Part 2 of 2
Mazdaspeed3 VS Porsche VS NSX VS S2000 Turbo VS… at Mosport International Raceway 2010
Part 2 of 2
Mazdaspeed3 VS Porsche VS NSX VS S2000 Turbo VS… at Mosport International Raceway 2010
Here is a video of me in my Ultimate Racing Stage 2. Mazdaspeed 3 with KW V2 coil over suspension at a track day at Mosport International Raceway in 2010. I was using Toyo R888 Dot tires. I had to put music over the sound because me and the passenger were talking too much (it’s quite embarrassing!) As you can see, the Mazdaspeed3 makes for a capable platform and with a few mods, you can play with High Performance sports cars that cost significantly more money!
There are times when you speak your mind it upsets people, There are times you write something it later comes back to slap you in the face. There are times you should swallow your pride and do what’s right, but this is not one of those times. It seems shortly after I wrote an article about all the problems I found with Gran Turismo 5, BAM! they come out with an update. I praise them for doing so but something that should have been done before the games release.
The update deals with several issues I had written about in my 2 part Gran Turismo, Gran Disappointment article. While I play GT5, I was relived to see the improvements issued in the update. The full list of fixes are listed on the Gran Turismo 5 website
I sometimes wonder if they read this article and put a fire under there butt’s to get the update out. Chances of that are slim but I am glad they made changes on several of my complaints. One of those is the fully adjustable transmission. I can now tune the cars transmission exactly the way I want
The addition of Ballast weight is perfect for the online gaming. You can now add weight to your car to bring it up to race limitations based on user’s settings. The also have another feature called the “Power Limiter”. This feature allows you to reduce your power on your vehicle. I don’t know how I feel about this option. On one hand it’s a brilliant idea to make you car eligible to enter races. On the other hand, it does remove some of the fun of changing parts, removing tuned ECU, installing a smaller turbo to reduce your power. In a way it eliminates the point of having a choice of all the exchangeable parts. Perhaps it’s for entering you favorite car that does not have the option to purchase parts or simply has too much horsepower in stock form. It does add variety to how many cars can be used for a particular race which is what I had a problem with earlier.
The update was something GT5 definitely needed, although I still have a problem with choice of cars and a few other issues, the update has me playing online more then before and to be able to compete with my choice of cars adds to gaming satisfaction.
Really hope a new update comes to help with the endurance races. Till next time.
Living in the north has put me in a bored state of affairs waiting for this damn snow to melt and the local race tracks to open. Until that time, I am forced to pretend with a new driving simulator. While I was hoping Gran Turismo 5 would hold me until the spring, I find myself giving this game a review because of my disappointment with it. When we last parted, I had broken down all the features removed from the game. It is now time to discuss game play and featured cars.
When I first saw the commercial for Gran Turismo 5, there mention of over a thousand cars got my excited. I was thinking like most of you that we would see new cars we never saw in previous versions of GT. There were some deserving to be there and asking ourselves where the hell were these car. Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Jay Leno’s Tank Car, and many others we were quite happy to welcome. Polyphony Digital (makers of GT) also decided to add some cars that I find questionable. When you take a closer look at the selection of cars, several of them are from a time most of us were not born and many of them could be outrun by radio controlled cars.
There are a few cars that come in particular. You will find such cars as the Daihatsu Midget 98, Citroen 2CV type A 1954, Volkswagen Kubelwagen, TYP82 1944, etc. Some of these classic cars definitely are a part of automotive history and many of them are valued by enthusiast’s and collectors. In all honesty and to be quite blunt, they have no F word + ing business in this game that focuses on racing. In my opinion, it was a waste of space that could have been used to either improve the game or model cars that would have better suited the game. For every car I thought should not be there, I can think of another to take its place.
Another issue I had with the selection of cars are variations. If you look at the Honda S2000 list, there are 18 different variations of this vehicle. Is it really necessary to have this many models? In particular, the 1999 and 2001 Honda S2000 have absolutely no difference between these 2 models with the exception of a radio upgrade. It seems to me the programmers were just trying to fill gaps and got lazy. All they would have to do with these 2 cars is model one of them, copy and paste, and change the year. That’s thinking for you.
