Turismo 5 sound like someone beating an empty bottle of laundry detergent with a stick.. not exactly convincing.

The title’s soundtrack is fairly decent and can of course be turned off, players also have the choice to replace it with personal music on their Playstation 3. Overall, the sounds are passable, especially considering where the series is coming from in that regard.

Physics, Force Feedback & AI

Many sim racers considered Gran Turismo’s tag line “Real Driving Simulator” to be a mere marketing scheme but with Gran Turismo 5, Polyphony Digital finally delivers what is promised as the physics may be the most spectacular thing about Gran Turismo 5.

The GT Academy competition was a first hint that Gran Turismo is heading more towards the serious driving route and GT5 follows up with what are undoubtedly the most realistic & challenging physics in a console racing game so far.

To make more challenging physics possible without frustrating the mass-market audience this title needs, the driving aid controls have been majorly refined. Instead of just turning ABS & TC on or off, brake assistance and traction control can be set using a ten-step slider, allowing pretty much everyone to find the right amount of assistance.

Since the majority of buyers play GT5 using a controller, the title always applies some assistance to make it an enjoyable experience using the controller but once a wheel is connected, the gloves come off.

Speaking of wheels, Gran Turismo 5 supports a wide range of steering wheels with matching controller profiles, sadly no profiles for upper-market wheels are included. While the Logitech Driving Force GT is the only semi-pro wheel with a dedicated profile, I found both the Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S & the new Porsche 911 Carrera wheel to be working excellent with GT5, all the Fanatec wheels needed to be perfect was some added deadzone to prevent wheel shaking on straights.

Once you head out on track, you´ll realize that this is a pretty serious title as the cars quickly become a handful with all aids off. Driving a powerful road car like the Corvette ZR1 with road tires on the Nordschleife will certainly keep your hands and feet very busy.

Players of former GT titles may be in for a harsh surprise finding out that putting the throttle down like a maniac won’t cut it in GT5 anymore, especially in wet weather races as delicate treatment of the pedals has become as mandatory as in other simulations, otherwise you´ll spin out faster than you think.

The title does an excellent job of simulating the cars behavior over the plenty of modeled bumps and curbs, the suspension movement of the car feels very believable as does the tire grip.

Speaking of tires, Gran Turismo 5 offers road, sport & slick tires in three different compounds with the softest slick compound almost offering too much grip in my book. Braking in GT5 with no ABS requires much more craft than in previous GT titles as locking up tires are properly simulated.

The fine physics are accompanied by very nice Force Feedback that even offers some road surface feedback, a rare feature even with PC simulations. Oddly enough, the Force Feedback effects with the Fanatec wheels improved when lowering the Force Feedback strength in the wheel settings.

Of course, Gran Turismo 5 is nowhere close to iRacing or other hardcore simulations, the physic developments allow to say that the title accurately simulates driving though. Since no one can examine the title’s physic files and we have basically no background info on the used tire model and details like that, it’s hard to tell whether or not the physics are based on real-life values but the results speak for themselves as the physics are the single most impressive improvement compared to earlier GT titles.

Sadly, the same thing can’t be said about the AI as the computer-controlled cars still feel lifeless and fail to provide a challenge for more experienced racers.

While PD has somewhat fixed the issue of cars slamming mindlessly into you, the intelligence of the computer-controlled cars still ranges narrowly above a rock with wheels as the cars won’t fight for position and will very rarely block you or do something challenging.

Experienced sim racers will be having no problems blasting past the competition during the first lap in an equal car, the difficulty-level can only be improved by choosing a slightly underpowered car for the given race.

Gameplay

While the physics may be closer to simulations than ever before, the gameplay of Gran Turismo 5 is still very much different compared to more straightforward simulations. If you think of jumping in a particular car and go racing on your favorite track right away – Forget it, GT5 makes players earn their content.

The title offers an aracde mode with a handful of cars and tracks that can be tried in races or time trials right away – Enough to wet your appetite and to provide motivation to tackle GT’s cornerstone: The Career mode.

Basically, the career mode consists of a series of license tests and special events. The two deciding factors for your career are the licenses and your driver level. Every completed test, event and race will upgrade your driver level, allowing you to compete in more events and buy more cars.

What really sets Gran Turismo 5’s career mode apart from titles such as Forza Motorsport 3 are the special events that introduce players to various forms of racing. Included are a karting mode, the AMG driving school that will teach you how to tackle the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Top Gear-themed events and NASCAR & WRC schools narrated by none other than Jeff Gordon and Sebastien Loeb.

The special events are spiced up with nice cut-scenes that explain some of the basics of NASCAR racing or introducing you to rallying, providing a lot of atmosphere. While the career mode as such is more entertaining than in other titles, the it quickly lacks flow, making it hard for players to progress.

While the first races and events will rush by in an instant and raise your driver level constantly, you´ll soon get to a point where you start grinding for level points to progress your career by repeating races again and again as GT5 simply doesn’t offer enough events to allow smooth progression through the career.

In Forza Motorsport 3, you could complete almost the full career mode just by using the awarded prize cars, allowing you to save the hard-earned credits to buy the cars you rally want. The prize cars in GT5 are pretty much useless, forcing you to buy cars that you might not want and which are only useful once during your career.

