Home
OS Scores Explained Gran Turismo 6 Overview (PS3)
Pros
Great graphics; Huge variety of modes; Huge selection of vehicles
Cons
Feels too familiar; Very dry simulation; Occasional long load times
Bottom Line
If you're OK with a racing "simulation" rather than a "game," then GT6 is right down your alley.
7.5
out of 10
Gran Turismo 6 REVIEW

Gran Turismo 6 Review (PS3)

Though you may buy it from a place that sells video games, and play it on a machine called a gaming console, I would hesitate to label Gran Turismo 6 as a game. 

The word I find more accurately describes this title is simulation. When thought of in the same vein as flight and economic sims, it's a bit easier to overlook some of GT6’s flaws -- even if this is the best entry in the series to date.

Gameplay

Anyone familiar with the Gran Turismo titles will find themselves at home when firing up the latest iteration of the series. In fact, the series’ influence in other franchises, such as Forza, will provide newcomers with a familiar experience. GT6 takes all of what you know about the genre and streamlines it in ways that often just make sense.

If you've never played a title like this before, you essentially progress your way through a "career" by buying cars and unlocking races. I use career in quotes, because there’s a very small window dressing here: you buy a car, race, and earn stars. Don’t expect cut-scenes, characterization, or any other kind of narrative -- it’s all about stars and money. This leads to a pretty sterile environment (and the simulator categorization) which I’ll discuss a bit later.

I do like that GT6 opens up the vehicle selection from the beginning. If you have enough cash, you can buy whatever car you’d like. That’s not saying there are events you can race it in, but the elimination of unlockable cars is certainly freeing. In fact, the sheer number of cars is staggering, though the filtering options could be better.

In-car, the handling is stellar and there is definitely a distinct feel for each car. For fun, I bought a Honda Element, the car I’ve been driving in real life for the past 5 years. Cruising around a track in a giant box really felt different than a nimble roadster. 

Speaking of the Element, I was disappointed (but not surprised) that some cars have fairly limited options. In-car, the Element was nothing but a black silhouette -- as opposed to the superb interiors of other more popular cars. There were also limited upgrade options for the car, reducing the actual playability of a percentage of the 1,000 or so vehicles. This isn’t a huge deal, as you’ll most likely gravitate (or be encouraged) to select performance vehicles, but it can limit the viability of totally suping up a stock vehicle into a true contender.

One other area of disappointment is the damage modeling and collision penalties. The AI drivers are pretty good, and generally do a great job of avoiding contact. I, on the other hand, did a fair share of drifting into and bumping opponents. I didn’t feel like the damage shown to my ride was severe enough, nor did I feel overly penalized (in terms of speed) for my contact. I suppose this may not be an issue for highly skilled drivers, but it didn’t necessarily encourage more accurate driving on my part.

Graphics

For a PS3 game, Gran Turismo 6 certainly looks beautiful. From landscapes to vehicle modeling, this is one of the best looking games of the generation. The most noticeable issues are recurring “jaggies” on objects at a distance and crowds -- neither of which are important while your are driving, especially if you use the in-car view.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect, graphically, is the lighting. Changes in brightness, such as leaving a tunnel, or driving into the sun are superbly recreated onscreen. Racing at dusk or in the morning provides some noticeable differences -- though all of it looks great.

Simulation or Game?

I began by alluding to why GT6 is better defined as a simulation than a game, but let me elaborate. The driving genre has certainly developed since the Gran Turismo series debuted on the original PlayStation, and the line between arcade racer and driving simulation has been blurred. Perhaps no game better straddled that line than Forza: Horizons, with its story, free roam, and leveling system. 

But GT6 stays "old-school", rewarding only completions and placement. Both will earn you stars and cash, but that’s about it. There’s no bonuses for clean driving or development of rivals; no skills to increase, sponsors to earn, or race types to specialize in. Vehicle editing is sparse, and for now, the track editor is MIA. This may be par for the course for the Gran Turismo series, but it really feels outdated compared to the innovations we’ve seen elsewhere.

The simulation label also brings with it some other aspects. First is a sense of sterility. This title is all about driving, so expect menus and pictures of cars. Smooth background jazz and Japanese rock don’t help energize things much. A few arcade-like challenges and weird races (go-karts? Moon buggies?) help add some humor, but generally, this game is as dry as it gets. 

Simulations also denote a level of detail, and boy, does GT6 have it. Again, those cars with modeled interiors look great -- both when looking out the front and the back. You can flash your high beams, flip on the wipers, and tune nearly every aspect you’d expect. Center of gravity and detailed tire-wear are shown on-screen. There’s even a mode that lets you try out some unique and -- for me -- unheard of cars.

Final Thoughts

However, at the end of the day, these details don’t necessarily make you want to keep playing GT6 -- especially if you don’t have an inherent interest and deep knowledge in the genre to begin with. There’s great variety, but absolutely no context - -which, for some, like me, is a fatal combination. Sure, there’s a ton to do, but really no reason to do it.

