GT5: Black Flagged

 
        The solid black flag is used to summon a driver to the pits. It is usually used to punish a driver or team for disobeying the rules, but may also be used when a car is suffering a dangerous mechanical failure, such as a loose hood or dragging bumper, or even calling a driver to the pits when their radio is not working. In Formula One races, the black flag means an immediate disqualification for the driver involved. The car number of the summoned driver is displayed in a designated place near the flag stand or occasionally on the flag itself. Black flags can be waved at all observation posts simultaneously to order all drivers to clear the track after the starter waves the red flag, often in the case of a serious accident.
Before I get into all this, here’s a Public Service Announcement: GT Academy Registration is open. Are you over 18 and a US Resident? Of course you are! I mean, can pretend to be. I have a super-secret twin sister in, uh, the midwest? West? I’m She‘s in one of those brackets. What a happy coincidence! I’m sure all of you wonderful people will soon discover long-lost American relatives, too. It’s all about the bonus downloads. When I logged in with that account, I was surprised that my Collector’s Edition bonuses crossed over and all the CE and Gamestop cars were in the garage. I don’t know if the GT Academy freebies will be trade locked (which they might to prevent people abusing it), but I hope not.

 
Now, it’s JENNRAGE™ time. I still like GT5. Parts of it. Occasionally. There’s just so much stupid sometimes that it’s hard to find what did go right. Then you find it, enjoy it briefly, and have ample time to recall what keeps pissing you off about it during the constant loading screens. Thus I sit, and wait, and grow cross, and eventually race, and get disqualified from the IA-10 license test because the Train of Cars they call the AI is sometimes really ridiculous and I hate them and die die DIE.

Seriously, IA-10 can (continue to) to kiss my rear bumper. It’s the responsibility of the overtaking car to ensure the safety of both vehicles. When they hit my rear when I’m square on the driving line, it’s really not my fault they tried to make a space to pass — again, square on/through my bumper — and I get DQ’d. There’s only so fast I can take that corner without spinning and getting disqualified all on my own, thanks. I follow a path/overtaking schedule quite similar to this guy, but I’ve got to learn to do it faster during the sections from 0:46-1:00 and 1:36-1:41 because I’m not ahead of as many people as he is on the first lap and some jerk ALWAYS hits me from behind there. I tried ignoring the apex there for a few runs but I’d get the side of my bumper clipped and spin as if they, in their jet powered cement trucks, executed a perfect PIT maneuver.

 

I might be bitter. I drive with aids off, except that I usually keep ABS at 1 and occasionally I’ll let the TC sit at 1, too. Even though I have the Driving Force GT, I rarely take advantage of the clickwheel to switch settings on the fly. I’ll have to tackle it again later with a cooler head. I didn’t mind doing it over and over the first half hour, but the frustration was building and I eventually bailed to take on the rest of the very fun Karting special events. Since I hadn’t touched a kart since December 6th, it took a few laps to nail down the throttle/RPM control I had before to leave everyone in the dust. Zipping around Autumn Ring when you’re having a great run is a wonderful experience; still more fun than it has any right to be. I totally have to jump online and see if people are putting karts on any other tracks! I’m sad that I’ve now completed all the kart missions in GT5 and want more of them.

Sheesh. I had a long list of things to write about, but so many deserve their own post. I could (and will) write a book on B-Spec. GT Life is a great idea that needs a lot of love. The tuning options may appear straightforward, though people unfamiliar with how all the parts work might end up wasting their hard earned credits on pieces that end up detracting from their performance and don’t suit their driving style. I won’t be writing a guide on that since we’re all better off with me linking real pros instead of ‘this works for me!’ settings. I love particular cars that are not considered popular or top tier at all. It’s too bad that there are no Jetta selections available. This is not actually a knock against GT5 in any real sense; there’s no possible way to make everyone happy with the car choices, it just would have been nice to take my car around tracks it’ll never see :)

Changelog

No one really knows what the update on or around December 20th will change. Promises, promises. We’ve heard it all before. GT5 patch notes basically say “This is a patch”, which I find endlessly hilarious thanks to the endless forum speculation about what has actually transpired. If Blizzard tried to pull something like that, there’d be mobs with torches and pitchforks. We’re still missing things like leaderboards — pretty critical, eh? Better be in before GT Academy Qualifications — and offline stat tracking and rewind/ffwd controls in replay mode. Seriously, Polyphony Digital, what were you doing all that time? I actually hope that dumptrucks full of hookers and blow were involved since that makes things make sense. I like my brother’s theory that the budget went to getting Kaz all the supercars for his own garage. Who’s to say we wouldn’t do the same?