This is where GT5 can become really frustrating as it becomes unnecessarily hard to progress your career. The same thing can be said about the credits as earning the virtual money is hard work, especially if you´re eying one of the Le Mans Prototypes or Formula One cars. With precious vehicles priced well above one million credits, a lot of time and devotion is required to get your hands on the most desirable cars and many players will probably give up somewhere in between.

Aside from the GT-Mode, GT5 allows to run quick races or time trials as well as multiplayer events. Also offered is the B-Spec mode that allows players to manage virtual drivers, the nice idea is somewhat spoilt by the already mentioned sub-par AI skills and the fact that you can’t fast-forward longer races – Watching the AI race for 20+ laps can get rather boring quickly.

Conclusion

After over 5 years of development, can Gran Turismo 5 be considered a ground-braking title? Hardly, as the title adds pretty much nothing substantially new to the franchise. Even though there are some new features such as weather, night racing and basic damage, GT5 is a bit short on creative ideas and still lacks some of the more innovative features Forza Motorsport 3 had to offer.

Players who take the text on the back of the box seriously and expect 1031 cars in great quality will be disappointed as GT5 is somewhat of a fraud in that regard. In reality, the title contains 200 beautiful cars and 800 conversions that have to be considered to be merely bonus content.

Still, Gran Turismo 5 offers more than your average console racing title that sells for the same price, featuring unrivaled graphics, very detailed tracks and, more importantly, believable and challenging physics that will please even more demanding sim racers.

In addition to that, GT5 takes players on a journey through the motorsports world like no other, allowing you to experience karting, rally, oval racing, prototypes, Formula One and countless of other cars all in one title.

All in all, Gran Turismo 5 is an excellent title that will provide you with countless hours of driving fun and while there’s still a long way to go for it to really be the Real Driving Simulator, GT5 is a big step in the right direction.

  • Turkey :D

    Yep. It’s another GT game. I still like it though. Spot on review!

  • Rasp

    This review is a little to harsh on the game and gets too bogged down in over-technical analysis. 

  • CH

    Agree with the review
    jap games are lacking innovations nowadays.. look at ff13 too..
    Just using the same formula that they are happy with the success in the past, +- some minor features= new title
    seriously, for the span of 5 yrs, PD cant even get the sound effect right? What r they doing most of the time? Brainstorming bout which car to include in?

  • Peter

    GT5 definitely is a great title and enjoyable game! I really do like leveling up and racing for first places. But as mentioned in the great article, there are glitches. I am on Lvl 17 right now and I just discovered yesterday that running for licenses does not make any sense at all. I found it a great feature of previous GT titles where licenses directly influence the amount of races you take (Professional series where unavailable without having a national b license for example).  But this feature is gone at all.

    And of course the biggest bummer resides on the on track graphics … No AA, clipping errors, in night races you don’t see the glow but not the lights of cars in the mirror, the “magnetic-walls”, and AI that is constantly crashing into you when you spin on track (as if they don’t have brakes at all …).

    Claiming to have “the real driving simulation” is not justified. But anyway I love GT5 as I loved its predecessors. And I again enjoy the game this afternoon for sure 🙂

  • Peter

    Oh by the way: In the menu screenshot there is a button “official events” … I’ve never seen this one … I only do have the “Open Lobby” menu entry.

    Where did you get this screenshot from? And what are the official events? 

  • doc

    to me, it seems alot of people dont *want* there to be critisism for GT5. As soon as somebody has issues, somebody always calls it “too harsh”. I have played GT5 for less than a week, and I think the review is pretty spot on. As a comparison I would say that GT5 offes the most realistic driving (alone on the track) while Forza3 offers the best experience overall, with its damage-modelling, better AI and more cars if you compare it to the premium, which is the only sensible thing. All in all, a good review, and you fanboys should really get better at absorbing critisism when its due..

    just my 2 cents

  • Suarez16

    Well spotted! I’d like to know as well..

  • Suarez16

    Excellent review, Rob.It would have been nice if you could have given a bit more attention to the online mode which imo works very well.

    I really enjoy GT5 as I’ve enjoyed all other GT’s but I have the feeling it could’ve been so much better. There’s stuff in there like the museum cards (wtf) which they could have left out to polish up other things (better AI, less tedious menu structure for getting/upgrading cars). It’s good enough to keep me playing though.

  • erale

    “While PD has somewhat fixed the issue of cars slamming mindlessly into you, the intelligence of the computer-controlled cars still ranges narrowly above a rock with wheels as the cars won’t fight for position and will very rarely block you or do something challenging.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox70Ho9_jX4&feature=player_embedded

    Watching that video doesn’t seem that the AI improved at all. Also the comparision video isn’t fair at all. You picked a video with the worst looking Forza 3 track. You could also compare a great looking Forza 3 car to a standard GT5 car. Wouldn’t be fair either. While GT5 does look a bit better (a lot better in replay / photomode) Forza 3 doesn’t have THAT saturated colors on it’s other tracks. Overall the colors are a bit more saturated than the GT5 ones but that’s a really extreme comparision and doesn’t do Forza 3 any justice.

  • Peter

    The AI definitely did not improve on “slamming mindlessly into you”! As I stated before even when the new patch, the AI is kinda stupid as hell!

    But hey … if you can’t pass them quick enough, just buy some parts and gain more KW and you are good to go 😉

  • nedge2k

    You forgot to mention how crap and frustrating the menu system is and how poor the rallying is.

