Gran Turismo 5: One of 2010's Top RPGs?

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Gran Turismo 5: One of 2010's Top RPGs?

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Is the most prominent driving sim of 2010 also one of the year's biggest RPGs?

Lately, I've been playing a game where I earn experience points and level up by completing quests. I collect equipment and upgrade my character by defeating an array of AI-controlled NPCs in combat. The story of the game's world goes back decades. No, it's not World of Warcraft or Fallout: New Vegas. I'm talking about Gran Turismo 5.

Working my way through the mass of content Polyphony Digital shoved onto Gran Turismo 5's Blu-ray disc over 5-6 years of development, I really started to feel like I was really playing an RPG instead of a driving simulator (and not because of its B-Spec mode). I'm a little confused by it too, but let me explain.

Gran Turismo 5's most obvious connection to the RPG genre is its experience point system. In Gran Turismo 5, players earn experience for completing license tests, finishing strong in races, and other tasks. Leveling up allows access to new cars, racing events, etc. In other words, you earn new abilities, and unlock new quests. Leveling up definitely makes you more uber, but I'm quite aware that it takes more than an experience point system to make an RPG

The quests I speak of are Gran Turismo 5's racing events, which are filled with exciting combat that takes place at 150+ MPH. Players are given tasks to collect specific cars to race in unique events, such as one that only allows sport trucks like the Dodge Ram, or another that only allows cars from 1969 or earlier (shout out to my '62 Buick Special). You might not be slashing goblins or disarming traps, but Gran Turismo 5 does pit you against challenging opponents in very specific ways, and requires you to come out on top with pure skill, or just powerful equipment. Sound familiar? If "combat" requires actual blood to be spilled, just exchange blood for paint, which is traded aplenty in Gran Turismo 5, and the game resembles Final Fantasy more by the minute.

For a game to truly become an RPG, it also has to have a form of character progression and a story. Where are these aspects in Gran Turismo 5? Easy. In Gran Turismo 5, your character is a silent driver that inhabits the game's cars. In a way, the player is the car. These cars can be tuned with new parts, just like a Dragon Age character can put on a new helmet. The driver experiences just as many life changes as characters from an RPG, going from Mini to Civic to rally car in different regions of the world within the span of an hour, and finishing multiple "quests" in a different way with each change of vessel, leading to the accumulation of more power for future endeavors.

The story is also right there by your side the whole time. Polyphony has included a detailed history for every car, and since the player basically is the car, that's your history. On the other hand, the game's current-day narrative is written through the player's racing habits. For example, my story has taken me into a hectic battle on the streets of London, seen me triumphantly destroy my foes in evenly-matched Volkswagen Bus combat, and I've even survived a few deadly mid-air flips on occasion (shout out to that '62 Buick again). The story is what you make it, thanks to the freedom Gran Turismo 5 gives the player and some random factors thrown in. It's not Lord of the Rings, but it is a form of story nonetheless.

Do these factors add up to make an RPG? Take Gran Turismo 5's racing and exchange it for battles against varying types of ogres and wombats in a game where you play as a soul that inhabits the bodies of different monster slayers as they destroy evils across the world, and you've got yourself a great RPG right there. The way that Gran Turismo 5's pixels are assembled shouldn't necessarily exclude it from being an RPG.

In the case of certain games, genres are simply becoming blurry. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what umbrella Gran Turismo 5 is put under, but it's interesting to see the similarities between the game and other titles often viewed as being on the completely opposite side of the spectrum.

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One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

I remember having to grind races in an old gran turismo title. It even has the capacity for the monotony of a badly designed RPG

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

I guess the point is that Gran Turismo is the retarded Japanese step child of the RPG.

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

An awesome racing dude.

so having failed in the racing genre are you trying to have it succeed in the rpg genre?

Tom Goldman:

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

An awesome racing dude.

But the bits you're upgrading is the car. That's like saying that you're an awesome fighter who just keeps getting a more awesome sword.

After a point, you're just roleplaying the equipment. Because all the "awesome racing dude" does is move it. He's got no role to play.

A Car Playing Game I could go with, but there's nothing to your "Awesome Racing Dude". Just a blank slate that stays blank.

If we're talking that way, then every game is a RPG. Which has been argued many times before.

Is Half Life an RPG, by the same standard? Is Sonic?

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

You're playing a guy that wins money easily so he can buy a turbo and beat everybody without learning to drive his indestructible car.

