By Matthew Scott Hunter
‘Gran Turismo 5’ (E)
Down the track
Sony Computer Entertainment
After six long years and a lot of hype, the 1,000+ cars of “Gran Turismo 5” have finally reached the starting line. When we last saw this series, it was the undefeated champion of hyper-realistic racing simulators, but the roads were a little more barren back then. “GT5” has the newest models of “Need for Speed” and “Forza Motorsport” to compete against. So how does it match up? It really depends on how much of the game you experience. Two hundred of the game’s vehicles get the premium treatment with insanely detailed — almost photorealistic — graphics, cockpit views and handling so painstakingly precise, you can almost sense that new car smell. But this sort of attention isn’t lavished upon the remaining 800 cars in the garage — some of which feel like they’ve spent the last six years covered under a tarp on the PlayStation 2.
The same disparity is present on the game’s racetracks. For every vista of astonishing beauty (and there are a few), there’s also a leftover track from an earlier game with only a slight graphical upgrade. But despite all the tiny scuffs on “GT5’s” paint job, the engine runs beautifully. Gear-heads still won’t find a more realistic driving simulator than “Gran Turismo.” The unforgiving physics challenge even the most seasoned driver, and when you zip over that finish line first, you know you’ve earned it. Whether you prefer NASCAR, Formula 1, kart racers or Toyota Corollas, it’s all here. It’s excusable to have a few small defects when your auto-line’s this immense.
‘TRON Evolution’ (T)
Disney Interactive Studios
You can’t get much more meta than a video game about a story about a video game, but “TRON: Evolution” misses its opportunity to be self-aware, opting instead to give us a more traditional movie tie-in game, complete with an assortment of features stolen from better games. The action is pure “Prince of Persia,” with a lot of wall running and close-quarters combat. Fans of “TRON” mythology might value the game for its story, which bridges the gap between the original film and the sequel, but as a piece of interactive entertainment, “Evolution” is just neon-lit mediocrity.
‘Raving Rabbids: Travels in Time’ (E10+)
Ditching the narrative adventure format of their last game, those rascally rabbids have returned to their mini-game roots. This time, they’re wreaking havoc in a museum, the exhibits of which serve as gateways to specific points in history and the specific mini-games that go with them. Generally, these games are quick and easy rip-offs of other games like “Mario Kart” or “Tetris,” but they handle well enough and — along with the silly antics of the bug-eyed bunnies — should easily amuse the kids.
‘Sonic Colors’ (E)
The DS version of “Sonic Colors” is an entirely 2D affair and features some of the blue hedgehog’s best sidescrolling action ever. Like its Wii counterpart, this version offers color-coded power-ups to keep the gameplay varied, including a DS exclusive purple power-up that turns Sonic into a black hole to suck in gold rings and bad guys. The second screen helps to give a wider view of the action, and when you’re traveling at Sonic’s pace, it’s infinitely helpful to see as much of what’s ahead as possible. CV