  • lans

    King Turismo 5 has returned
    LONG LIVE
    THE REAL DRIVING SIMULATOR
    “SLOW AND STEADY CLAPPING”

    GT GT GT GT GT GT GT GT GT!

  • lans

    you forgot to mention that your opinion is not relevant, Monty is doing an objective review not a fanboy review

  • nedge2k

    um, excuse me? how can anything i said there be construed as fanboy-ish? if anything, what you’ve just said make you look like the fanboy. also, who the f*ck are you to say my opinion is not relevant?

  • nedge2k

    totally agree – if you exclude F3’s shocking online play and bias toward 4WD.

  • 6e66o

    Thanks for the review Rob.

    I´m glad i resisted the hype and didnt buy it right away.

  • Vonsaku

    Good review, should of pinpoint some issues that GT5 has tho.
    Like:
    -Really uneven competitions, you get all S-licenses to gold in one try but keep on trying to brake from 1000meters for an 2hours to get gold.
    -Some bugs as car light show “straight” no matter what the car position is
    -Super slow menus with back and forward jumping all the time to find suitable car
    -When you win the car you need to get jump all over the menus and press ok multiple times to see really uncool video about starting the car (and car doesnt sound the same in the game).
    -BUMP omg i just ran in to someones mirror or 300km/h in the wall 😀 Bet they recorded this sound for 6 years.
    -Did anyone really play this game “trough” its really confusing package of beautifull cars and eyecandy but still underneath full of issues that irritate in first minutes of playing.

    GT4 had better licence testes and specialevents, one type races, almost same physics, great tracks what really mind blowing does GT5 has to offer? Nothing.

    Anyway done about 2000km with this, and it is not completly bad. Somehow irritating from time to time tho.

  • nedge2k

    To be honest, once you get past all the frustrations and get into the better cars, it is a good game…just not one to base the purchase of a console solely on!

  • MartyParty

    Oh, hi lans. Didn’t expect to see you here… but while you are here could you take some of your precious time an defend the cash-grinding aspect of GT.

    I am fully aware of the GT legacy, however the cash-grinding is just ridiculous. The price-model in iRacing is often criticized, since you have to pay for content you use. However I believe that paying for content I won’t be able to use is worse.

    If I want to drive an F1, I have to spend 8 hours driving 100 races at Indy to earn the cash. Those races are not fun, difficult or exciting at all. It is mind-numbing work. Even considering a crappy salary, spending 8 hours to buy the GT5 F1 is more expensive than the $12 I had to pay for the Williams in iRacing.

    It is like buying a CD and have to listen to the first track 200 times before getting to listen to the second. If you are interested in track number 16, just forget it…

  • 6e66o

    agree

  • orublahblahblah

    Supposedly the hideable HUD will be patched in soon, too late for me though since I just threw $100 at iRacing instead.

    Physics are all that matter, throw in some decent graphics and licences cars unavailable on PC and it’s definitely worth a look.

  • lans

    what the F* do you think you are to tell monty how to do his job?
    lay of the weed dood

  • Jezza

    oh hi lans….. i see your upset that gt5 wasnt all it was supose to be!!!!

  • Jezza

    @nedge2k
    Lans is the anti anything anti gt5 troll.
    He loves me lots i think me and him will hold hands one day. But for now i will just continue to chuckle at his attempts to defend the games that took 5+ years to make 200 cars and day n nite and rain.

  • lans

    YOU KEEP WHAT YOU EARN MARTY PARTY
    LET GT BE GT!

    NEED FOR SPEED GIVES YOU A SUPERCAR AFTER EVERY RACE HOW BORING IS THAT?
    At least if you get a F12010 car you get mad respect in gt community!

    its like unlocking prestige in cod, when you get f12010 car!

  • Jezza

    yep it has returned an even smaller step in the evolutionary chain by the iterations that preceded it.
    GT GT GT ah forget it its nothing new

  • lans

    erm no, i played it for 50 hours already ive never played any gt as much as gt5, so its not a failure, im very addicted to it, im just taking a break from it as ive reached level 29 and i need to catch up on some sleep, or ill get fired

  • lans

    @Jezza go eat a big fat sausage

  • Jezza

    the price on iracing is fine, considering the company isnt turning a profit. however lans is just upset that he cant afford to subscribe because his mum said he has to get a job first.

  • Jezza

    hey lans, you know what. you also get laid if your not worried about a forums mad respect.

    Everyone please like this comment i want mad respect.

  • Jezza

    congrats on taking the plunge, id buy you a beer and toast heres to not looking back, if i ever met you of course.

  • Jezza

    wow and if you never played any other gt for more then 50 hours, how can you have a valid opionion on what the best gt is? quiet simply i think you will find most people will look to gt3 as the best, and if you never put 50+ hours into it, then truely none of your opinions matter.

  • Jezza

    @nedge2k  
    also as you can clearly see with lans’s replies to you, he clearly has no comprehension skills and appears to change what you write into somthing completly different, i think he is using some kind of google idiot translator

  • Jezza

    @ fm3 online isnt shocking, as long as you dont use the public rooms. even then you get the choice of rwd rooms.