If you are a Gran Turismo veteran, you’ll go in for the huge number of cars, stellar graphics, and outstanding handling, all which makes GT6 the best in the series. But if you are new to the racing genre, just know that this title is much more of a driving simulation than a racing game.

Learning Curve: The game feels so familiar, and starts so slowly that most will have no trouble getting started. I kept everything on default settings, but they can be adjusted for an easier or harder ride.

Control Scheme: Also pretty standard, and fully adjustable--though gas/brake defaults are oddly buttons, not triggers

Visuals: Outstanding, especially the lighting. 

Audio: Engines could be punchier and the music less generic but overall not much to complain about.

Online: The online menus are a bit cumbersome, but my online experience was fine. A fully separate mode from the career mode.

Modes: Arcade mode, career modes, a variety of race types, Nascar, go-carts, etc. Tons of variety here.

Performance: Getting in and out of races is quick, except for the occasional long (30 seconds or so) loading time. I saw no slow down in-game, and updates were quick to download and patch.

Car Selection: TONS of cars, though there are certainly “filler” models that won’t be practical in-game.


Gran Turismo 6 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 BigBadTom @ 12/12/13 04:45 PM
Seems like Polyphony Digital is a good developer, but they lack of finish in the game (not all cars are equal, and the insides are hit or miss) and constant/un-addressed legacy issues such as damage remains untouched. The lack of motivation to flesh out the game is apparent.
 
# 2 coke hogan @ 12/12/13 06:42 PM
I wish this review went into detail about the a.i.
I read a few reviews for this game and they mention legacy problems with the a.i. in detail.
this review not so much.
 
# 3 Dr. Banner @ 12/12/13 07:33 PM
Best entry to date, but you only give it 7.5? Yeah ok.
 
# 4 RunN1st @ 12/12/13 07:54 PM
I'm enjoying it immensely.... Much better than GT5 with respect to driving model and load times which erked me before.
 
# 5 Fist Of Kings @ 12/13/13 06:01 AM
My impressions are for offline. The game is a bit rough, like no way to see how weak or powerful the ai's cars are, which leads to some one sided races in your favor. No way to search for cars by it's power, drivetrain, or cars that you can afford. Instead, it's just one giant list, and premium and standard cars are lumped together. You would think a game about collecting cars would have a view to see the cars from the side, but that's not in this game.

The ai is weak, even set to a more 'aggressive' setting. They always stay on the same path as if they're pulled by magnets, which makes it feel more like a cruising game instead of racing. No career mode is like not having a franchise mode in sports games, and the small payout in comparison to the expensive costs of cars is built around annoying grinding and dlc. No penalty for damaging your car or driving through grass.

I traded in a few games towards this, and I'm pretty disappointed so far. It's not bad, but there isn't enough difference between GT5 and GT6 to justify a $65 purchase. I agree with the reviewer's score.
 
# 6 inkcil @ 12/13/13 02:13 PM
I waited a week until I posted impressions...I rate the game at a 7. I think Milestone Racing (WRC 3 & 4, Moto GP 13, etc.) does a better job of merging simulation driving with an interesting career mode and racing that is more fun than it is sterile.

The racing in GT6 is terrible offline. Always a rolling start with you starting in last place, no qualifying, no rivals, no feeling of life. Just robotic and bland as a racer. Always a "rabbit" car placed by the CPU in the front of the car for you to catch. AI drivers do not "race" on another.

The driving is excellent. A great game for doing countless time/drift trials and for testing new and exotic cars. Just a great wealth of cars. I avoid most standard cars and duplicate Nissans like the plague. More than enough individual premium cars to enjoy, IMO. The Jay Leno cars are just amazing to drive. Not to race, to drive.

I like the lunar missions and coffee break stuff...but not because they are great ideas, but because we needed something, ANYTHING to break up the MONOTONY of the "career" mode.

Lack of customization, poor car sounds and poor damage modeling. These all would have made the game much more fun. But they're not there. Poor and predictable AI, outdated career mode that really isn't a career mode. No life or atmosphere. No racing rivals. Tons of recycled cars and tracks. Minimal visual upgrades from GT5. Poor BGM system. But the feeling of driving different cars is beyond compare. Go figure.
 
# 7 Blzer @ 12/15/13 09:15 AM
^ You know what's sad? For the heck of it I even tried to go to that link, and it's not even a registered domain.

Anyway, it bothers me to read these reviews and impressions because it's like one of those things that I never go out of my way to pay attention to in these games, and now I feel I will all the time. It's like the people who say to stay out of the NBA 2K forum if you're enjoying the game because people there can ruin it for you if they point out something that was simply easy enough to ignore.

My quips with the Gran Turismo franchise are pretty simple but in the end I would like a good racing experience that is beautiful to look at meanwhile. I only hope this delivers in most capacities, but I also hope these developers are someday not too stubborn to see there are things out there that people complain about which they should look into addressing.
 

Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.