Image courtesy: Riceman Designs

Intro/disclaimer

This is my written review of Gran Turismo 6. I am sure there are some people that like to read such things, and so here it is. Hopefully this can be of use to people who are considering the game, or perhaps you just like to find out about another opinion of the game. If you prefer to watch and listen, then the above video is the exact same thing spoken in clear English and some stuff on screen to keep your eyes busy.

First of all, this isn’t a day 1 “review” after a couple hours with the game. As of writing this, it has been out for 1 month, and I have played it extensively in that time. Secondly, if you are not a regular to my [ youtube] channel, GT is the only game that I cover, so I would like to think that I have a reasonably well rounded knowledge of the game and the series.

Finally, I use the G27 wheel at all times when I play, and therefore my opinions are, for the most part, based upon play with a wheel, although I will touch on controller play too.

 


I’ll start with the bread and butter of any driving sim; the feel of the driving, the physics, and the feedback from the car to the player. For me, Gran Turismo has always been one of the better driving games/simulators, when it comes to how it feels behind the wheel. The weight of the steering, the feedback from the track, and feel of the car’s weight moving around. This is no different in GT6, and I think it has really improved since [GT]5. You can really feel the suspension at work in every corner, and you get a very satisfying, weighty feel, which was somewhat missing in GT5. Due to this, getting a car around the track can be a workout at times, but also the sense of satisfaction is immense.

When you watch a replay back, you can really see the suspension at work, and at this point, I would be happy to say that I personally think the way the car moves and behaves, looks more realistic than any other driving sim out there. This is fed back to the driver with effective force feedback, which really heightens that feeling of being in the car, with all 4 wheels on the track surface. When driving without the assists, the difficulty of the game, due to this new level of realism, can often be a lot harder, especially in high powered cars, and even those of you who will have played previous games, will need to refine your skills in order to stay in control.

Not only is it more realistic, but the fun factor hits an new high too. Just driving laps in all sorts of different cars brings a smile to my face, or I find myself gently chuckling to myself as I take a GT3 car around the Nordschliefe, and its this kind of thing that really keeps me coming back, time after time.

One way in which GT6 has evolved from GT5, is the menu system. In the previous iteration, menu load times where sluggish, the dashboard was somewhat random and irritating to get around, and generally didn’t get much love. This time around, we see an entirely new menu. Load times are massively decreased, and everything we want is right there in front of us, in an intuitive and easy to use menu. Quick paging means that we can get from one side to the other quickly, and being able to access settings and car options from anywhere is a very seamless and neat experience. Sometimes we can get deep into a sub menu, for example a race event, which is several layers deep, and from here, the only way back to the main menu, is repeatedly hitting the back button. In this regard, the home button present in GT5 is missed, but at the end of the day, the speed at which you navigate the menus more than makes up for this slight shortcoming, and overall, the ratio of time spent between menus and loading screens, to on track racing, swings gracefully in the right direction.

Let’s talk about content. With a car selection of around 12 hundred cars, and 30 track locations (and that’s excluding many variations on certain tracks), the drivable content is truly unprecedented. In true Gran Turismo style the car choice is one we might call eclectic, with cars ranging from not-yet-released, futuristic concept cars, to a world war 2 era amphibious car, to the Lunar Rover Moon buggy. This selection truly represents Polyphony Digital’s aim to present car culture in their game. There will be many of you out there that find the lack some of the newer super cars off-putting, but the goal here is to offer players driving experiences that most will never get. The range of different cars remains something no other driving game accomplishes.

Another major thing is the presence of standard cars. This was something introduced in GT5, where many cars from GT PSP, or GT4 were carried over to the new game, but not converted into the super high detail premium cars, with interior and all. Some of these cars have been updated into premium cars for GT6, however many remain in somewhat the same state that they were in GT5. This is of course disappointing, but bare in mind that there is still somewhere in the region of 400 cars fully modeled and detailed. Not only this, but the standard label has been removed from those that were considered standard before, meaning they can be taken into photo-mode and be given modifications etc in just the same way that premium cars could be in GT5.

Track selection is nothing short of comprehensive in GT6, with over 30 different real-world, and original tracks being included. That’s just the locations. Many of these have different track layouts, directions, and additionally, even more have real-time day/night cycles available, as well as variable weather conditions should you choose to use them. Dirt and snow tracks are also available, although there are only a handful to choose from.

Time to touch on career mode. Since the explosion of online play on the consoles, and its introduction to the series in GT5, the offline single player career mode, often referred to as A-Spec, has been something of much debate, and a large divide has become apparent. There are many people that buy the game and want only to race online with friends or in a league and so the accumulation of cars and credits, as well as progress through the offline events is a somewhat tedious chore which they would rather be rid of. On the other side, players love the offline experience, building up a garage of cars, and getting every last trophy.

