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Review

GT5: Speed Test Pack Review

A.K.A. Machine Test.

How important to you are abstract indicators of a car’s performance? Sure, in a manufacturer’s brochure the number of whole and part seconds it takes a car’s power plant to propel it to 60mph gets some billing, if less than than it used to in these ever-greener times. Perhaps you might even boast to your friends about how quickly your own car can theoretically reach that arbitrary speed.

When it comes to racing though those abstract measures of performance become far less important than lap times. A stereotypical American muscle car might be capable of a staggeringly quick time for a standing quarter but may lose out to a slower, yet more nimble, European rival on a twisty street circuit.

Since its inception Gran Turismo has included a Machine Test feature that let you take your chosen car out onto a large high-speed oval to see just how quickly it could cover 400 or 1000m, or simply to establish what its maximum speed was.

Gran Turismo 5 arrived having been shorn of the Machine Test in all but one aspect. The Machine Test has always let you review the telemetry data from your drive and GT5 added that into its Practice mode the benefit being that you could now, if you were keen enough or simply after that particular trophy, view the data log for your drive around any track in the game not just a single simple flat-out oval.


So that's what Polyphony Digital left that gap for.
The recently released Speed Test Pack adds back to Gran Turismo a huge oval, almost 19 miles (30km or 30283.2m) around with 7.5 mile (12km) straights, the Special Stage Route X Oval, that you can drive around in any car with your (metaphorical, if you don’t own a wheel and pedals) foot planted firmly and continuously to the floor and gather your abstract numbers.

That gathering is done with the new Speed Test mode that gets its own button on the main GT Mode screen. Taking your currently selected vehicle out for a Speed Test allows you to measure six aspects of its straight-line performance which vary slightly depending on your in-game choice of units.

For those of us who prefer proper numbers you can find your car’s times to reach 60mph, 100mph, ¼ mile and 1 mile. For those who like to use the confusing new-fanggled metric system you can instead discover you car’s time to reach 100kph, 200kph, 400m and 1000m. Regardless of your preferred units you can also measure you cars maximum speed and Gs under acceleration.

Speed Test mode itself only actually uses, most of, one of the oval’s straights, giving you an uncurving 10,000 metres with which to attain as high a speed as you cars gearing and rev-limiter will let you. That’s right, unlike the previous Machine Tests, Speed Test does not even use the whole oval to give you a run at you maximum speed, you are constrained to a single straight.

To drive a full lap of Special Stage Route X you can use it for Arcade or Online races or in GT5’s Practice mode. You are unlikely to want to race around it though as doing so would be tedious in the extreme with top speed being the only arbiter. This is an oval that takes close to four minutes to lap flat out at 300mph in the Red Bull X2011 Prototype, currently the fastest car in GT5 (as rental cars aren’t yet available).


Endure a few too many laps past these windmills and you may start sympathising with Don Quixote.
The track is not entirely without appeal though for those of you who like taking scenic in-game photos of your super-shiny or racing grime-covered cars. A variety of surrounding can be found as you cruise its 19 mile length. Along the speed test straight there is a wind farm, tunnel and radio telescope array, all with a mountainous backdrop.

The other, start-finish, straight adopts a working waterfront theme. Starting with the pit-complex and start-finish itself being homed within what seem to be converted World War II U-Boat pens, you then pass a docks before climbing over a long, tall bridge the descent of which delivers you into a container port.

The tracks additional feature that may appeal to in-game photo fans is that it has a full 24-hour day/night cycle. This gives the setting a wide variety of ambient light conditions complemented by the ‘artificial’ lighting that features on the course and its surroundings as ambient light levels diminish.

Depending upon whereabouts you call home in the SCEE region the Speed Test Pack will cost you £3.19/€3.99/A$5.60/NZ$7.90, while it’s $3.99 or ¥400 if SCEA or SCEJ, respectively, are the keepers of your PSN wallet.

Pros

  • Gran Turismo 5 gets it’s new and extended Machine Test feature.
  • Special Stage Route X offers some great photo opportunities.

Cons

  • You are essentially paying extra for something that’s been in all previous GT games.
  • Tuning for a particular track is more important than for speed or acceleration.
  • Although you can, you probably won’t use the new track for racing.

