Gran Turismo 6 is the latest entry in Polyphony Digital’s PlayStation exclusive racing series which once again sports the tagline “the real driving simulator.” Despite arriving so late in the PlayStation 3′s life cycle, GT6 promises to bring new levels of realism to the racing game genre.
What You Need to Know
The experience you get out of Gran Turismo 6 is very much dependent on which aspects of racing you enjoy. The game has an overwhelming number of cars, tracks, events and modes but thankfully GT6 feels very accessible whether your focus is to collect as many cars as possible or take photos of your top rides in exotic locations around the globe.
There are also many racing disciplines represented in GT6, from karting to off-road racing to driving some of the world’s fastest supercars around famous tracks such as Silverstone and Willow Springs International Raceway.
Gran Turismo 6 feels like a proper sequel to GT5 thanks to a number of refinements across the board. Load times have been significantly reduced and moving between menus is snappier than ever. Progressing through each stage of GT6′s career mode feels like less of a chore than it did in GT5 since you only need to complete about eight races to unlock the license test, which paves the way to the next stage of your career.
GT6 also boasts an overhauled physics engine featuring improved tyre, suspension and aerodynamics modelling. This change is immediately obvious during your first race as your car shifts realistically on its suspension and your tyres respond to cornering in a more dynamic manner.
Besides noticeably improved graphics and an expanded roster of cars and tracks, another major change is a more flexible game engine that allows Polyphony Digital to issue small updates for GT6 from within the game. These updates could take the form of complimentary new cars and tracks, or even something more minor such as eradicating a graphical glitch.
What’s the Same?
The last Gran Turismo game I played seriously was GT4 and it’s fair to say that I felt right at home during my first five minutes with Gran Turismo 6. Although the menu has been refined and the content significantly expanded over the years, many of the courses that are synonymous with the series such as ‘High Speed Ring’ and ‘Deep Forest Raceway’ make a return, as do all the cars from previous instalments along with modes such as ‘Arcade,’ ‘Time Trial’ and ‘Free Run.’
The familiarity of GT6 is also its downfall at times since returning foibles such as lacklustre car audio, unrealistic collisions and unnaturally slow or fast AI opponents (depending if you’re behind or in front) detract from an otherwise outstanding game.
You’ll Enjoy Gran Turismo 6 If You Liked…
… The Forza Motorsport series. Turn 10 Studios’ Xbox exclusive racing franchise is Gran Turismo’s closest contender in the console sphere and also emphasises simulation over arcade action.
… The TOCA/Grid series. During the PSone days Codemasters’ TOCA franchise went head-to-head with the original Gran Turismo and GT2. In 2008 this series morphed into Grid which placed a greater emphasis on arcade racing and high speed collisions.
What I Liked
- 5.) There’s no mandatory install for GT6 since the game employs a new system whereby relevant data is installed as you play. This allows you to jump straight into the action and means that once you’re raced on a track you can expect it to load a lot quicker the next time you visit it.
- 4.) Many of the events in Career Mode place a restriction on the ‘PP’ (performance points) of the cars participating in it. What’s great is that you can turn down the PP value of any car meaning that you’re able to race a very powerful vehicle (albeit temporarily slower) in a lower level event.
- 3.) The vast array of options when you set up an online lobby really puts the power in players’ hands. For example, you can turn mechanical damage on or off, or decide whether slower cars are placed first or last on the grid.
- 2.) There are placeholders for a number of concept cars that will gradually be added to the game via free updates. If the first of these cars, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo, is anything to go by then each concept vehicle will be accompanied by a brief showcase video and sketches detailing the design process.
- 1.) It’s a very easy process to set up your own music to play during races or while navigating menus. The game does feature a fairly solid collection of tunes but being able to select your own soundtrack is always a very welcome inclusion.
The first time I came across GT6′s dynamic time of day was certainly a memorable experience. I was racing in a Career Mode event and had no idea that this particular event would tick over the clock at a rapid pace. The race started in the late afternoon and within a few minutes I was driving in the dark and struggling to judge the corners that were illuminated solely by my headlights.
What I Didn’t Like
- 4.) There’s no Quick Race option in GT6′s online mode so getting onto the track requires you to either join someone else’s lobby or create your own. It can be a frustrating process trying to find a lobby and corresponding event which can be entered by one of the cars in your garage.
- 3.) If there’s no dashboard data for a specific car then the dashboard is merely comprised of a black silhouette. This certainly breaks your sense of immersion and is a disappointing omission in the case of recent additions to GT6′s roster such as the BMW M4 Coupé.
- 2.) The game doesn’t penalise you for cutting corners or taking short-cuts during singleplayer races which gives you an unfair advantage in many tracks.
- 1.) Polyphony Digital has said that it will consider releasing an audio patch for GT6 down the line but as things stand, the game’s audio component is very poorly executed. Engine noises sound more like a hum than a growl (even in the case of GT6′s supercars) and collision audio effects also leave a lot to be desired.
Least Favourite Moment
GT6′s physics may have been overhauled from previous instalments but the same can’t be said for collisions. During various moments playing the game I discovered that you can still use other cars as an artificial barrier during cornering, and tail-ending the car in front of you at top speed won’t knock them too far off-course or send them into a spin.
Gran Turismo 6 has more than enough content to be considered a complete game but it will continue to be expanded for the foreseeable future via free updates. These include new concept cars and upcoming showroom offerings such as the aforementioned BMW M4 Coupé, along with new tracks and a revamped Course Maker mode that allows you to build tracks based on routes you drive in the real world.
There are also regularly updated Seasonal Events to take part in which are based on the latest cars added to the game, and which each feature online leaderboards to showcase the fastest drivers from around the globe.
The Bottom Line
Gran Turismo 6 is a well structured, content-rich racer that pushes the PS3 to the very edge of its capabilities. Not every element of the game is as well executed as the next but future updates should bring about further refinements to the winning Gran Turismo formula.