The number of events in GT6 is a step up from GT5, with the same categorised layout of events from Novice to Super being used. The AI difficulty increases as you progress, as does the credit payout. You will start the game using some of the less exotic and cheaper cars, and finish up with some high performance and classic, priceless cars taking the stage late-game. If you want to just get from the start to the end in as little time as possible, worry not. There is no more XP, a la GT5, instead a star system is implemented. Each race awards you stars, and the next set of events unlocks after a certain amount of stars are earned. Generally speaking there are around 15 championships and event sets in each category, and in order to progress, you may only need to win the first 2 or 3. The only other thing you need in order to progress is to obtain the licences. This requires you passing 5 tests of technical skill, that will both challenge you to be as fast as you can, and for the less experienced players, teach you core skills you will need to further your game.

For the guys that like a big padded out single player, worry not. Whilst the A-spec offering may not be quite as comprehensive as GT4, there are still a good wealth of events. As you complete these core event sets, you will unlock various other events and races, such as one-make tournaments, mission races, which are essentially set-up events that will challenge you to do certain things such as overtake a car that starts before you, and coffee break challenges, mini-games in cars, that have you knocking over cones, saving fuel and other, short and fun on-track games. Alongside these, you will also find the game’s special events, which include driving the lunar rover on the Moon, and also invitations to the well known Goodwood Festival of Speed’s hill climb challenge.

It would have been nice to see things such as the manufacturer events like we had in GT4, and the missing endurance races is a big slap in the face to some hardcore fans of A-Spec. Currently the best alternative is simulated endurance races, such as the 24 minutes of Le-mans, where you see the full 24 hour day-night cycle in just 24 minutes. Given that one of the features they showed off prior to release was the true-to-life astronomy and lighting, it is fairly disappointing that there are no full endurance races on offer in GT6’s single player.

Another thing that is important to mention in regards to single player is the AI. In GT5 the AI was very tame and generally not interesting to race against. GT6 is still not perfect in this area, but there are notable improvements. The speed of the AI is increased, and in equal performing cars, they can often match you for pace. They also defend their lines more strongly, and aren’t afraid to make contact if you go alongside them when they want to turn in. The main problem with the AI, interestingly, is not the AI at all. It is the way the career is designed. Each event has a limit on the performance level of your car, however the AI are almost always driving cars of lower performance than what you are allowed to enter with, meaning that you end up just blazing through them. This is most notable in events such as the mission races. There is an early mission race that has you taking on a Nissan GT-R, whilst you drive the same car. He gets a head-start off the line, and whilst it was reasonably easy to catch and pass him, for the rest of the race, he kept up with me, and used the draft to go for overtakes down the straights. I get the feeling that in this regard, Polyphony Digital are trying to cater for the casual market. The majority of buyers of Gran Turismo are casual players, and do not have masses of skill, so losing over and over to the AI will not be fun for them. This of course makes the game less enjoyable for the smaller percentage of more serious players that want a challenge from the game. I would like to see them in the future allow the difficulty to be changed, so that new players can use the easier AI, but for the people that want that challenge, they can use the highest difficulty AI, and the performance limit on cars needs to be brought down to the same level as the AI uses.

Now for one of the biggest talking points – the sounds. This has been something that Gran Turismo games have been criticised for in the past, and so there were a lot of expectations on the sounds of cars, in the lead-up to release. 1 thing can be said for certain, there has been some work done on the sounds. In GT5, there were a handful of cars that sounded great, and a lot of cars that sounded less great. The sounds used are in fact recorded from the real life counter-parts, to try to reproduce a realistic sound, but it feels like some of the depth and feel of the engine and exhaust notes are lost. In GT6, many more cars have a great sound. Some of the cars in GT5 that sounded less good have been improved, and overall there are more cars that will satisfy your need for a great sound. There are still quite a few cars that don’t have that very full bodied sound, and this may disappoint some players.

Often, the sounds are compared to that of other games, and what I will say is that the sounds aren’t faked. Often you will hear cars in games that have been artificially beefed up so that they sound more aggressive or deeper, and whilst that may sound more ‘awesome’, it’s no more realistic than the slightly wimpy sounds that you can hear on some vehicles in GT6. Overall, the sounds have been improved, but there is definitely still room for more improvement. I personally feel like, whilst having great sounds is certainly not a bad thing, they are more subsidiary, and better driving far outweighs having better sounds.

Another important feature to touch on is car customisation and tuning. The tuning itself resembles something very similar to what has been seen before, albeit the menus in the tuning options screen is now significantly improved. Changing settings, adding and removing parts and other tuning options is very quick and easy, and a few new options have been added, including different brake options, removable engine and weight options, and nitrous, a welcome addition originally seen in GT4.