Whether the features the Speed Pack delivers are worthy of your hard-earned cash is going to be a highly subjective decision only you can make. If you are really into tuning your cars in GT5 you most likely already tune them to specific tracks, especially since the addition of multiple setting sheets for each car, so tuning for all-out straight-line speed is probably only ever going to be a momentary diversion.

Having had the DLC a week now I am already about done with it. Having run a handful of cars through the acceleration tests and a selection from the fastest to the worst handling in my garage around the oval in Practice mode, just to check that you can indeed run them all flat-out, I’m not sure when I will return to the track. If I do it will only be to take advantage of the scenery and lighting to try and snap some artsy in-game photos. For me that’s simply not worth the price of admission.

Score: 4/10

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26 Comments
  1. kjkg
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    Not surprised to be honest. It’s a feature I rarely used in the old GTs so was never keen on paying more for it.

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:02.
  2. tonyyeb
    Member
    Since: Aug 2010

    “You are unlikely to want to race around it though as doing so would be tedious in the extreme with top speed being the only arbiter.” You should have been online with the usual TSA GT5 crew Greg. We raced round it slipstreaming high geared X1s and then seeing how fast the 1966 Beetle 1200 could be pushed. 204mph for those wondering ;)

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:15.
    • Watchful
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Oct 2008

      And with that done how likely are you to return now the novelty has worn off?

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:19.
      • tonyyeb
        Member
        Since: Aug 2010

        We were planning on making a game of Cat and Mouse out of it! :D

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:34.
      • david24
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        i found this track to actually be really fun online, whether its slipstreaming and bump drafting a set of stock gt-r’s to 300 mph+ or pushing a 60’s beetle past the 200mph barrier. i can see this getting far more use then ss17 and that was fairly popular for online racing anyway.

        also something that was probably worth putting in the review is that anyone whether the own it or not can drive this track online.

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 12:34.
      • david24
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        most of the racing on this track feels very much like NASCAR’s at Daytona, and that’s fantastic online.

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 12:36.
      • Tomhlord
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Apr 2009

        Yes, great point David. £3.19 it may be, but if you are playing online with friends, only the host has to own it for everyone to play and thus not segregating the online experience. I wish more games did this.

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 14:32.
      • Liam
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        Slipstreaming?

        Shake & Bake!!

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 19:43.
  3. Watchful
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Oct 2008

    Something I forgot to mention in the review is that the one time the the acceleration tests could have been useful, for using them to practice your starts and work out the ideal revs for a quick getaway, is unhelpfully borked by the presentation.

    Rather than just dropping you in the drivers seat for the three or four seconds before ‘the green light’, which would give you time to use your rev counter to settle your revs at a given point, the countdown is accompanied by a succession of exterior shots of your car.

    You’re only seated in your vehicle, with the rev counter visible, for the final second which isn’t really long enough for you to make any adjustments.

    That’s a missed opportunity, much like the omission of the standing start on the Top Gear track. PD can and should do better.

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:17.
    • TheDemocrodile
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      “That’s a missed opportunity, much like the omission of the standing start on the Top Gear track. PD can and should do better.”

      if they take nothing else but this from their GT5 experience i`ll be a happy man, such a shame that 5 isnt living up to its predecessors.

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:23.
    • kjkg
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      PD remind me a lot of Konami. They do some outstanding things with their games but also seem to miss some rather trivial and basic features everytime. (I’m tlaking about Pro Evo in particular).

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:24.
    • slick1ru2
      Member
      Since: Jan 2012

      What you seem to forget is that PD listens. That’s why things like endurance race saves are now in the game. I expect if enough people speak up at a venue that PD monitors, like GT Planet, then they will include this in an upcoming patch.

      I used it to test different setups, something probably more important than testing what RPM to launch at anyway.

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 19:39.
  4. 3shirts
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    Absolute rip off. Less than £2 I might have had it just for completeness and maybe photos but for that money, they are having a laugh.
    I never even used it much in previous GT games apart from making the Escudo take off

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:39.
  5. Tomhlord
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Apr 2009

    Very odd review this, I feel a review round-up of all the GT5 DLC would have been more apt. Where’s the review for Spa for example?

