Gran Turismo 6 Game Review and Analysis
By Dan Maurer
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Designer: Kazunori Yamauchi
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: December 6, 2013
Genre: Sim Racing
Gran Turismo 6 is the product of a singular vision, and that vision is Kazonori Yamauchi’s. It was Yamauchi who saw the potential of a more serious console driving game, and it is Yamauchi who has overseen the series as it’s developed from PS1 through to PS2 and PS3. An infamous perfectionist, he’s always pushed for a game that replicates every detail of the driving experience, tweaking the tracks, the visuals and the handling until he gets the look and feel he’s looking for. When you play Gran Turismo, you always get the sense that he’s striving for the ideal Gran Turismo; not the one that’s running on your console, but the one that’s running in his head. It’s an approach that has made Gran Turismo what it is today, but also leaves the sixth iteration in an odd situation. Gran Turismo 6 is simultaneously the best game in the series but also slightly disappointing.
Because GT6 is optimized for PlayStation 3 and not the more powerful PlayStation 4 console, I didn’t detect an uptick in the game’s graphics department. It’s nice that all the cars are now rendered to the same exacting detail, but don’t expect to be blown away by otherworldly visual realism, and crashing still has no tangible effect on vehicle appearance. Full-throttle, top-speed hits add dents, which mostly look like dirt smudges, hit a lot of stuff, and your car will look dirty, but that’s it. You can expect to be impressed by GT6’s retooled physics engine, which takes the game from an already competent simulator to an even higher level.
Sony managed to work a variety of new vehicle-altering parameters into GT6, including realistic tire physics, vehicle-dependent aerodynamics that can take into account the car’s orientation and direction of travel, and suspensions tuned based on what Sony calls “actual vehicle analysis.” Cars are now more sensitive to weight transfer both side to side and fore and aft, and the tire dynamics transform the way cars in the game respond to inputs. Whether you use a controller or a good steering wheel, the sensation of grip and when it lets go is more noticeable than before. The game is rendered in native 1080p and 60FPS.
As for Career mode where most hard-core driving-simulator guys will spend their time, there are still multiple racing classes and still the odd license tests to ascend to higher levels. This is where GT6 shines, because it will take players a while to move through the game, and the incrementally higher difficulty presented by each new level will keep you hooked. I went through the Novice level in about an hour but upon reaching the next step, I faced seemingly exponentially more races and noticeably harder racing. I expected to spend a lot of time working up through the National A, International B, International A, and Super categories.
My only gripe in this area was that the game forces you to buy a 2010 Honda Fit RS as your first car, instead of leaving you to chose from a list of Novice-eligible rides. For all its simulator-quality game dynamics, immersive racing experience, and impressive car and track stats, GT6 feels slightly disappointing. The incremental improvements in gameplay and detail quality are nice, but the downgraded Arcade mode and lack of a Big Step Forward feature offset those gains in our book, leaving GT6 feeling much like GT5. Rumor has it that the next Gran Turismo game could arrive as soon as one year from now on PlayStation 4.
Touching on the online side of things, it’s not as painful as Gran Turismo 5’s set-up thankfully but there aren’t too many changes either. During my time with the game online, I didn’t experience any major issues so it seems to be running quite well so far. Although that might be due to the somewhat limited options. The online portion of the game does maintain the 1080p/60FPS ratio as the single player does. Right now, you can set up a lobby and take on people around the world that way, but in the future you’ll be able to get into quick matches and there’s the promise of a community section too. Updates to the online portion of the game have been rumored to start around January-February. As far as lag goes I experienced little to no lag during the online sessions I played in.
Gran Turismo 6 is a slight step-up from Gran Turismo 5 in a few ways. Menu’s are easier to understand and navigate, and for the most part the game is still loaded full of content (1300+ cars) and just as fun as ever to play. This may be the last big first party title for the PS3 and if that’s the case, this definitely sends out the PS3 with a bang.
PunchDrunkGamer.com Final Score: 8 out of 10
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