Many ask me what you would put in place of cars that should not be there. I am a gear head like many others and this is an easy question to answer. Here is just a few of the cars I would personally like to have seen.
|The VW Scirocco would have been an excellent choice to add to this game. Its sleek look and potent 16V 1.8 L engine would have made this car a popular pick among the line up of GT cars.|
|The 1993-2002 Pontiac Firehawk was a package version of the Firebird that featured in 2002 a 345hp engine. These cars are quite rare and would have been a model worthy of competition in Gran Turismo.|
|There are very few words to describe this Mazda. This among others should have made the cut for the game. Sporting a 16V Turbocharged engine with 4 wheel drive, Rally definitely comes to mind when I think of this machine.|
|Gran Turismo has some pick-up challenges in this game. While there are a few note worthy trucks. The fact that we do not see GMC Syclone in the game boggles my mind. You may ask this thing looks like a Chevy S1o so what’s the difference. The fact that this humble truck was equipped with a 280 hp and 350 lb·ft 4.3 L V6 turbo should say it all. 0-60 mph 4.6 second with a 13.06 second quarter mile.|
|What can I say about the second generation Integra. It hurts me to know that Gran Turismo in its history has never had this model in any of there games. This is one of my favorite cars, but there is a very good reason why this among most cars should be in the game. It is the very first model to introduce Honda’s V-TEC system. The first V-TEC production car rolled off the line in 1989. Stupid you might ask? Your damn right it is. Perhaps Polyphony Digital will try to fix this in GT6.|
|The Wraith was one of those gearhead movies that had you fall in love this this one of a kind car. The Dodge Turbo Interceptor is a mid engine 2.2 L Twin Turbo, producing 440 hp. Top speed tested by Road and Track was on awesome 194.8 mph. Who the hell said 4 banger’s can’t make power. Many did especially in the mid 1980′s. This would have been a fun car to have to complete those exotic car races.|
|The Dodge Omni Shelby edition was powered by a 2.2 L Turbo engine. This hatchback from the 80′s was seen frequently on the race track as well as a few on the streets during the night. A car that has been forgotten by some should have been remembered in Gran Turismo 5.|
The introduction of rendered damage is also another featured that GT fans were waiting for. I decided to put this to the test using the Amuse NISMO 380RS Super Leggera. I spent the next 7 minutes pounding the hell out of the car. Needless to say the alignment was out of wack, the left rear tire had a severe toe in angle, and the car barely moved. The first 4 collisions feel real as far as alignment issues were concerned. After 7 minutes of head on collisions, side swipes, downshifting from 6th gear to 1st at 120mph, I failed to blow my engine, make it smoke, and just plain out destroy the car. Pictured below is an example of what the car looked like after the 7 min thrashing. I would like to have seen a head on collision put you out of the race, or at least stop the engine from running. Oil spills on the track is a feature that could have also been added.
The actual game play is great as previously mentioned in part 1. Overall the game has not put an impression on me that screams GREAT. Instead it reminds me of a really bad Hollywood movie. Stunning graphics and online play can only take a game so far much like some of the movies we watch. Great visual effects but a failure to connect with the audience seems to be a problem that seems to extend into everything for the sake of making a buck.
With the exception of the online gaming, more (many useless) cars and better graphics, Gran Turismo 5 has not come through with all that I was expecting. 4+ years is a long to time to develop a game. You would think after so much time, more thought would have been put into development, choice of cars, and a better tune shop that should have included the ability to change cams, engine swaps, and no limitations to what you can tune just to name the few. How cool would it have been to add a Hampton style supercharger to a 60′s muscle car and seeing it through the cockpit view.
Its time Polyphony Digital put its thinking cap on, fire idiots working for them, and really gear up if they want to be on a competitive level. Start fresh is my advice to them. With Forza 4 around the corner, things are not looking so hot for GT5.