  • lans

    i never said i played gt series less than 50 hours i said i played gt the most as in consecutively it took me a lot longer to get to 50 hours playtime on the older gt 5 games, please stop lying and putting words in my mouth jezza, god is watching you

  • lans

    Excellent review monty have a noddy badge!
    Not biased but fair!
    We need more people like you!

    Not jaded game reviewers who like to play COD!
    GT is not COD!

  • lans

    erm no offence but i find the AI is alot better than humans in gt5, infact i would say the AI drivers are more intelligent than human ones, as i have yet to see a race  online where the first corner is not covered in plumes of white smoke!

  • lans

    whats with your attitude doc,your too full of yourself!

  • MartyParty

    Well I am playing GT to have fun not to get “mad respect”. Besides I can’t se how doing something simple and repetitive for 8 hours, should earn me any respect. That is just stupid.

    I could see the point of having to pass a difficult test to get the car. That would be a fun challenge, and you could improve your “mad skillz” while you are at it. However, grinding the same boring race over and over again… No fun – just fail!

    Sorry, forgot to use caps lock in the post to prove my point, so I will add some random capital letters at the end:  OQHW KW JN RQFLJVKB!

  • Austin White

    Sources say GT5 was rushed by sony telling Polyphony to release it before christmas.. People think the game is unfinished, hence why patches keep bringing new features.

    Just recently was mechaincal damage to online play, you smack a rear quater panel and now your rear will wobble and pull to the side. Very good touch , much needed since theres a few people who play online who would rather smash into you.

    You forgot to review the online. This is where it is really fun. I have alot of friends *and car forum buddies from online* who are not into pc sim racers, but are into this game, so I can play with them in this.

    Its fun to find some uncommon car , build it up and tune it, and then take it to some online races.

    They introduced a horsepower limit setting for online hosts, and have many options like forcing traction controls and assists off on the server, and turning off the catch-up boost. Really good.  They just need to introduce the option to kick and ban players who abuse the online races.

    I actually love all the japanese cars that the games have centered around. I dont think much people desire racing out a lower model Fiat. *but the same goes for the Daihatsu’s and those K cars, wish they would just leave them out * The original GT was mostly japanese cars and I loved it.

    I think its hard to review this game because its not really complete yet, they are still planing to introduce new features to the game via update patches.

    It is a good bang for the buck racing game. You will get alot out of it.

  • Piotr Sut

    Great review, just one thing missing for me:

    Does it still have hours of steering lag, like Prologue and the way it looks on SRT’s latest Fanatec wheel preview courtesy of virtualr?
    Prologue seemed nice but the lag completely killed the driving in strong RWD cars for me, and would disqualify any game no matter how many cars and what physics it has.

  • m0nty

    That’s because they’re on rails you simpleton. Did you honestly come down in the last shower?

  • Justin ForzaBarça D’Cruze

    “Of course, Gran Turismo 5 is nowhere close to iRacing or other hardcore simulations”

    Can you elaborate on this? Not having a go at you, its just that you write numerous paragraphs praising the physics like its a proper simulation and then just drop that line in without really saying which aspects lag behind PC sims…..

  • MartyParty

    I would say that the biggest difference is in the Force Feedback. In most PC-sims you get the feedback in terms of forces from the front wheels acting on the steering column. That way you get important information on the grip levels and can feel when you have optimal slip angle or when the car starts to understeer.

    In GT5, the feedback is the forces acting on the mass center of your car, ie you feel in your hands what is happening to your ass. To get a clue on tyre slip you have to rely on your ears. The tyre squeal is sometimes hard to hear as it blends with the engine noise. Furthermore, I have not been able to distinguish between the sounds of front and rear tyre squealing… 

  • Jezza

    god is touching you

  • Jezza

    hey sweet cheeks where have you been the past 2 weeks

  • Jezza

    unlike someone named lans who is bursting at the seams

  • sommergemuese

    Shift 2 > GT5

  • MartyParty

    Not hours… Steering lag is still present. However not as much as in GT5:P.

  • Jos

    still think its wrong to compare it to iracing since its not in the same price class but ok…

  • Noel Hibbard

    Glad someone else spotted that. I was very excited about the review up to the point were he said it doesn’t even come close to iRacing. But he said that right after bringing up FFB so I wasn’t sure if he was saying FFB isn’t even close to iRacing or if her was talking about the physics as a whole. I reread several times and to me it reads like he is refering to the physics. But TBH, if the FFB isn’t up to par it totally kills the sim. Our inputs in sims are already limited enough. Take good FFB awayand your at a serious disadvantage.

  • MartyParty

    No it is a bit unfair to compare iRacing with its slim budget to the $60 million project that is GT5… 

  • 1nkz

    wow, did you came from the future?….btw, i don’t think the ‘soap on the floor’ Shift physics will be enough to beat GT5, unless you’re an arcade fan…

  • Substance242

    Very good review, I can see we share I think all (?) opinions, thank you. Is it OK I translated a few points to my comment on Slovak gaming web? Not an article, just user comment below review.

  • MatzeLoCal

    For me, GT5 is a huge disappointment. First but definitely my fault: I currently can only play with the DS-Controller as my G25 is mounted to my GTR2/rFactor-Machine which is about 60km away from me 
    But there are some really really annoying things in GT5:
     
    – Get disqualified from a License or Specialtest. The first TopGear-Test where you do the Samba-Race …. I was 3/4 ahead of an opponent when entering a chicane… the opponent turned in earlier than me and hit the back of my T2 … I was disqualified … WTF?
     