This leaves plenty of other nitpicks to moan about. Like, oh the locked saves. My secondary PS3 — launch unit remains un-updated to keep OtherOS support — won’t be mine for much longer and I have to look at getting a secondary secondary (#FirstWorldProblems for sure). I’m sure as heck not doing that until the promised unlocking happens. I <3 Babelfish:

“To other storage it backs up your own saving data… late December with update of you become possible.”

Whether they will unlock them entirely or keep them tied to your PSN account remains to be seen. I'm a little surprised to hear that there are people against fully open saves. Yes, there are the people (let's call them 'parents') that will download a save that gives them all the cars and paints and money in the world. Then there are people like me who will slog it out to the end, even if I'll be 30 by the time that happens. The existence of the first group does not impede upon my fun, online or off. I bet most of the download people won't even race online with their shiny F1 cars. I just think that locked saves are ridiculous in this lovely era of console failures. Sheesh. I can chill until the 20th. Maybe I'll get lucky with Santa (hahaNO) or find a sweet boxing day deal on a slim.

Used Dealership Sales. One Day Only!

The used dealership rotating inventory makes me a little angry, as do a lot of similarly atrocious user-friendly errors, but that they chose to make THIS part 'realistic' instead of letting us tune/purchase brakes just plain hurts. Don't see the car you want? Here's what you have to do to make the inventory cycle:

 

Parting Shots

  • Standard vs. Premium cars. You know how it is. Some will be upgraded but I'm a lot less optimistic about the whole thing than that news post is.
  • Want to change the music? PD implemented it in a pretty user-unfriendly way, so they give you the Driving Music Trophy for even trying.
  • Paint chips. To paint your car, you need to own the chip. To get the chip you must have a car that colour. Each chip can be used once, and you still pay to get it done. Don't have the red you want? Hope you can find it in the Used Car Dealership. Maybe cycle it a few times. Only GT5 could find a way to make painting a car a grind. The mind, it boggles.
  • LOADING. For the love of all that is good, PD, let us do a real install. Hopefully you can find a cheaper solution than fitting the PS3 with an SSD drive. Mad props to "Phil" for figuring that out. I love geeks.
  • The shadows. Oh, the horror. You could stab someone with some of these shadows. Rows upon rows of witch's hats are less pointy than my Mazda Furai's shadows going around Daytona. You'd think they recycled some PS1 code here.

I could honestly keep going on and on here, but this horse is pretty dead. By now you either know that you want the game, or you're laughing at those of us that paid full price for it.

I'm looking forward to talking about B-Spec. I found it an annoying waste of time, but it slowly grew on me.

6 thoughts on “GT5: Black Flagged

  1. No definitive buy or not huh.? I know that if I owned a PS3, I would not buy it. How about for my brother’s teen kid? You really seem all over the place in your review. Can you post screen caps of the karting races. If someone were to ask you whether to buy it or not, what would you say.

    Also, how important is a wheel to this game. Can you actually get anything done without a wheel.

    1. I think a wheel is mandatory, but that’s because I’ve only ever played PS3 racers with a wheel. And 360 Forzas/Sims I also play with a wheel. Arcade racers? Controller all the way! Don’t worry though, if you are used to this kind of racing with a controller, it can absolutely be done. I’m useless with a controller, but that’s from an utter lack of practice and being spoiled by wheels.

      Hit up youtube for karting races, my recorder is broken and I can only take pics of the screen on my phone at the moment. That’s an awful way to show off the game.

      If the teen kid is seriously into racing, get it. It’s hard to say what is a definitive buy for other people; tastes vary so wildly. I was initially disappointed by GT5, but PD is actually doing decent work bringing us what they promised at launch through patches. It’s practically a racing MMO.

      Patch 1.05 was released this morning. I haven’t spent time with it yet, but they DID unlock saves so that I can finally back mine up, mechanical damage and loose grip in poor weather is now available offline, online races do give exp and money, and they added Seasonal Events and boosted all earnings until the end of January 2011 (woo), and Round One of GT Academy is coming up. There’s a lot to like. Still far from perfect, but I play (well, I B-Spec) every. single. day. and race when I have more active time in the evenings. I have already gotten my money’s worth.

  2. Jenn,

    Do you always drive outside the cabin, or just in certain tracks/games? I personally can’t do it, I play my sims with the “in the seat” view. You look like you can handle yourself pretty well… We’d have to race each other sometime and see “what’s what”.

    XD

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