When it comes to customisation, I’m certain there will be a level of disappointment. Once again, there is no livery editor, custom vinyls, or anything of that nature. On the flip side, the wheel choices are hugely increased, with an abundance of rim choices, as well as the availability of different sized rims. Alongside this, the external parts that can be added have been extended, with more parts available for more cars, and some new parts such as headlamp covers and flat-floors are also available. Painting your car is now a world better than previous titles. Whilst you will still need to collect colours, unlocked from buying new cars from the dealerships, or given out in some events, they are no longer consumable, and once you have it unlocked, you can use it any number of times. The paint shop offers you a preview of your car with its new look so you can properly see the final product before you buy, a major flaw in the GT5 system.

The last thing before I talk about online, is replays and photo mode. Generally speaking, the replay options have been improved, with slightly more tweaking and options available during playback. Replays can be stopped at any time just like in GT5 and you can snap some photos of the race, equally you can fast forward and rewind in a similar way to GT5. It’s not the best system, snapping to splits and new laps, so if you are trying to freeze frame one particular moment and you miss it, you may have to rewind a large chunk backward to try and get it again, which can be a pain. Frustratingly, it is also not possible to remove the names of drivers from online races. Whilst I love that such a thing exists, it is important to many players to be able to view the replays without the names for that true cinematic experience, and currently that is not possible.

If we talk about photo mode, I am surprised to see the photo-mode locations from GT5 did not make it into GT6, which is surprising given how beautiful they were in GT5. We should not take away however that the locations that are included, are absolutely stunning, and with the new lighting engine in GT6 this really shows off how beautiful the game is, despite it being a PS3 only title. Once again, for all those photography buffs, GT6 provides an extremely powerful tool that you can really dig your teeth into to find those amazing shots of your favourite cars.

That leaves us with just one topic – Online. Currently, this is the major disappointment in the game for me. Currently it is barely different to GT5’s online mode, which was in itself very limiting, but the lobbies are also extremely bug heavy at the moment, which makes setting up online races somewhat of a chore. There are some new options which have potential, such as the built in qualification sessions, and some new car selection methods, however Shuffle racing from GT5 has gone, which was a fun and popular feature, and one-make races are still limited to a selection of cars given by Polyphony Digital. This time around, there are only 20 cars that can be chosen for a one-make race, and it’s something that I personally feel seriously needs to be improved. Already I have seen multiple bugs from the starting grid, with drivers being placed all over, as well as people getting kicked, PS3’s freezing, and lobbies simply not appearing in the lists for some players.

With all that said, when it goes right, racing is just as good fun as it always was in GT5, and already I have had some incredibly fun races with guys online. Things can only improve as bugs gets fixed and features get added. Polyphony have also promised a significant overhaul to the online system, with a community features update. This is set to include things like clubs, organised racing, and hopefully a large overhaul to the lobby system. This update is due at any time now, and if you are watching this video [or reading, for that matter] at some point down the line, many of the problems I am talking about may have been resolved, as I expect the experience to really improve from here on in.

To summarise, the base game is a real improvement from GT5. The driving experience itself feels fresh, very realistic, and very fun. The A-Spec career offers a decent offering of events, not to mention the continued addition of new events. Already in the first month we have a whole new event set for the Red Bull X2014, and I haven’t even mentioned the seasonal events – single player events added weekly with big rewards. The navigation and menus are worlds better, and generally speaking systems within the game are so much smoother. Booting the game takes a matter of seconds, and load times inside are reduced massively compared with GT5 (around 30-45 seconds from the disc now). There are still bugs that need ironing out, no doubt about it, and sometimes you get the impression that it was somewhat rushed to be released on-time, but you shouldn’t feel put out by that. As I said, we have already seen multiple updates addressing issues in game, and adding more content. With the Vision GT project, concept cars designed for the game by big name manufactures and designers, and partnerships bringing cars to the game before release such as the BMW M4 and Chevrolet Corvette [C7], we can expect so much more in the way of content and updates.

You may have noticed I didn’t touch on graphics, and that’s because, simply put, they are not much different to GT5. This is to be expected, as the game is only out on PS3, and the game already looked quite incredible. We have seen updates to the lighting as mentioned earlier, but for the most part you will not notice much difference graphically. For that, you can look forward for what they have in store for us on the PS4.

I hope that you have enjoyed this review of the game, or if you are thinking of buying the game, then I hope that it has been of use to you. Ifyou don’t already follow my channel,I post purely Gran Turismo videos, so be sure to subscribe if that sounds interesting to you.


Remember these are my opinions regarding the game as it’s own entity. I am well aware that some people may be concerned about whatisn’tin the game (B-Spec, Course Maker etc), but that was not what this review was concerning.

I would appreciate if we can all keep any comments civil, but of course you are welcome to discuss the game, and would be most happy to receive feedback on this review.

Permission to publish this review was kindly given by the authorOink83.Thank-You to him. You can find more fantastic videos covering the Gran Turismo series over on Oink83’s YouTubeChanel. Please subscribe and share.

 

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