I think it's cute when reviewers throw the RPG card at these games in a review to show how much depth they have, but c'mon. This is not even funny. Racing games might want to appeal to racing fans instead of collectors, how about that?

just because you level up does not a game an RPG, games like fallout 3 are on the verge of being an RPG but have now received their own category of RPS (role playing shooters), but there is no role in GT5, its just a racing sim with a feature of levels.

I bought this game and was roundly disappointed. Where are the Hmong kids for me to tutor and gang-members to intimidate? To say nothing of the fact that my avatar looks nothing like Clint Eastwood. All it is is driving around! When do I make with the crazy threatening? I know tie-in games have a history of taking liberties with the source material but this has to be the worst one ever.

It's not an RPG, and I'm tiring of the idea that having an upgrade system suddenly qualifies a game as an RPG.

Sean.Devlin:

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

You're playing a guy that wins money easily so he can buy a turbo and beat everybody without learning to drive his indestructible car.

I think it's cute when reviewers throw the RPG card at these games in a review to show how much depth they have, but c'mon. This is not even funny. Racing games might want to appeal to racing fans instead of collectors, how about that?

The damage system starts at level 20 and goes to full at level 40.

ravenshrike:

Sean.Devlin:

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

You're playing a guy that wins money easily so he can buy a turbo and beat everybody without learning to drive his indestructible car.

I think it's cute when reviewers throw the RPG card at these games in a review to show how much depth they have, but c'mon. This is not even funny. Racing games might want to appeal to racing fans instead of collectors, how about that?

The damage system starts at level 20 and goes to full at level 40.

Everytime someone defends Polyphony Digital, I strangle seven kittens out of friendly rage.

rpg......?

i understand that can be a loose definition.

but come on.

its gran. fucking. turismo.

which i was highly dissappointed by this game..ill go back to mario kart and full auto, much better racing games imo

An interesting look at it, and it highlights what I find to be a key problem with genre titles. I personally think that, as far as video games are concerned, that RPG is simply too vague a title now, because if you want to look at it that way, practically every game can be a role-playing game.

Soo... it's a racing game, well I'm glad you like it somuch, but this comparison with RPGs is more like when you're in love and every girl you see looks like yours truly.

But from the looks of where RPG's are headed now we may end up resorting to racing games just for a taste of RPG elements.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Tom Goldman:

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

An awesome racing dude.

But the bits you're upgrading is the car. That's like saying that you're an awesome fighter who just keeps getting a more awesome sword.

After a point, you're just roleplaying the equipment. Because all the "awesome racing dude" does is move it. He's got no role to play.

A Car Playing Game I could go with, but there's nothing to your "Awesome Racing Dude". Just a blank slate that stays blank.

If we're talking that way, then every game is a RPG. Which has been argued many times before.

Is Half Life an RPG, by the same standard? Is Sonic?

Half-Life and Sonic don't have any notable character progression, so not in my mind. Why is an awesome racing dude not a role? He's constantly building himself up, completing new challenges, and becoming a better racer. Is that blank?

I honestly think GT5 kinda sucks.
There are so many problems with it i dont know where to start.
7 years in development and there are problems with something as simple as anti-aliasing? And its not the unnoticeable kind eather, its the horrible kind that waves its a** in your face.

And sure theres alot of cars. ((like 1000 or something)) But you arnt going to own 90% of them, because theyer to expensive, and you earn cash at a snail's pace. Your saying i have to purchase a 2 million dollar car, and spend 100 thousand on upgrades, just to do a single race to win 20 thousand?

And its not even a level system. Its a grinding system. They should basically say, "Win X amount of races to continue on". Theres no point to it. You dont choose abilitys, you dont unlock special races, you dont gain access to better upgrades, you dont get anything more more grinding of the same tracks you played the past 3 ranks!

GT5 will never be in my top 10 games. Dont say, "Its for car lovers", because i love cars. Dont say, "You didnt commit to it", because i went all the way to expert. And definitly dont say, "You just dont get it", because theres nothing to get. I love racing games. I hate this one. 5/10 at least, 7/10 at best.

Sounds like more of an RPG than Mass Effect 2 (the so-called "RPG" of the year) already.

Okay, maybe not.

But Mass Effect 2 was incredibly shallow. RPG elements make everything better!

And by RPG elements, I mean leveling and stat management. Not dialogue choices.

Tom Goldman:
and becoming a better racer.

Not played Gran Turismo 5, but how much of this 'levelling up' actually translates into increased ability for the driver?

linkvegeta:
just because you level up does not a game an RPG, games like fallout 3 are on the verge of being an RPG but have now received their own category of RPS (role playing shooters), but there is no role in GT5, its just a racing sim with a feature of levels.

