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Gran Turismo 6 Review

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Wednesday 15 January 20143 COMMENTS

Available on PS3 l Published by Sony l Developed by Polyphony Digital l Classified G l Supports 1-16 players

REVIEW IN BRIEF > The spectacular driving of Gran Turismo returns. Unfortunately some other legacies of a bygone era also come along for the ride. Terrible menus, bland presentation, poor damage modelling and simplistic AI create the impression of playing Gran Turismo 1 with a fresh coat of paint. The attention to detail, great car physics and sheer amount of content goes a long way to making up for that. Still, it’s hard not to feel that GT is stuck in the past and needs a shakeup in the next iteration.

REVIEW IN FULL > I have a confession to make. Before coming to grips with Gran Turismo 6, I hadn’t played a GT game since the second iteration on the original PlayStation. This wasn’t because I didn’t like the series. It was simply that I never owned a PS2. I had moved to the Xbox and GT’s biggest competitor, Forza. For the longest time I simply assumed that both series had grown and evolved over the years and they were still almost identical in feature sets. After putting some serious time into GT6, I had to conclude this wasn’t actually the case.

A staggering number of cars greeted me when I went to purchase my vehicle…

Let me start off with the good points. The driving in GT6 felt great. Taking a supercar around a mountain track was as exhilarating and nail biting as it had always been. That giant engine pumping under the bonnet of my virtual car meant that one wrong move had me careening into a paddock and deservedly so. This was a game of precision and there was no margin for error. I didn’t get any free passes for poor driving and I was glad for it. The driving engine I loved back in the PSone days had been polished and refined to near perfection, making this first and foremost a game for car lovers.

The next amazingly impressive aspect of GT6 was the sheer amount of content on offer. A staggering number of cars greeted me when I went to purchase my vehicle, possibly too many as I struggled to decide on which gas guzzling beast to buy. Not only were there an enormous number of cars but a great selection of side activities as well. Coffee breaks were a selection of exciting little mini games that helped improve my driving skills by giving me crazy tasks like knocking down traffic cones. There were also go-kart races, special timed events and some weird modes like photo tour and lunar buggy (which allowed me to drive in low G) for me to attempt. Add to that a staggering amount of traditional racing event and there was certainly no shortage of driving shenanigans for me to enjoy.

The sheer size of the game may have caused one of its biggest problems: the presentation. There was so much to do, but it was all hidden by menu after menu after menu, which made getting to the content a chore. For example, to buy some new parts for my car I had to go to the car menu, click on the tuning selection, choose the performance parts component, pick which part of the car I wanted to upgrade, decide on the part, look at the part, buy the part and then finally fit it to my car (phew). It was all so convoluted and counterintuitive that it made me want to scream. The sad thing is that almost all activities in the game made me jump through hoops simply to access a particular feature. I thought this approach had long since been consigned to the dustbin of bad game design.

There was so much to do, but it was all hidden by menu after menu after menu, which made getting to the content a chore.

The presentation was not the only thing stuck in the past. Once I unlocked damage modelling (yes I had to unlock car damage) I found it to be simplistic and unrealistic. Compared to GT’s competitors, it felt downright archaic. Also the superfluous licence system returned to force me to complete mundane activities like braking in a straight line or turning a corner to gain access to the next set of races. This sort of thing should have been abolished years ago as all it did was frustrate me and restrict my freedom within the game. Finally, my opposing drivers’ AI was pretty terrible. They felt like cars on rails as they followed boring safe routes around the track. There was seemingly no indication from the other drivers that I was even on the course. Hell, even when I ran into them, they simply allowed me to pass and returned to their prescribed routes. This meant that the only real competition I had in GT6 was myself. The AI drivers were just obstacles to be easily avoided.

I did have a good time with GT6. There was no denying that the series had again nailed the feeling of high speed, simulated driving. Struggling to keep a V8 rear wheel drive on the road, sliding a rally car around a dirt corner and burning up the straight in a supercar were all captured perfectly in this game. It was such a shame then that my time was marred by legacies of days gone by. These relics of the past really gave me the feeling that if the GT series doesn’t get a serious makeover when it makes its way to the PS4, it could be left in the dust by its more advanced competitors. Like my first car, GT is something I will always love, but at the same time I recognised that it was time I moved onto something better.

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  1. Grubdog says:

    Eh, GT5 was stuck in the past but GT6 fixed almost every problem the series had. The grinding, the stiff handling and the presentation is so much more streamlined in GT6, it feels like Polyphony finally accepted they were making a videogame. In terms of physics GT6 is a ridiculous jump and the cars feel so alive. Forza is barely a videogame in comparison with all the non-racing features of the game and the wild unfocused physics. It’s almost a different genre.

    Then again if you’re not into motorsport / racing sims you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. I also get the feeling you played with a controller with assists on. GT6 is not really worth a review (or recommendation) unless you play it properly.

    Menu’s a problem, really? Sounds like you found the game a burden from the start. You don’t even have to do 80% of the events in the game. There’s significantly less license tests than previous GT’s and they’re now easy enough to Gold first go if you play these games often. The game practically throws credits at you for showing up.

  2. Hewso says:

    Hey Grubdog,

    I think you miss read me. I said that the racing was really good, physics, driving all top notch. What I didn’t like was the stuff around the racing

    And your definition of “Playing properly” is inherently wrong. Who are you to say how I should play the game (for your info I played in an automatic gearbox with no driving line and the only assist was traction control) Games should be played how the player wishes to play them. If GT gives options to play in a certain manner it is certainly fair to comment on that mode/state of play.

    But considering I basically said in my review everything you are stating about the driving I think you missed it. As for Forza comparisons there is no doubt that Forza has the presentation aspects nailed over GT and yes I have played significant amounts of both. I never once compared the driving or handling of the cars. It seems you are simply jumping to the defence of the game you love, which is fine but remember I don’t have to love what you do.

  3. Stephen Foote says:

    Nice review Matt, have to say after the ridiculously drawn out dev cycle of GT5, this title seems to have snuck out with little to no fanfare (probably because they didn’t waste everybodys time with a GT6 Prologue). I’m surprised Sony didn’t pressure them for a PS4 version to entice racing fans into make the jump to next gen slightly earlier.

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