fistfullast33l writes "On Christmas Eve, Sony released the Gran Turismo HD demo to the U.S. and Japan Playstation 3s. The downloadable demo is about 650mb in size and I let it download while I was at church for Christmas. The following are my own impressions.
Visually, the game is by far one of the best for the PS3. The graphics really are top notch including some extremely visually impressive effects like the sky reflecting off the roof of your car. The crowds are a little static, but look alive enough to be believable. There are no weather effects, but the shine of the sun off the road is realistic as well. All in all, this is arguably the pinnacle of graphics on the console at this moment, and it sets the standard pretty high." Read on for the rest of this concise review -- and chime in below with comments on any other games of this season that you'd like to praise or pan."The game is integrated right into the Playstation network, but sadly does not allow you to race against other drivers. Instead, you are limited to time and draft attack trials. However, the gameplay will keep you busy. You are allowed to save your replays and upload your times to the network, but only the top 10 or so are viewable from the track portion of the game. On the main menu there is an option to view where you rank per car. Not surprisingly, the U.S. version definitely had some large gaps between times as of December 25th so if you're really competitive there are some great opportunities to make a name for yourself. I think I was ranked as low as 4000 on some of the tracks as I was just trying to unlock the cars, so there are a lot of competitors out there.
There are 10 cars in all. The IGN article above links to the list if you're interested. You start with the Suzuki Cappuccino and work your way up by beating goal times for each car on the given track. There is only one track, but it's challenging enough that it might take you a few tries initially to beat the times. IGN says it took them about half an hour to unlock the cars, but I turned off a lot of the driving aids such as stability control and automatic shifting so it took me closer to a few hours. Plus, I'm a horrible driver.
From a control standpoint, the game is pretty standard in that you use the buttons to accelerate and brake and the L1 and R1 buttons to shift. The left analog allows you to steer. Contrast this with the F1 Championship Edition demo which uses the Left analog to steer and the Right analog to accelerate and decelerate. I actually prefer the F1 method better as it gives you a little more control over the pace of acceleration, similar to a gas pedal in a real car.
Overall, the game is a lot of fun when you've played out the launch titles and want something that you can show off to your friends. It might not be the most exciting title but it's definitely a challenge for casual gamers and experts alike, and the ability to record your times online adds a bit of fun to the title. Hopefully it will satiate those who need a GT5 fix and there is a rumor that more content will be released later on.
As a side note, my parents wanted to try out the PS3 so I let them play the F1 Championship Edition, Motorstorm, and GT HD demos, and they preferred F1 because it was easier to drive. GT was second hardest and Motorstorm totally confused them as the tracks aren't well defined."
Thanks to fistfullast33l for this review.