The RPS seems to be people that like story but don't want to be lumped with the JRPG fans. In other words, you're caring too much about classification.

The_root_of_all_evil:

But the bits you're upgrading is the car. That's like saying that you're an awesome fighter who just keeps getting a more awesome sword.

After a point, you're just roleplaying the equipment. Because all the "awesome racing dude" does is move it. He's got no role to play.

A Car Playing Game I could go with, but there's nothing to your "Awesome Racing Dude". Just a blank slate that stays blank.

If we're talking that way, then every game is a RPG. Which has been argued many times before.

Is Half Life an RPG, by the same standard? Is Sonic?

I've seen people spend an hour in D&D trying to figure out which magical sword they will choose, the equipment is just as important as the person wielding it. In addition, you could technically say every game is a role playing game. You take the role of what ever character or avatar you have in front of you. I know I am not a blue speed demon or a silent protagonist that everyone thinks/hopes is secretly a bad ass.

The_root_of_all_evil:
One real huge problem.

RPG= ROLE playing Game.

What ROLE are you actually playing? Because you seem to be suggesting you're playing the car?

Completely agree. Apparently, somehow the attributes of a RPG have left out the most important aspect of a RPG. THE ROLE PLAYING. Allow me to refute this ridiculous article point by point.

A. Playing as the car is not role playing. Role playing involves putting yourself into the shoes of a character and making choices in game that affect the story. I'll get to there being no story later, but what choices do you make in game that define your character and make them any different than any other character in the game? None.

B. Driving races are not the same as quests. I like the line that it's not smashing goblins or disarming traps. I like it because smashing goblins and disarming traps is NOT what a quest is. A quest is a search or expedition made in order to find or obtain something. Saving a damsel in distress is the quest, smashing goblins and disarming traps is the means in which that quest is fulfilled. Saying the race itself is the quest is equally moronic because there is no distinction between your character and the other characters.

C. There is no story. I mean the line says it all, "The story is what you make it" which means "there is no story unless you create one". Yea, if you make up a story in your mind about who you are and who the other drivers are, then you can create a made up story for yourself. You can also do that for any game ever, that does not make them all RPGs. Another important aspect of an RPG in my mind is that the main character has to have an active and influential impact on the story, which does not happen.

D. "it also has to have a form of character progression". Changing your helmet in Dragon Age is not 'character progression'. In fact, your character's equipment is independent of their character. Please take any sort of story telling classes before making such stretched comparisons.

This piece of garbage is probably the worst article I have ever read on the escapist if not in general. Does GT5 have RPG aspects incorporated into it? Sure. But to make the argument that it IS an RPG and is actually one of the best RPGs of the year is so inane that I don't see how this article could even get the go ahead to be written.

Tom Goldman:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Tom Goldman:

An awesome racing dude.

But the bits you're upgrading is the car. That's like saying that you're an awesome fighter who just keeps getting a more awesome sword.

After a point, you're just roleplaying the equipment. Because all the "awesome racing dude" does is move it. He's got no role to play.

A Car Playing Game I could go with, but there's nothing to your "Awesome Racing Dude". Just a blank slate that stays blank.

If we're talking that way, then every game is a RPG. Which has been argued many times before.

Is Half Life an RPG, by the same standard? Is Sonic?

Half-Life and Sonic don't have any notable character progression, so not in my mind. Why is an awesome racing dude not a role? He's constantly building himself up, completing new challenges, and becoming a better racer. Is that blank?

Im sorry, but i have to agree with Root. Theres no RPG to it. The exp system might as well not exist, you dont accually UNLOCK anything by leveling up. They just tell you its ok to buy certen cars.

And "awesome racing dude" has no role. Hes never featured, never shown, has no name, and no connection to the game. He might aswell be "awesome racing robot", or "awesome racing hamster". An RPG requires you playing a role. There is not role here to be had. Theres no dialogue between him and anyone else. They might as well leave the drivers seat empty!

T_E_N:

Sean.Devlin:

ravenshrike:
The damage system starts at level 20 and goes to full at level 40.

Everytime someone defends Polyphony Digital, I strangle seven kittens out of friendly rage.

Every time someone strangles a kitten I fuck their mom in the ass seven times out of raunchy revenge.

I hope kitten-strangling people have cute moms. :p

Sean.Devlin:

ravenshrike:

Sean.Devlin:
You're playing a guy that wins money easily so he can buy a turbo and beat everybody without learning to drive his indestructible car.

