An extremely over-analyzed, long, comparison of GT5 to competitors (young and old)

Eunos_Cosmo

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Let me first start this inevitably long post by clearly stating that I think that GT5 is the best driving game ever made. Especially with a wheel, the feel of driving is nothing short of fantastic. However, this alone does not exempt GT5 from criticism. I'm going to keep this strictly about the actual driving...nothing to do with game structure or any of that. The basic purpose of this thread is to explore GT5, perhaps the most significant video game in the genre ever, and hopefully create a discussion about where the 'industry' is headed and what could make racing/driving games better.

The competition:

The competition I picked for GT5 was, admittedly, what I had laying around. This consisted of three xbox games and nothing else. I DO NOT HAVE A WHEEL FOR XBOX, so I'm am writing this openly favoring GT5's controls from the start. That stated, here are the other games:

Forza Motorsports 3
Project Gotham Racing 4
Need for Speed shift

I chose them because, well I had them, and they are games intending to replicate real life cars with varying degrees of accuracy/realism.

My 'review' consists of a variety of categories that I'm thinking of while I type this; think of it as a stream of consciousness-type of comparison. I am the Jack Kerouac of amateur-video-game-internet analyzing!

Sound:

I am a bit of an audiophile to be honest. (In fact i'm listening to Ludwig Van while I type this!) Therefore a car's aural character is important to me. This, then, becomes a HUGE part of a video game especially considering that only 2 out of 5 senses that are ordinarily used while driving in a real car are present in a game; that is sight and sound.

I am going to give a subjective score for each game, then sort of break down the reasoning for those.

Sound Design:
Gran Turismo 5: 8
Need for Speed Shift: 8
Project Gotham Racing 4: 10
Forza Motorsports 3: 7

(from herein, all games will be designated by their commonly known acronyms, damn these racing games and their stupidly long names!)

I think that GT5, NFS-S, and FM3 all show a fairly good base sound engine. The effects are all pretty equal (to my ears) with nice sort of doppler effects and the like. Things like sputtering on downshifts and other small nuances and details are all present. I'm not exactly a professional when it comes to sound, but it seems like they all have a good base to start with. PGR4 goes past the others though, everything sounds so polished and precise.

Sound Accuracy:
GT5: 6
NFS-S: 8
PGR4: 11
FM3: 7

GT5 car's, on the whole, sound bad. There, I said it. Before going back and playing other games, I had grown accustomed to the sounds of GT5 and felt they were pretty good. They aren't though. It's almost as if PD doesn't believe in intake noise, which provides at least 50% of a car's aural character. You can take a car known to have fantastic induction roar (such as a Civic Type R) or something characterized by huge turbo whistle (F40, Mine's R34) and there is almost nothing on the intake sound. Instead, they have something resembling 'engine noise' which is just belts whirring around and such. Not good. This is GT5's biggest downfall to me. Tire noise is very artificial sounding.

NFS-S makes all the right moves...but it makes too many moves at the same time. Engine noises are (fairly) faithfully reproduced (my test car was a Ford GT in all 4 games) and there is a good mix of intake/exhaust/environment/tire noise (lets call this IEET for the time being) but they make everything sound like a no-nonsense race car. Why should a stock Civic Si belch great big backfires from the exhaust and have a shrieking, straight-cut gearbox? All of this overlayed garnish, this unnecessary embellishment, really drowns out what could really be a fantastic sounding game.

FM3 commits the ultimate sin. It is completely un-objectionable, and yet nothing really rises above average at any point. All of the cars sound 'somewhat right' but nothing sounds stellar. The IEET balance is fairly good, but again, it is nothing unforgettable. One word encompasses FM3's sound...that word is generic.

PGR4. Spectacular. The first car I drove, the Ford GT, has an absolutely uncanny resemblance to the real car. I'm sure you could compare videos on youtube and see for yourself...but the feeling is just perfect. From in the cockpit view, the sound of the massive 5.4 is somewhat muffled (which is an exquisite detail all but omitted from the other three) but the unmistakable whir of a twin screw blower is always present, layered perfectly over top of the dirty bass note of the V8. The next car I drove, a Ruf RGT was even more impressive. The gutteral nature of a highly tuned flat six is truly special. From low revs, the pounding bass produced by the resonance in the intake manifold transforms into this Pavarotti-like howl at high RPM's as the pure volume of the exhaust completely envelopes everything else, almost curling back and layering over itself in it's delivery. The sound has so much depth, you can almost see it, not to mention feel it. I've played no other game, ever, that even comes close to this miraculous musical instrument, but PGR4 nails it so perfectly, I feel like I am in the car. I won't write about the Enzo, because I'd probably have a crisis, but it is also fantastic. In fact every car I drove (over 20 probably) sounded absolutely authentic. The IEET is also just about perfect, with the induction roar properly emanating from the front of the engine and the exhaust from the rear. In the cabin, the mix is just sexy. Overall PGR4 creates a visceral sound environment, in a word, it is beautiful. Take note polyphony digital, please.

For sound, I think that about does it. I'll make a post later down about the actual driving, and then visuals.
 

Eunos_Cosmo

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You'll have to wait until my other parts are finished for my perfect combination, but it would DEFINITELY be PGR4 sounds in the mix.
 

ja404

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I haven't heard the sounds from some of those games, but I will entirely agree that the sounds in GT5 are average at best. I know i've definitely heard better. However, i've never any of the GT games with surround sound and don't know how much this adds to the experience. What sort of sound setup are you using? That may be relevant.
 

JipJopJones

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I have yet to play GT5, but if what you say is true, I'll be ateast a bit disapointed. I remember in GT4 a fully tuned Chevelle SS with race exausted sounded more like a vacuum cleaner than a roaring Big Block powered muscle car.
 

Eunos_Cosmo

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I'm not sure about that particular car in GT5, but it is much the same story. A race modded, 900+hp Corvette ZR1 sounds like a 4 cylinder.
 

Topgearfanatic

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They're are the bad moments, like the RM'd ZR1 sounding like a civic, but there are great moments like a RM'd 69 Camaro, that sounds like sex in exhaust form.
 
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