The Gran Turismo series has always been blooming brilliant. Perhaps a bit geeky with its car obsessive nature, and the lack of vehicle damage has always been a source of irritation, but it’s always been a cracking drive.

With the full fifth instalment arriving next year, Sony have been happy enough to release a little stop gap. The budget priced Gran Turismo 5 Prologue might only pack 6 tracks and 71 cars, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a thrilling ride.

Also available via download on the PlayStation Network, there’s a lot of excitement about this one. And a quick tour can show you just why.

Gran Turismo – as you all should know – is a real hardcore racing title. It’s all about tweaking your suspension, and fiddling with your tyre pressure to eek out those few hundredths of a second out of your motor.

Shockingly enough, the talented folks behind this popular series haven’t gone and deviated away from the tried and tested course. What kind of fools would go and change what’s proven so incredibly popular after all? The series has sold umpteen millions!

For your budget price, you don’t get quite as much as the previous games. The number of cars is way below every other version, as is the number of tracks.

And in all honesty, the tracks aren’t all that exciting. The London course is a highlight, and the one we’ve all trundled around numerous times during the free Gran Turismo HD is as exciting as ever. But outside those two, it’s all bland ovals and long dull bends.

Similarly the cars seem to fall into one of two baskets; fun time thrill packed fast, and dull as murky dishwater slow. The early vehicles simply don’t offer the pace to keep you gripped, and it’ll take a few hours before you unlock the really fun examples. Plus, there’s an incredibly fast (but expensive) Formula 1 car just waiting to be unlocked too for real petrol heads.

Not that things out on the track are in any way dull. A big contention with previous titles in the series has been your competitor’s absolute addiction with sticking to the racing line. The buggers wouldn’t deviate unless absolutely necessary.

This time around they’ve actually got their own minds. You’ll spy them spinning off at corners, tyre’s smoking as they break far too late for that devilishly tight corner, allowing you to nip through the inside to victory. The races are much more exciting than ever before.

Another staple of the series has always been stunning looks. And its one that’s been continued to absolute stunning effect here. Get this beast running on one of your expensive HD ready televisions and you’ve got a real treat for the old eyes. The cars themselves are made up of an incredible amount of pixels in comparison to the still impressive Gran Turismo 4, and it shows. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is the new graphical standard for all PS3 developers to look at in the future.

Not that aesthetically things are 100%. On the two tracks we mentioned earlier, once a few cars are on screen the action can have the odd stutter. Not something you’d expect from a machine as powerful as the PS3.

Still no damage either, which is a real shame. Though with the producer coming out and claiming that damage is to come “very, very soon” it shouldn't be too long before we're bashing our favourite motors around like there’s no tomorrow.


If all this reads a little negatively, it’s only because we all know just how thrilling a Gran Turismo game is out on the track.

For petrol heads, and any gamer even vaguely interested in motoring should pick up this budget beauty.