I think it's cute when reviewers throw the RPG card at these games in a review to show how much depth they have, but c'mon. This is not even funny. Racing games might want to appeal to racing fans instead of collectors, how about that?

The damage system starts at level 20 and goes to full at level 40.

Everytime someone defends Polyphony Digital, I strangle seven kittens out of friendly rage.

gmaverick019:
rpg......?

i understand that can be a loose definition.

but come on.

its gran. fucking. turismo.

which i was highly dissappointed by this game..ill go back to mario kart and full auto, much better racing games imo

The hell? Its a simulation racing game. I'm very inclined to believe most of the people that have "played it" here are either lying through their teeth, or tried it for 5 minutes before ragequitting and crying about how difficult it is after the first few ranks (15+).

You buy a racing wheel, why? Its a simulation game and it slowly increases the difficulty curve the more you play. This is why the experience point system matters. You start out very arcadish, and move more and more to a simulation game to really up the difficulty. That is the point the author is trying to make. While it does seem like bit of a stretch, PD really did go out their their way to freshen their series up. At first glance it looks like the same shit, but the way it plays is very similar to many RPG games out there.

Start off with a crap car, and most likely not much driving sense except your lack of fear (Try racing for real, and you'll see what I mean, its a game), and whatever behind the wheel experience you yourself may have. At first it seems easy, you can bump your way through the levels. Basically not very sim or racing like for a game of its expected caliber.

Keep Playing.

You unlock more levels, more customization options, more cars, more tracks, and eventually more challenges. As you rank up the game suddenly welcomes you into the "real world" of racing. Damage has to be repaired, you can total your car, and you have to keep it in good condition and tuned if you're into that sort of thing. Eventually you hit a wall, and you need to get more XP to unlock more cars and challenges. The tracks get harder, more weather is introduced, and damage is fully realized.

Now you have the game that people expected when you first get into it. Honestly, once you get there, its hard as hell, and most people would have cried off and traded it in after 5 minutes of pure suck. Once you get used to it, and work on your skills, you start to feel like you've learned some serious driving techniques, rather than just smashed your way through it, like you did in the beginning.

If you've played it, you're more likely to agree with the Author's article, if you haven't, and its really easy to tell you've merely dabbled in it at best or are unobservant. You'll just spout off about mario kart. Enjoy your kart games, I'm going to go back to my racing sim.

Juggern4ut20:

This piece of garbage is probably the worst article I have ever read on the escapist if not in general. Does GT5 have RPG aspects incorporated into it? Sure. But to make the argument that it IS an RPG and is actually one of the best RPGs of the year is so inane that I don't see how this article could even get the go ahead to be written.

Yo, dude. The guy got carried away during the Festivus, no need to rape him. :D

(But you're not wrong.)

kouriichi:

Tom Goldman:

The_root_of_all_evil:

But the bits you're upgrading is the car. That's like saying that you're an awesome fighter who just keeps getting a more awesome sword.

After a point, you're just roleplaying the equipment. Because all the "awesome racing dude" does is move it. He's got no role to play.

A Car Playing Game I could go with, but there's nothing to your "Awesome Racing Dude". Just a blank slate that stays blank.

If we're talking that way, then every game is a RPG. Which has been argued many times before.

Is Half Life an RPG, by the same standard? Is Sonic?

Half-Life and Sonic don't have any notable character progression, so not in my mind. Why is an awesome racing dude not a role? He's constantly building himself up, completing new challenges, and becoming a better racer. Is that blank?

Im sorry, but i have to agree with Root. Theres no RPG to it. The exp system might as well not exist, you dont accually UNLOCK anything by leveling up. They just tell you its ok to buy certen cars.

And "awesome racing dude" has no role. Hes never featured, never shown, has no name, and no connection to the game. He might aswell be "awesome racing robot", or "awesome racing hamster". An RPG requires you playing a role. There is not role here to be had. Theres no dialogue between him and anyone else. They might as well leave the drivers seat empty!

I see your point. Really I was just trying to discuss whether it was possible for GT5 to be an RPG or not. I wonder whether you actually need an in-your-face story for every RPG, or an in-your-face role, or if it's possible for the gameplay to create one through the player's actions.

KEM10:

linkvegeta:
just because you level up does not a game an RPG, games like fallout 3 are on the verge of being an RPG but have now received their own category of RPS (role playing shooters), but there is no role in GT5, its just a racing sim with a feature of levels.

