Gran Turismo 5 Nitpicking Exceeds Expectations

Despite being released to a metascore of 86 and selling 1.8 million copies worldwide in just two days (to put that in perspective, Halo Reach still hasn’t sold that much in EMEAA countries), Gran Turismo 5 has suffered a barrage of bitch slaps by fanboys since its release.

Here are just a few examples of articles that currently litter N4G’s news feed:

Gran Turismo 5: Flying Karts and Texture Loading Problems from the Final Build in Action

Gran Turismo 5 Graphical Review

Gran Turismo 5 Installed vs. non Installed

GT5: Can this be true? Incredibly ugly standard cars

Gran Turismo 5: Online mode is full of problems

GT5 is full of bugs

Gran Turismo 5: Non Premium Cars Look Awful

While its certainly true that many of the scores given out by reviews are incredibly minor disappointments as most gamers were expecting hordes of 90%+ ratings, a metascore of 86% is very good, as are the early sales indications and general feedback from the gaming community who are after all, the ones who really matter.

Where Gran Turismo 5 is unparalleled is in the nitpicking from the rest of the community. When Halo: Reach. Forza 3 and various other Xbox exclusives were released N4G was spared the cavalcade of articles comparing various in-game models and angrily complaining that “they look less like real life and more like a videogame”. No shit.

That’s not to say that it’s the Xbox community who are largely to blame for the reaction GT5 has been getting; the PS3 community demonstrated extraordinary hubris and even started the in-game model comparisons, frequently comparing screenshots to Forza 3 and declaring it “a game-changer” and “better than real life” way before the first actual gameplay footage had been released.

GT5 seems to have set a precedent of nitpicking, and one that could possibly be applied to every hyped console exclusive from now on.

The fact of the matter is that Gran Turismo 5 is nowhere near a flop. If VGChartz is to be believed (and to be honest, it probably isn’t), it sold more in the first two days than Mass Effect 2 did in ten weeks. From this it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a financial success and with positive reviews across the board this is bolstered even more. Granted, it’s not as perfect as we’d have liked it to be but a majority of the big issues that reviewers had with the game can be sorted out with future game updates and patches. Knowing Yamauchi’s dedication to the game this is a near certainty.

Has EA snuck Bad Company 2’s Vietnam Expansion Pack onto Consoles?

PS3 owners hoping to play a few quick rounds of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 may be surprised to be greeted by a mandatory update a whopping 1752Mb in size.

On the official Battlefield Blog, EA explains the mammoth size as being “in preparation for our upcoming VIP Map Pack 7 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam” and offers a “complete list of fixes” which are:

– Acog and Red dot scope now equippable on MK-14 and G3.

– Fixed a bug on PC where the G3 would do less damage than intended.

– Reduced VADS push back and damage to balance it with the ZU23.

– Fixed a bug where Vehicle Countermeasures would fail to remove tracer darts at high speed.

– Reduced the reload time for Vehicle Countermeasures.

– Slightly increased the AT4’s damage vs armor to emphasize its anti vehicle role while keeping it balanced vs armor.

– Increased the AT4’s top speed and acceleration so users spend less time exposed when firing.

– Increased the AT4’s splash damage so it competes with other AT weapons vs infantry. The AT4 still has the least splash damage of all AT weapons.

– Reduced the splash damage of the Carl Gustav to bring it in line with other explosive weapons. The Carl Gustav still has the most splash damage of all AT weapons.

– Increased the 1 shot kill range of the M95 body shot to counter its lower rate of fire.

– Fixed a bug with the SVU that gave it better close range damage than other semi auto weapons.

– Reduced all weapon damage to the MCOM by 50%.

– Fixed a C4 vs MCOM exploit on Atacama Desert.

– Fixed a bug with FOV when aiming the M1911.

– Lowered the close range damage of the AN94 to highlight its long range role.

– Increased the accuracy of the F2000 on the move to highlight its role as a mobile AR.

– Increased the close range damage of the shotguns to give them a greater advantage vs slugs.

– Slightly lowered the damage of the M60 to balance its accuracy advantage vs other LMGs.

– Slightly lowered the damage of the MG3 at close range to balance it with other high rate of fire weapons.

– Slightly increased the damage of the UH6

The list is obviously not complete and changes to benefit the release of a new map pack and the Vietnam expansion pack have evidently been left out of this list since it’s highly unlikely that 20 very simple and very minor changes to weapon and vehicle specifications would rack up a size close to 2 gigabytes of data, such patches are usually well under 100Mb.

It seems likely that EA have actually put in all, or at least a majority of the data required for the upcoming map pack as well as the Vietnam expansion pack, something which contains just 4 new maps, 6 new vehicles and 15 new weapons and would easily fit inside an update 1752Mb in size.

If this is the case, it means that when Bad Company 2: Vietnam is released, you’ll just be paying $15 to unlock content already existent on your hard drive, a practice that EA already have some experience of, with the actually content downloaded once purchasing Bad Company’s Onslaught mode being less than 1Mb in size. Gamers could also pay to unlock content in EA’s Tiger Woods 2007 that could easily be unlocked by playing through the game. A quick web search reveals hordes of gamers frustrated by this increasingly common practice, one which is not just utilised by EA.

It’s easy to see why this is done, paying for extra content and not having to wait for it to download is a lot more appealing than the alternative but then it’s also easy to see why the principle of paying for content you already possess can be irksome to gamers.

Could the Reviews of Gran Turismo 5 even affect its Sales at this point?

At present, the gaming world is waiting eagerly for the review embargo on Polyphony Digital’s highly anticipated, ultra-realistic racing simulator Gran Turismo 5 to be lifted at 8:01am GMT on Wednesday.

Currently, N4G’s news feed is littered with links to newly uploaded screenshots and gameplay videos posted by those lucky enough to have received their copies early as gamers pore over any new scrap of media they can get their hands on until the official verdicts can be released.

Early impressions seem highly positive, with Gameinformer stating:

The game not only looks as good as advertised, but each vehicle also handles really well, giving you a great flavor of all kinds of vehicles and the various challenges associated with their braking, horsepower, engine placement, etc. Snow, night, and rain weather effects throw a kink in some of your best-laid racing plans, but tackling the elements is all part of the experience.”

The above sentiments are also echoed by posters on various forums although OPM claims that the AI “remains a long way short of passing the Turing Test”.

Should the unpredictable (and highly unlikely) happen, with Gran Turismo 5 not earning the triple A ratings expected of it, it seems doubtful that this would put off potential buyers.

UK retailer ShopTo.net has stated that pre-order sales for the game “went through the roof” and it’s still in the top 5 at Amazon.com, casting doubts on whether the GT5 momentum could be halted by a string of mediocre views.

Furthermore, the timing of the release couldn’t be better for Polyphony Digital, considering the newly crowned Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel was involved with the production of the game and even featured in a trailer, seen below:

Although strangely, neither Sony or Polyphony Digital have chosen to exploit his involvement in the game in light of his recent success.

With the game officially released tomorrow, along with the reviews, only time will tell whether it’s the racing experience we’ve all been waiting for.