Gran Turismo. When the game first hit the shelves May 12, 1998, it was viewed as one of the greatest racing games of all time. Not only did it offer real racing simulation, but offered a variety of different cars that could be modified, tuned, tweaked specifically for the type of driver behind the wheel, err controller….well if you had the money, a gaming steering wheel. What made the game different from the rest was the choice of everyday cars we drove. To make a game that can have you virtually tune any of these cars was in my opinion<<<(Yes kids, I wrote in my opinion as opposed to IMO. This is what’s expected of you when you write resumes and other important documents)…was in my opinion a game that set itself away from the rest of the previous racing games which only offered high end cars that most of us can’t afford and very limited tuning capabilities. The only real racing simulation that came close was Atari’s Hard driving arcade came that came equipped with full force feedback 900 degree steering, clutch, gated 4 speed transmission and so on. Of course to play this game required a truck load of quarters just to learn not to stall the car. Of course the choice of automatic was available but what fun would that be. Gran Turismo was such a great game, it was the number 1 selling game for the Playstaion 1 console.
Many other games under the Gran Turismo franchise would follow. Gran Turismo 2 (GT2), was followed a year later from the first release of GT1 featuring more cars and tracks. As we were introduced to the Playstation 2, gear heads awaited the arrival of GT3 that finally released a year after the release of Playstation 2 (PS2). GT3 was a major improvement over the following 2 GT games. Although there were fewer cars, room was made to improve game play including graphics and specs on each car. At last GT4 was released, with this release came the good, the bad, and the ugly. The ugly was the online gaming mode(which one do you ask? exactly), the bad was GT4′s inability to render any damage to the car and the ability to cheat on many tracks by ways of short cuts. The good was the variety of cars to choose from. Over 700 from 80 manufactures set GT4 aside from its previous predecessor’s. While some of the vehicles may have been unfit for Gt4, it was overall an impressive game to play. Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear ultimately gave GT4 a thumbs up telling everyone the only draw back was no consequence of crashing head on into a wall. With the arrival of the PS3 in the shadows shortly after GT4 was released, the anxious wait for GT5 tickled all our brains wondering how it would look and play on Sony’s newest creation.
A full 4 years later almost to the day after PS3 was released, GT5 was released. My first impression of the game was all praise. I played a demo at the local best buy on a 3DTV and needless to say, it was freaking phenomenal. Playing through the drivers seat and visual having depth of perception in the corners gave GT5 a real chance at overtaking Forza Motorsport to take top spot in the driving simulation experience. So impressed I let my 12 year old son spend his EB games gift card on GT5 for me. My first test was to check the online gaming. This was a feature many GT fans have waited for after getting ripped from GT4. Needless to say it works. Never played yet, just checked if it was there. Playing all the GT’s since its first release, I am somewhat a veteran at the game and knew exactly what I was looking for. Improved menu control was key and they nailed it with easy menu operation on 1 screen opposed to a scrolling screen on GT4. The game play was also improved with 60 frames per second pretty much locked for most of the game play. The massive choice of vehicle was also a breath of fresh air featuring Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, and even a few NASCAR’s for a new racing style for those NASCAR fans. Go karts were also included in the mix for some low riding action. The addition of damage rendered was really a big plus when it comes to simulation driving.
So you are probably thinking with all this good stuff, what’s with the title? There are several flaws and several questionable things that involve this game. Lets start off with my biggest problem of them all. The dreaded Endurance races. I really question why GT5 has these races at all. I can understand why they would put them in being there are real world endurance races such as the 24 Hour of Le-mans. But let’s be honest, Most of us that play will never race on a track or be real race car drivers. Who in the hell has the time to complete one of these races. Most of us have work, school, or other responsibilities we have to consider before spending 24 hours in front of a TV. Real drivers do it yes. But there are real world paid race car drivers. A huge fail in the save department. There is no option to save your progress mid race during one of the many endurance races. There is no option to have your driver that you train in b-spec mode to take over while you are at work. Some of you may just simply leave the PS3 running and pause for a week. Smart if you live by yourself but not that simple for most families. Little Billy might want to play his CAR’s game and bigger brother won’t let him because it requires turning off the system. The wife will shut-off the system without even asking to watch her new Friends Blu-ray disk. Why in the world would there not be an option to save is beyond me.
