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Squeezing Blood from Asphault
Posted on Wednesday, April 2 2008 @ 22:07:06 PST

Without a doubt, driving games are my favorite genre. I had practically fallen out of touch with console gaming until a little game called Star Wars Episode 1: Racer entered my life. That pseudo-Wipeout was enough to make me purchase an N64, and less than a year later, the PSX hit Driver got me on board with Sony's console.

Here I am, 9 years later and hundreds upon hundreds of dollars poorer, but like a fraternity pledge being ritualistically paddled, I know I'll soon be asking for more, regardless of the cost.

And what a cost it will be! Not too long from now, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will be hitting store shelves and the Playstation Network. Offering online play (finally), sixty cars and six tracks, the package looks a bit puny next to its closest competitor, Forza Motorsport 2. Forza has the advantage of being a full priced, full featured stand alone title, but that's sort of the point.

What the hell is Polyphony up to, here? The father of Gran Turismo, Yamauchi, has admitted to never even trying the Forza games on for size. The only explanation I can seem to muster for this scenario is that Polyphony is big on pandering and even bigger on making money from it. A "Prologue" for Gran Turismo 4 was released in Japan back when PS2 was top dog, and its sales numbers are obvious cause for this second attempt, right?

If only it were that easy. Oh, ****... it is that easy. While the fundamental structure of the console hierarchy has changed drastically since Gran Turismo 4 Prologue, the undeniable truths of console, genre and franchise fanboyism haven't changed a bit. Couple that with the relatively small game library on PlayStation 3 and there's little doubt in my mind that this game will sell extremely well.

This is really a difficult ploy for me to insult, though. Like I said, I love driving games. Honestly, I plan on purchasing Gran Turismo 5 Prologue the day it comes out, assuming I have the money. Online play is something I've been wanting from Gran Turismo titles since the birth of the PlayStation 2, and this almost-game will offer that much long before the real deal comes in to existence. In case my wallet was worried it would be holding on to this $40, the in-cockpit camera in this game will be breathtaking. I'm a total sucker for first person driving when developers don't take the easy way out by assuming you drive with your face firmly against the windshield or, better yet, mounted on the grill.

$40 sounds a little steep, considering I'll be throwing down another $60 weeks later for Grand Theft Auto 4, but it's a price I will end up paying, one way or another. Like my father before me, I'm a ramblin' man with a lead foot. It may make walking a bit of a chore but, hey, walking's for suckers.
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