    Also, Greg you need to race online with us ugly GT5 TSA lot, asap. Online, so far, this track is a ball for racing. Sure, alone this track utterly tedious, beautiful and boring, that’s a given, but trying to bump draft Tonyyeb’s un-tuned Beetle to 200mph is a whole new world.

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:50.
    • Tomhlord
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Apr 2009

      There is a TSA Meet on Monday evening…http://www.thesixthaxis.com/tsa-community-meet-ups/#1180

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 11:51.
      • Watchful
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Oct 2008

        There’s a few Meets I wish I could make but I’m simply too short of time during the week.

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 12:20.
      • Tomhlord
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Apr 2009

        Shame, the track comes into it’s own online, we don’t bite (much)

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 14:37.
    • Watchful
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Oct 2008

      I wasn’t asked to review any of the others. :-) And I wouldn’t have had time before Xmas. A full round-up now is probably too late.

      As for my opinion of GT5’s Spa, it accurately recreates Belgium in the rain. :-)

      How much racing in those condition appeals to you depends on your level of masochism as it is one of the more difficult tracks. The Kart Space track (in its two alternate layouts) is fun though, especially if you take cars around it.

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 12:14.
      • nofi
        One for all.
        Since: Forever

        Yep, to clarify, SCEE sent us a code for this with the (presumed) intention of a feature/review on it. Hence the text above.

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 14:26.
      • Tomhlord
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Apr 2009

        In that case I love the pain Spa provides ;)

        Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 14:36.
  6. JesseDeya
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    What a strange thing to review. I don’t know how it can get 4/10 when all you’re really judging is the utility. For some people this is just what they want/need. Others will have no interest.

    Either way, it’s only poor value if you don’t use it right? As a completely optional purchase that won’t hinder your online experience by not having it the choice is always there to not buy it. That doesn’t make it ‘bad’ per se.

    CoD map packs on the other hand…

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 12:13.
  7. teflon
    Community Team
    Since: May 2009

    This is why I didn’t buy it. Aside from 2-3 meets of messing about (which could just as well be done on other tracks, such as SSR7), this simply doesn’t hold the value for me.

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 13:54.
  8. Grey_Ghost13
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    For the first time ever I’m going to have to rant at a TSA review for some Cons that I just don’t agree with!

    But I will agree with that damm opening, wish I could see the rev counter!
    I’m just hoping that Polyphony listen to the feedback, which they constantly do, an ammend the start and the length of the high speed test to at least a full lap.

    Fanboy mode engaged! :)

    Cons

    * You are essentially paying extra for something that’s been in all previous GT games.

    Alot of people forget that manufacturers would not allow Polyphony to have something like this in the game that would allow you to test their cars (Ferrari -I’m looking at you) against other manufacturers. And as this has finaly arrived over a year since release I would say those stipulations have now expired. Also Kaz himself said that thigns that were not finished would not make it to the Disk and that he would have liked another 2 years development time with the game.

    * Tuning for a particular track is more important than for speed or acceleration.

    While I do agree with this, there is a huge drag following in GT5 online. Also there have been some thurough testing using the speed tests and how the physics engine, suspension characteristics and tyre model is implemented and works. It also enables tuners to monitor what changes are made with future physics updates.

    * Although you can, you probably won’t use the new track for racing.

    Have you seen how many lobbies are open for just this track, it is immense fun, especially shuffle races!

    You also do not mention the support post release that Polyphony have given this game and compared to how much they have given away free, the price for this is pittence!

    Fanboy mode dissengaged! :)

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 14:10.
  9. MayContainEvil
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    If I ever start playing GT5 regularly online then I think I will get this, otherwise it sounds like it’s not worth bothering with.

    Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 15:24.
    • Tomhlord
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Apr 2009

      That sounds about right really.

      Comment posted on 25/01/2012 at 16:38.
  10. bacon_nuts
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    Very annoyed about this game, they really did release it unfinished it now seems. IF it had everything it does now back when I owned it, I would probably have liked it much more. But since they decided to release early and charge for the rest, all I can say is fuck you. It looks nice, the cars handle quite frankly, fantastically, but the AI is shit, and so is this. Glad I sold it now. Prologue was better.
    /rant, apologies .

    Comment posted on 26/01/2012 at 01:36.

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