The RPS seems to be people that like story but don't want to be lumped with the JRPG fans. In other words, you're caring too much about classification.

There is nothing wrong with classification, and it is important because how can one say i like RPG's when its littered with games claiming to be RPG's when they are not. but if games are going to mix they should get their own classification because its important so that there is less confusion.

Onyx Oblivion:
Sounds like more of an RPG than Mass Effect 2 (the so-called "RPG" of the year) already.

Err..... how is it more of an RPG then Mass Effect?
The only RPG element to the game is the fact you gain EXP. Theres no interaction between characters, theres no story.... infact, there are NO CHARACTERS.

In GT5 you take the role of Driver. You race. It doesnt say way. You level up, which litterally earns you nothing but the right to gain more EXP. All the cars can be upgraded, but only from s short list of things that applys to all cars. You gain no stats, have no choice in gear besides, "My car is red" or, "My car is blue with New tires", and to top it all off, theres no progression. You win races, you get new races. Thats not really progression though, because 90% of the races you unlock are on the same tracks as the ones you were just playing.

Atleast in Mass Effect you have ROLE to play.

Xersues:

If you've played it, you're more likely to agree with the Author's article, if you haven't, and its really easy to tell you've merely dabbled in it at best or are unobservant. You'll just spout off about mario kart. Enjoy your kart games, I'm going to go back to my racing sim.

Limiting your play at the start of the game does not an RPG make. Nor does expecting the player to be better skilled the further they get into the game.

You may as well argue that Command and Conquer games are RPGs since you only start off with one or two units for the first mission.

Tom Goldman:
An awesome racing dude.

Its ok Tom. They'll start to make RPGs one of these days again. We'll just have to keep waiting.

Stay strong lil'guy.

Sean.Devlin:
Yo, dude. The guy got carried away during the Festivus, no need to rape him. :D

(But you're not wrong.)

Hahaha. True, I just feel that articles like these that boil RPGs down to leveling and equipment cheapen the genre as a whole. I concede that it isn't the easiest to write articles that catch people's attention and that this is probably just a hook to talk about how great GT5 is instead of any real claim, but he could have done a comparison without throwing out the title "One of 2010's Top RPGs?"

linkvegeta:

KEM10:

linkvegeta:
just because you level up does not a game an RPG, games like fallout 3 are on the verge of being an RPG but have now received their own category of RPS (role playing shooters), but there is no role in GT5, its just a racing sim with a feature of levels.

The RPS seems to be people that like story but don't want to be lumped with the JRPG fans. In other words, you're caring too much about classification.

There is nothing wrong with classification, and it is important because how can one say i like RPG's when its littered with games claiming to be RPG's when they are not. but if games are going to mix they should get their own classification because its important so that there is less confusion.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_283/8400-Introducing-The-Escapists-Genre-Wheel

Problem solved

Tom Goldman:

kouriichi:

Tom Goldman:

Half-Life and Sonic don't have any notable character progression, so not in my mind. Why is an awesome racing dude not a role? He's constantly building himself up, completing new challenges, and becoming a better racer. Is that blank?

Im sorry, but i have to agree with Root. Theres no RPG to it. The exp system might as well not exist, you dont accually UNLOCK anything by leveling up. They just tell you its ok to buy certen cars.

And "awesome racing dude" has no role. Hes never featured, never shown, has no name, and no connection to the game. He might aswell be "awesome racing robot", or "awesome racing hamster". An RPG requires you playing a role. There is not role here to be had. Theres no dialogue between him and anyone else. They might as well leave the drivers seat empty!

I see your point. Really I was just trying to discuss whether it was possible for GT5 to be an RPG or not. I wonder whether you actually need an in-your-face story for every RPG, or an in-your-face role, or if it's possible for the gameplay to create one through the player's actions.

not one bit xD
The entire time i played i felt disconnected. Like a bot designed to grind more hardcore then in WoW.

Sure, i could have pretended i was Speed racer, trying to be the best driver of all time. But id have to force myself to. For the player to make a story, there really needs to be a base for one. I mean, let me compare it to the latest Need For Speed. You can play as the Cops, or the street racers. Your Role is instantly defined. Your eather a cop, trying to clean the streets, or a racer, trying to win piles of cash for "Hoes and B*tches". There is no real story to the game, but there are atleast roles. Good and Evil. ((by general definition anyway))
But in GT5, you play Racer. Your job is "race". You "drive car fast on laps for money for which car purchasing for more race". Theres no story to it and no roles.

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