    – Wasn’t it promised that GT5:P cars would be imported to GT5? I was so happy to start with my Elise and do some Laps on the Nordschleife… no chance.
    At the first boot, the car and the track were out of reach because of that fscking level system… I first had to do a bunch of test before I could buy the elise and then I after the second AMG-Test round I had the nordschleife… WTF!
     
    – KI is so stupid… yes, the KI improves with higher levels… but I don’t want to spend hours of doing stupid test before get the real thing. And even if the KI is lower in the lower levels…  such a KI-behavior is ridiculous. (i.e. corning slower than a snail). Even worse when you have traffic on timed tests… only if you are “right on time” traffic can be passed without losing time.. but if you are just a bit “off time” traffic costs seconds (just try the nordschleife full lap in the AMG-tests)
     
    I think they did a lot of wrong decisions in GT5.
     
    Instead of having over 1.000 cars (the author of the review forgot to mention, that there are also n Versions of the MX-5,NSX… where also one or two would have been enough!) the should have focused on let’s say 300 – 400 (event that number is incredible high) cars but all of them premium and with adequate sounds.
    Also the should have hired someone with experience in usability…. even Windows doesn’t give you that much “message-windows” (- “do you want to buy xyz item” [YES][NO] -“you bought XYZ” [OK] -“do you want to install XYZ” [YES][NO] -“XYZ installed [OK]” … now imagine that for 10 items you want to buy…
     
    I’m really disappointed and I just hope it gets better with the G25 and with the next bunch of patches…

  • donbobo

    It’s a shame a lot of the tracks are standard as well and low detail, Trial Mountain is awful, as is Deep Forest, Autumn Ring and Laguna Seca etc, straight from GT4!

    Monza is ugly too and Le mans us rough in places, horrible trees, as are many of the rally stages with poor textures and low detail.

    Only some of the premium cars are impressive, some look rough, and in some cars the steering wheel is a hexagon rather than round. Plus some of the worst shadow and spray effects I’ve ever seen.

    The physics are improved, but the car still feels disconnected to the track to me and the suspension doesn’t respond as it should, like when you jump a car or go over kerbs, it’s dumbed down. Also many of the tracks are still too smooth, a few are good though.

    For me it’s another GT game, but this time it’s unfinished and lacks the overall polish, complete content and is ugly to look at sometimes. As a result it’s the worst GT game I’ve played.

  • Pablo

    “GT5 is a big step in the right direction.”

    So maybe by 2020 there will be a decent console game for the PS5.

  • Substance242

    “”do you want to buy xyz item” [YES][NO] -“you bought XYZ” [OK] -“do you want to install XYZ” [YES][NO] -“XYZ installed [OK]””

    True. 🙂

  • Eric

    So according to Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator I am roughly 7 seconds per lap faster than The Stig around the Top Gear test track with a Subaru WRX STi. The Stig did it in 1:30 and I average between 1:22-1:24 with only 30 mins of practice. Just for curiosity sake, I took a look at real life lap times around Road Atlanta in my favorite car on iRacing and saw the pro’s do it between 1:19-1:23. My best ever time around that track on iRacing? 1:23.338.
    So yeah, GT5 is a really fun game (it really is), but it’s just a game. If anyone tells you it’s realistic tell them they are full of [email protected] The Real Driving Simulator moniker should be stripped from Gran Turismo and given to iRacing.

  • stabiz

    My only world record in iRacing is 0.4 faster than the Grand Am pole time at Watkins Glen this season. 🙂

  • Jezza

    I have only beaten some of the nascar and indy real life records. Other then that the rest of my times are ballpark similar to real life.

  • Jezza

    thats ps4 teritory

  • kludger

    Great review, pretty spot on on the pluses and minuses, and coming to GT5 from iRacing and never owning a console until now, the only things I’d add to your review is that the menu system is very archaic and confusing, they have made the job of finding and selecting eligible cars in your garage for particular races so many clicks that until I figured that out I had been buying extra cars I didn’t need, also I had originally planned not to even try the “standard” cars since I am a cockpit only simmer, but I’ve actually found that I enjoy driving some of the interesting used cars available from the hood view (RUF Yellowbird etc.), while the immersion is much less than cockpit view the unique car physics for some of the standard cars still win me over.
    Overall GT5 doesn’t replace iRacing for me, but it is a very fun game for the times when I don’t have the energy/concentration for iRacing and it has a Nordschleife driving experience that beats everything else out there. It has been worth the PS3+GT5 purchase for me and I will be playing it for a long time to come in addition to iRacing and likely rF2.

  • adrian

    Nice review thank you very much, i enjoyed reading it.

    Spotted a couple typos:

    “The title offers an aracde mode” and i think it should be “whet your appetite” here: “Enough to wet your appetite”

    great job, keep it up!

  • AeroMechanical

    Review pretty well sums up my opinion of it: very good, but not great.

    I can tell that it will ultimately be the painfully drawn out grinding that puts me off it.  Clearly it’s intended for people who will be playing it for years to come and enjoy grinding, but frankly, it’s just not good enough to keep me that interested. Just driving it doesn’t inspire the same feeling I get in the best PC sims, where I can spend weeks trying to master one car on one track.

