I was pissed at Gran Turismo 5 Prologue this morning. Great game and all that, but when you spend ages trying to perfect a lap time only to find out that you're doing it TOO PERFECT to compete with the top guys, something's gone wrong.
So I woke up a little earlier than usual this morning. It's 5:46am and I'm done with sleep so, with two hours to kill, I contemplate my options. I could overdose on toast, subject myself to a bit of GMTV or, because it was far too early in the morning for you know what, I could play some games. (Or you could write some news maybe? - Ed)
Games got my vote. PS3, GT5 Prologue - I thought I'd see if I could post some top times in the Time Trial mode. Call me a geek, but I like online time trials, especially when I know I'm good enough at a game to crawl into around the top 30 in the online rankings.
I'd just bought the Nissan GT-R '07, so I took it out onto the High Speed Ring course that comes new in the PAL version of the game.
I hit the course, all driving aids turned off (because driving aids are for girls), and put in a time of 1:14 - not bad. But I know I can do better. I continue lapping round until I pull my time down to within the 1:12s. That got me into the top 100, but I want top 20.
Bettering a 1:12 time isn't easy. That's the point where you have to get the tyres squealing within millimetres of their life, and hitting the brake or accelerator just a second out of time can screw up the whole lap.
So, naturally, this is the point where you only improve on your time (slightly) maybe once every six to ten laps. I'm full awake now too.
Improvement is gradual and time consuming. Each time I bang in a lap a few hundredths faster I look to the ranking notice that appears on screen, but it's still in the high 70s.
"F*** sake," I'm thinking. I'm taking corners so on the edge I'm missing walls by a hair and braking later than the AA would advise. How could the guys online possibly be going round the course a full 1.3 seconds faster than me?
I decide to find out by downloading the ghost car of the number one time and racing it. And what a farce that turned out to be.
While I had been shaving milliseconds off my time by following Hamilton-beating racing lines around the track, and perfecting my technique over the course of two hours, the person who leads the online leaderboard just bounces off the frickin' walls!
GT5 Prologue's lack of car damage means that dodgy players can use the metal barriers on two of the corners in the course to bounce round faster than any racing line you or I can take. It's a joke.
Sure, it takes a degree of skill to execute because if you don't hit the wall just right you'll either loose too much speed or the game will penalise you for a barrier collision and take your acceleration powers away for a few seconds. But hit it just right and you're away.
For me that completely wrecks the whole notion of a 'perfect lap' and has destroyed my love of Prologue's Time Trial mode.
That was that, then - my incentive to set a top time demolished. I don't hate the game. On the contrary I'm still totally absorbed by its otherwise realistic driving model. It's just those inevitable conniving few, always present on the internet (and in forums), that will go out of their way to find a way to cheat their way to the highest score. If this was the Olympics, you'd be banned for life from the Leaderboards.
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