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Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Demo Impressions

     So the other night I downloaded the GT5 Time Trial demo to try and get an early taste of GT5 before it hits next year (hopefully).Now before I go any further let me say that, like most racing fans, the GT series was my introduction to racing sims. I spent a good portion of my life playing the first two GT games and loved every minute of it. But by the time GT 3 & 4 hit they just felt like more of the same. And then Forza Motorsport came along and stole GT's thunder (for me anyway).
     Forza Motorsport on the Xbox really sucked me in when it first hit because it had all the things that GT had and more, it took the racing sim genre to the next level. Fast forward to early 2007 when I bought my PS3 and the first thing I did once it was hooked up was download the GT Concept demo. I was floored. The graphics in that original demo were amazing (although the gameplay still felt kind of dated). Even when Forza Motorsport 2 shipped a few months later, it couldn't stack up to the GT Concept demo graphically.
     So here we are, almost 3 years later and the roles have reversed yet again. Forza Motorsport 3 shipped back in October sporting some of the best looking visuals ever seen in a racing game and tons of new features that manage to push forward a genre that has been stale for quite some time. And while the jury is still out as far as GT5's feature set is concerned, if the new GT5 Time Trial demo is represntitive of the final game, then Forza 3 has won the graphics battle hands down. The first thing that I noticed when I fired up the GT5 demo yesterday was that, compared to Forza 3, the graphics looked almost cartoony. Now I know I'm gonna get flmaed for that comment, and I don't mean literally cartoony, I just mean that the graphics lack the complexity that Forza 3 has. Everything from the cockpit view to the enviroments just didn't look up to par. I would even venture to say that it doesn't even look as good as that old GT Concept demo.
     The controls felt fine, though it was really hard to tell since it was just one car. Ultimately I'm gonna hold my final verdict for when the full game ships, because I hope it's worth the wait. But this isn't a good sign if polyphony is looking to recapture their crown.