  • Sky

    Change the tires for worse ones until you cant beat that time anymore, simple…

  • Stu

    Last night I ws driving a tuned Mercedes 190 EvoII on the Nordschliefe and it was one of the best sim driving experiences I’ve had, up there with the Capri and Escort in the HistoricX mod.

    The way you can throw the car about, steer with the throttle, and hassle much quicker cars in the tight stuff is exactly what GT5 is all about.

    GT5 is such a huge game it’s not worth pouring hours into it every night, take a break, come back refreshed and enjoy the game over a the coming months and years.

    With PD adding features and taking fan request I’m sure GT5 will only improve.

  • Samuelkorthof

    People who say that GT5 isn’t realistic are talking sh*t. U can not compare the physics by just comparing real laptimes on a track of 1 or 2 cars. I’ve driven my Honda Civic 1994 on a real circuit in reallife and i can tell in GT5 its pretty much the same. Also driven a porsche 911 on a real circuit and in GT5 the RUF models are acting almost the same beside the difference of power as i was driving a GT2. Same thing with the BMW 1 series etc etc.

  • mykem

    The first question is that did you use the standing start which is how Top Gear power lap is conducted.  In GT5 you need to stop at the start line or else it’s a flying lap.  And the tires as someone else pointed out makes a big difference.  The stock tires with the 2005 WRX Sti is the Potenza RE070.  In GT5 that would be N3 (Comfort Soft).  

  • Eric

    When I get home I’ll give it another shot with comfort soft tires. I believe the STi comes with Hard Sport Tires in GT5. Either way, I still don’t think it will remotely be a challenge to obliterate Stigs times (which I know I’d have no chance of doing in real life). Still driving sloppy after only 30mins of practice on a track I’ve never driven with a car I’ve never driven and that’s all it took to beat the Stig. Something doesn’t sit right with me on that.

    Like I said, fun game, but it is a game. The ultra saturated techicolor grass will remind you of that if the physics don’t. Some of the tracks look like they stole the grass from Mario64 🙂

  • Carbonfibre

    Very true, GT5 had to be the reason to buy a PS3 for many PC simracers including myself, sadly it’s fallen short of the mark.

    Btw excellent review Rob, as always.  😎  You focus on the things that are important to us.

  • smokeyplayer

    As good as historx?, Please dont lie *DONT_KNOW*

  • mykem

    It would be great if the review would’ve included some videos that show driving in GT5.  Something like these ones:

    While it’s not entirely in the same league as nKar and iRacing, the FFB and the physics for most part are quite similar.  Even Stefano Casillo went on paper saying that GT Academy (the precursor to GT5 released last year) felt “netKar-ish” to him (here).  Unlike rFactor (even with Real Feel plugin) which can at times feel cumbersome, the simplicity in how iRacing and nKar approach FFB is mirrored in GT5. 

  • paskowitz

    Playing RBR and GT5 back to back is actually very interesting. They feel very similar except for the sounds and graphics. I think you hit the major problem with GT5’s physics, how the cars react to suspension hits or bumps. If you go on The Ring and hit a curb, almost nothing happens. To me this is just not real. You can hop the curbs like you could in GT4. Maybe this is more a track issue but in GTR2 and rFactor if you hit a curb, escpecially a wet one, its over. This is actually my only real complaint.

    All that being said I think GT5 is a proper alternative for people who have a console and can’t afford or be bothered to go into the PC realm. Take the Ford Gt MKIV on Le Sarthe in the rain, with no aids or abs, and tell me that is not PC sim difficult. Also a PS3 with GT5 and a G27 is MUCH cheaper than an iRacing setup.

    I really can’t play FM3 after GT5. To me that feels like a game. GT5 has these moments where you loose your grip on reality and you think the world you are in is real. From the graphics to the steering buffer, it just does not feel real. Fun, yes. Real, no.

  • mykem

    It would be great if the review were to include some videos that show driving in GT5.  Something like these ones:

     

     

     

     

    While it’s not entirely in the same league as nKar and iRacing, the FFB and the physics for most part are quite similar.  You get the impression that you’re actually applying force and pressure to the front wheels instead of simply turning the steering wheel (which is the case with GTR2 and Evo ).  Even Stefano Casillo went on paper saying that GT Academy (the precursor to GT5 released last year) felt “netKar-ish” to him (here is the interview).  Unlike rFactor (even with Real Feel plugin) which can at times feel cumbersome, the simplicity in how iRacing and nKar approach FFB is mirrored in GT5. 
     
    And regarding the UI- I don’t think it’s any more complicated and mind-boggling as trying to post a comment on this site  😀

  • mykem

    PD tires recommendation is always a bit on the optimistic side. The rule of thumb I often used for TT in GT5 is:

    Comfort Hard (N1)- production cars from the 1950s-1980s- that would include classics like the 300SL, Jaguar Type E, Toyota  GT2000, most American muscle cars and most low performance production cars

    Comfort Medium (N2)- most JDM from the 1980s to mid 1990s: RX-7, Skylines, Fairlady, Evo. Peformance cars from the 80s- Ferrari 512BB for example. Production cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Citroen C4.

    Comfort Hard- recent JDM mid-performance Sports cars like the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Evo X, Nissan 350 and 370Z.  Luxury Sports/Performance cars: Aston Martin DB9, Jaguar XKR, Lotus Elise/Esprit.

