DLC for Gran Turismo 5 is not exactly abundant
That just makes the arrival of the Twin Ring Motegi track, a combination of an American style oval course and a European style road layout, even better. Based in Japan, near the town of Motegi, the track is an amazing setting, ranking up there with the likes of Suzuka for spectacular Japanese racing.
The racing facility was built in 1997 by Honda, in order to entice open-wheel Indy racing to Japan. With over 6 KM of road in total, it’s not to be scoffed at. In Gran Turismo 5 you can race on any of the four tracks / layouts available and, while it’s definitely home to some exciting racing, the Twin Ring Motegi isn’t for me.
While the road style track really has been implemented with detail at its core, it’s hamstrung by major problems: the circuit is just too flat, with seemingly endless hairpin style corners that, in my mind, break up the flow of a race. The fact that it’s flat also means that the scenery is relatively drab; you certainly shouldn’t expect any stunning vistas like those seen at the Nurburgring or the Eiger Nordwand.
The circuit's relatively lacklustre format may have much to do with its origins, being purpose built rather than some of the more infamous courses which developed throughout the years. It would have been more exciting, particularly for us NZ gamers, to have a crack at Hampton Downs, which appears to be a more exciting track in general (though considerably shorter at 2.8km long).
Not a lot can be said about the Twin Ring Motegi oval, because, well, it’s an oval. If you enjoy oval racing, you’ll enjoy Twin Ring Motegi’s oval, but for me the road track is what it’s all about, and with the Twin Ring Motegi I’m left wondering if it has really made a big difference to my Gran Turismo 5 racing career.
While it's true that having more tracks to race on is better than having fewer, it’s also true that diversity is important. Unfortunately, the Twin Ring Motegi pack doesn’t provide either a new or an exciting experience.
On the positive side, possibly to apologise for the delays in getting the DLC out to the masses, the developers also released the 2012 Scion FR-S as a free download for all Gran Turismo 5 gamers. A front engine, rear-wheel driven fun machine, it’s what we would consider to be a relatively affordable sports-car, which still packs quite a punch. Don’t be fooled by the badge, however; Scion is Toyota’s attempt to break into the North American market and appeal to a younger buyer. Judging by the Scion FR-S, it’s very likely to work.
Ultimately whether or not the Twin Ring Motegi race course is enjoyable will depend on you, the driver. Is it the kind of track you enjoy or do you prefer something else, as I do. At $9.50 it’s not expensive, but given it’s one track with four layouts it’s also not great, and while the free Scion FR-S sweetens the deal, it would be nicer to see Sony invest a bit more time into regular, solid DLC.