Game of the Week

I don't fancy yours much.

Here's what we were picking from: Out This Week.

Are we nearly there yet? Not quite. As the games industry's annual jamboree of big game releases shudders to a close, there are still a few bits and bobs to look forward to between now and Christmas, not least the lovely Donkey Kong Country Returns and PC gaming's clash of the titans on 7th December World of Warcraft: Cataclysm versus Bejeweled 3.

It's been an orgiastic couple of months, but the last week of November had the feel of a nightclub just before the lights are turned on, with the last few lonely singletons on the dance floor making a desperate lunge for a date.

They might be oddballs, but they have their charms. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom could tread on its own toes but it's an amiable oaf of a thing, while Def Jam Rapstar isn't quite as cool as it thinks it is, but it's definitely cooler than you, playa.

NBA Jam offers the promise of an enthusiastic quickie, but Splatterhouse has a slightly alarming look in its eye. Creepy. Still, it's probably Disney Epic Mickey that you really don't want to wake up next to in the morning. I'm sure he didn't look like that last night (year).

And how about those fashion victims over there don't they know the eighties are so noughties? If you want the dirt on Tron: Evolution and Michael Jackson: The Experience, you'll have to wait for dirty stop-outs Dan and Johnny (who else) to report back next week.

Wait a second who's this barging in late with a massive entourage and putting a platinum card behind the bar? Maybe this party isn't over after all!

Gran Turismo 5

If Super Mario 64 or Deus Ex is gaming's Citizen Kane, then Gran Turismo 5 must be its Apocalypse Now. Maybe it will never be regarded as a creative masterpiece and I hope no members of Polyphony Digital suffered heart attacks during its making but it's still a towering monument to one man's obsession.

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.

Sometimes it seems like Kazunori Yamauchi's frenzied autophilia has overcome his reason. Why include the 800 Standard car models of last-gen quality, and thus disastrously undermine your own graphical hype? To this "heroic completist" building "a Noah's Ark for cars" (copyright Christian Donlan), it must have made perfect sense, but it doesn't to at least half the internet.

Still, it's a shame that the misunderstandings, over-inflated expectations and fanboy furore (as well as the legitimate complaints) raging around GT5 right now obscure the fact that it's a gigantic achievement by its own unique standards and also, incidentally, the best game in the series since GT2. The Gran Turismo backlash has arrived at least five years too late.

"Gran Turismo has a reputation for sterility which it really doesn't deserve. If you know cars and know where to look, there's passion and fantasy and even humour here," I wrote in my 9/10 review. "One section of GT5 communicates the spirit of motor racing in all its forms better than any other game."

Yes, next to Microsoft's relentlessly rational and well-executed Forza Motorsport 3 (which I am an equally big fan of), GT5 is inconsistent and strange. But that's because it's the result of a mad ego being given almost unlimited time and money to build a temple to his own artistry and passion. It is, in that sense, absolutely a work of art.

Think that's not something that belongs in videogames? Be careful what you wish for.

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