    Sports Hard- high performance sports/supercars and Tuned JDM

    Racing Hard- GT race cars (or in GT5 race modified cars), Super GT and LMPs.  Rain, Intermediate, Dirt and Snow are useful but Sports/Racing Medium and Hard are good for fun races (when concentration is not required).

    As to the colours- I usually turn the saturation down (in GT5 and in fact almost any console racers), play with the colour balance and adjust brightness/contrast (on my Sharp Aquos).  There’s no ill-effect to toning down the colour (which is actually better than increasing undersaturated colours).  Have fun.

  • Mike Cantwell

    This may be a silly question, but are you doing a standing starts? If not, then your times are right. If you are doing a standing starts (all Top Gear times are standing starts) the the game is very wrong.

  • mike88

    review is all over the place.

    the real question is GT5 worth the 59.99$ for me it is and then some.
    for the amount of money you pay for GT5 nothing comes close to it.

    not Forza 3, netKar, GTR Evo, iRacing etc dont even comes close to the value of GT5

  • Jos

    did a 1.18.8 with the 458 italia, real life is 1.19.1…

    not too bad..

  • Simon

    What’s wrong with CoD?

  • Simon

    Actually, let me rephrase that. What’s so bad about CoD that you needed to bring it up in a post about a completely unrelated game?
    Having seen your previous posts, I’m beginning to understand why you did…

  • Justin ForzaBarça D’Cruze

    Thanks Marty, thats definitely a turn off but its not a gamebreaker I suppose. I’ve had similar issues with some PC titles (simbin titles, rfactor before realfeel, etc) but if the car handles realistically you can cope with it.

  • RKipker

    I thought it was a very good detailed review and Spot On IMHO! 
    Thanks Montoya for taking the time to review the game properly and accurately!

    Once you get into the upper levels, 17-26+ the game is a blast while being frustrating at the same time since  can not drive the cars I want to drive like the R10, Mazda B787, the P4 330, and the Citroen Race Car… not to mention the F10.

  • Eric

    Welp, just tried it with comfort soft tires and on only my 3rd attempt I did a 1:26.9 from a standing start. I thought I was pretty sloppy on that lap; with some more practice I know I could improve through the Hammer Head and Follow-Through portion of the track. In the right hands I think a 1:25 around there with the STi would b easily attainable even on comfort soft tires.

    That’s not as shockingly off as much as my orignal test with a rolling start (can’t believe I forgot the standing start), but still, I’d be willing to bet I’m not 3+ seconds a lap faster than Stiggy on his home track.   🙂

  • Fudge factor

    that yellowhat at nurb is nice.

    cor.

    still, not so very far away from rFactor imo.   better, but not by a country mile.

  • Jezza

    no you just get gtr evo much cheaper, and in the end have a community that makes hundreds of cars and track for the game, it has value in the bucket loads over gt5. And iracing you pay for what you get, and as the team arnt making a profit it cant be said they are ripping people off. Iracing itself is great value, with excellent servers, top A+++ customer support, and constants updates where you can actually see and feel improvements. And the best most challenging racing online bar none!

  • Fudge factor

    While many people argue that these “photos” are essentially renders that have nothing to do with in-game graphics, only part of that is correct.

    Still it’s misleading imo.   Nevertheless, the pics look fabulous.  Hopefully othe DEVS will take note, eh ISI?  😉  

    Good review, thanks.

  • Austin White

    did you even play gt5? if my experience with the game was just going to a friends house for a little bit and playing it there, i wouldnt hvae the full hands on experience of playing it from the begining, buying cars building them up and than racing them. When you own the game you can give a better feel and appreciation for it.

  • Rooster

    Honestly if you think the menus suck, you fail with technology.

    But I agree with the rallying bit, better off trying to copy Sega Rally (ala GT3) than a rally sim. It doesn’t work.

  • Big Ron

    There are some frustrating things at GT5, which make even RACING not as curious as PC-sim racing.

    But the physics for street cars and licensed race cars are fantastic for a console game and the added mechanical damage for online racing makes it even better to have close races.

    All in all, the best racing game for consoles if you see it from the side of DRIVING.

  • holy_sword

    maybe i missed it but did you memtion the “Track Editor” very nice feature. What other sim has this?

  • mike88

    no offence to any of the moddders but anything community makes can be taken withh grain of salt.
    iRacing content is overpriced to even compare to GT5. One of the tracks or cars that you pay for iRacing is 1/5 of the whole GT5 game.

  • Big Ron

    yeah, if you make a shot out of the game, it is always rendered. You never see a screen like “press F12” or something….so everything is ingame 😀

    Of cause replays and driving itself does not look that clean, but ok.

  • Jezza

    yes mike, but as its not a mass release title, they need to charge, and what you pay for is quality! the tracks are 2nd to none. and the cars are amazing in every respect. and no way in hell will you get better races and racers on ps3 or xbox360 then what you do on iracing. and to top it off you get real customer care if you have an issue. and as i stated they havent turned a profit so there is no way in hell they are ripping people off. they offer quality product at very fair price.