The tune shop is also a disappointment. I would have figured by now that the amount of modifications we see cars go through on shows like Overhauling, Pimp My Ride, and a few others, you would think the option to modify every car would be a given. Not the case. There are still limitation’s on what kind of vehicle can be turbocharged, engine modified, lightened, etc. Why the limitations? Why not be able to modify every vehicle in the game. Why can’t I turbocharge my 76 Corvette. Is it because it has a carburetor? Why did they not offer the option to be able to convert to fuel injection. This is a proven way to add horsepower.
Gran Turismo as you know finally got the online multiplayer to work and seems to work pretty good. They also offer “Time Trial” events that allow players from around the world to compete against each other for best time considering the weight and power limitations for the course. Taking a closer look at the best times, all the players used a steering device of some sort for precision and all have great times. As for me, I use the controller and while I don’t have the precision of the wheel and pedals, I do have the experience to run a trial at a competitive level. In a particular time trial based on the London track, I decided to use a Honda Civic. I was able to squeeze 57.00 second lap time on the test track. I could have shaved a few seconds off that time but GT5 has put several other limitations. The fully customizable transmission should have been called the “Fully Half-Ass Transmission” All the previous versions of GT gave you the ability to tune your transmission gears and final drive individually. GT5 however only allows a limited tunable transmission based on top speed. This is a huge failure as now I can not set my transmission specifically to my driving style. In short, my choice with top speed selection resulted with great acceleration in the time trail but would run out of gear on the straight away. This could have easily been corrected in GT4 by tuning my 5th and 6th gears to reach maximum speed on the longest straight away before slowing for the turn.
I have now been forced to change my driving style because they thought this set-up would be easier for everyone. The worst thing about this is the manual does not flat out tell you you can no longer tune gears individually. They dance around the issue about how it is not recommended that beginners attempt to individual change gears. The on screen menu as shown is setup like you could have the option to change gears individual with separate menu buttons on each gear that have been crudely locked off. Players are left to try and figure this out themselves which in my opinion<<(there it is again) is a slap in the face with the little point of the finger at you and a HA-HA fooled ya. There are rumors about the internet that you can unlock the adjustments of individual ratio’s once you reach level 40. Level 40 is a long ways from level 1 or even level 20.
To put things in perspective, lets look at some real world numbers. A US Acura RSX Type-S 6 speed transmission has a 4.389 final drive ratio while the Japan’s Civic Type-R utilizes a 5.062 final drive. Swapping these final drives in real life is very popular with Honda enthusiast as both vehicles have the same gear ratio’s 1-6. GT5 with its limitations, does not allow you to tune this specific setting. Knowing from personal experience that many people who race on the weekends and small event’s will set up there car’s just like this example. If you compare this real life example vs GT5, you should have been able to unlock this feature at level 10 if unlocking is even possible. These races featured in GT5 (Sunday Cup, FF drive challange, etc.) are the beginner races using everyday cars. If they are trying to make a simulator, you should not have to reach level 40 before you are able to tune your transmission for Sunday Cup races.
At the end of all this tuning and testing, I figure I will just do the time trail to get my name up. My Honda Civic seems to be too light weight to compete on this time trial. I looked to add weight to my Civic and bring it up to weight specifications. Just when I thought I had seen it all, GT5 has now removed the ability to add weight and balance that weight in your car opposed to GT4 that had this option.
At this point in time I am quite upset with this whole thing. I don’t have a vehicle within specs to compete in this time trial, I can’t undo any weight reduction I did, and I can’t add weight to enter my fully tuned car into the time trial. This real driving simulator is starting to annoy me with limitations that do not make any sense. The only way to enter a car is to buy a car that’s close to the to time trial specifications and limitations, modify, test and tune. As seen in the previous online time trials, it seems most view the fastest time, check what car they used, and use that exact same car to try to get a better time. Not having the ability to add weight to all cars is a serious hamper on the variety of cars that could be used in each time trial event that would ultimately makes these events more interesting.
Part 2 of this review, we will discuss the cars and game play. See you then