|Gran Turismo Gran Turismo HD (2007)
A generous freebie letting PlayStation 3 owners see what they bought their console for. While it’s not exactly worth £425 (the price of a new console at launch), it is comfortably the most satisfying and impressive free download ever offered on any console.
Technically it’s lovely with a rock-solid frame-rate, highly convincing graphics (replays are the closest we’ve ever come to photo-realistic) and sound.
The Gran Turismo handling is present and correct with the first-person view a delight to use thanks to the amount of visual feedback that is delivered. Remarkably, you don’t miss rumble at all. Though Gran Turismo was a pioneer of rumble feedback,
don’t miss rumble at all
it’s always been the the dipping and leaning of the first-person view that provided all the feedback that makes this series so much better to drive that just about all other driving games. As has been the case with every entry so far, just driving in this game is better than racing, blowing stuff up, using the Force and saving the world in almost all other games.
Gameplay-wise it offers something not found in any Gran Turismo game to date – a dedicated Drift Trial mode – but it would have been nice if target times had been supplied for all the variations in the game (only ten of the sixty time trials have a target time: Time Trial / Normal Cars / Forward direction).
Also the ten target times supplied are pointlessly easy. If sixty representative times had been supplied, then there would be absolutely no cause for complaint and the demo would have been much much better. A Gold / Silver / Bronze system would have been the icing on the cake.
That said, it seems rather pernickety to moan about free content. Instead of being challenged by Polyphony Digital you have to content yourself with challenging online times. Generally, these are hilarious but I’ve set myself the standard of giving myself a Gold with a top 100 provisional ranking. Managed it once so far (best 56th) and, frankly, rather pleased with that.
With it being a downloaded game, it is always on your PlayStation 3 ready for five minutes here (which always turns into half-an-hour) without needing to find the game disc.
Please note: the bestest free download ever is “Trackmania Nations ESWC Edition” which was an unlimited, uncrippled full free game and, currently, the greatest online racer ever. It was supplied as part of the Electronic Sports World Cup in 2006.