  • Jezza

    and anything a community makes taken with a grain of salt? really there are gps and laser scaned tracks out there for rfactor and gtr and you say that… wow. there are even modding groups with ties to profesional teams and drivers. seriously to say taken with a grain of salt is an offence to them. especially when a top developer as polyphony is can not correctly make laguna seca, hell they didnt even try same with the majority of the cars and sounds. so i guess since the majority of the community tries, and polyphony gives 20% then you should say anything polyphony makes should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • paskowitz

    Lets also not forget that as far as street cars are concerned PC games are behind. Most stock car mods are medicore at best. The C6 Vette in rFactor being one of the few exceptions. GT5’s engine seems like it is more suited for street cars than race cars. And since the competition in that field is lacking, I think it is safe to say it simulates street cars better than any other game.

  • Stu

    Please don’t post such ignorant drivel because you resolutely refuse to believe a console ‘game’ can have such a sophisticated physics model.

  • Stu

    In real life you can hop curbs, a couple of VLN or DTM videos will show this is the norm on the Nordshliefe. the only no-no is putting the power down over wet curbs, something I don’t do in GT5.

  • smokeyplayer

    I dont resolutely refuse to belive anything, I know for a fact, Historx has the most realistic ffb I’ve ever felt, you feel the ffb building up It does so much, feels like a real car old school Car without Power Steering, in GT5 you can hardly feel the diffrence between each Car.
    GT5 is a very good game, but Historx is such a stupid comparison, GTR is a better comparison.

  • smokeyplayer

    Rfactor2 new GTR and shift 2, assume sqautting position.

  • sparrow88

    This one so far the best console game ever .By the way I forgot to mention  that you can do carwash & oil change, etc.

  • linkinstreet

    I am not a console gamer. Heck, I borrowed a PS3 just to play this. Anyways from my experience

    – Cars are good to look at, but once you are hours and hours playing in, you don’t care anymore. And you wish that you can turn down the graphics as some tracks do have FPS drop that kind stutters your rythm a bit
    – Feels like playing a racing version of WoW. Grind grind grind grind grind, buy one car. Race one time. Sell. Repeat.
    – Steering input feels better than any other racing titles out there. While there is still some steering lag, it does not feel as apparent as let’s say F1 2010 on default. And that’s good, because something that the post fail to mention, YOU CAN’T ADJUST ANYTHING ON THE STEERING SETUP IF YOU ARE NOT USING THEIR OFFICIAL STEERING WHEEL.
    – FFB is okay’ish. Good enough to feel the car, but not as good if you’re used to some other PC Sim
    – Some cars can cost you more than what you thought you are going to pay, especially 2nd hand cars. For starters, if you want ALL of your BHP shown, you have to change your engine oil, no matter if the car is new. And 2nd hand car will need an engine overhaul, which can cost a lot. I bought an Audi touring car for 900k, did an engine overhaul for 350k, and did a body rigidity fix for 500k! That is nearly 2 mil lost just for one race! And what did I get from that race? Only 300K. The payoff is not worth it. 

    A good racing game. A simulator? I don’t really feel like it. But it’s a good game nontheless

  • KlosterKatten

    While the GT5 AI is not flawless, far from it, that comparison video you put in the review is totally biased, and here is the proof

  • Independent Nigerian car maker

    Might aswell wait for GT6

  • Independent Nigerian car maker

    like in GT3?

  • moschum

    cheers for that review from the perspective of a proper simracer. 
    what wheel were you using, g25? could you elaborate on the force feedback, can you feel the weight transfer at least and is it stiff?

  • smokeyplayer

    why dont you just play rfactor?, why wait for something that isnt that great?, I’d rather wait for rfactor 2.

  • smokeyplayer

    thats rfactor 1 btw, rfactor 2 is using an even better graphical engine.

  • marcante cristiano

    since last month i played all ps3 and xbox360 racing games i bought gt5 too and i was satisfied but now i m a iracing gamer with my new pc , g27 and gameseat station all those console games are for kids i can t play them anymore……forza iracing.and sorry for console gamers but iracing graphic and sound are superb.

  • mike pep

    I have to agree with the review of gt5. It is without doubt the best platform sim racer to date.  Adding a g27 enhance it greatly as did my race sim cockpit. xtremeracer, makes you feel part of the action. Anyone interested http://www.xtremeracer.co.uk

  • http://game-generator.org/ Kirk Apolo

    Gran Turismo has *always* been about sandbox racingbuilding with cars, ergo the personalization, the feeling of having built your way to a goal, slow progression for a bigger, not cheap and easy, reward, with all it’s many options. Taking those away would be the worst thing you could possibly do, consider, there are too many linear and or straight forward car games already available. Some are so dumb a monkey could beat it by holding a button, why make yet another one when you’ve always stood for the place people go to get away from this shallow simplicity that already lines the shelves?

    Some people enjoy the return from conquering complexity, building something through the process that reacts dynamically rewarding you for your changes. That emergent it becomes ‘their own,’ more than just another car model on a screen, and believe it or not people are willing to spend some time to learn a little in order to play in a bigger sandbox.

    Why dumb down the sim city of car games? Jeff, you claim to be a fan of games, as a long time player, what gamer in their right mind didn’t vomit all over the dumbed down CRR(certified retard ready) abomination that was sim societies after realizing that EA had horrendously ravaged it so? Taking out all the sand, buckets and shovels, leaving bare a cheap, overly easy to use plastic husk with a shallow set of pre-assigned identity building sets in it’s wake. EA totally lost sight of makes a sim game, of any type, what it is, don’t do the same. Games Online

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