When it comes to car racing on the PlayStation Gran Turismo is synonymous with the Sony brand name. Known for its exotic cars and simulation heavy car handling aspects, Polyphony Digital celebrates their 15th anniversary with the release of Gran Turismo 6.
In many ways, GT6’s best attribute of being the best racing simulator around is also the reason why it’s been carrying around the same problems from its days on the PS1 morphing into more of a driving game than an actual racer. Mainly its damage system still doesn’t punish mistakes and in a finely tuned racer like this you’ll make more than your share. However, damage is token at best and mechanical damage is completely absent from single-player. As usual you can crash into walls, ram other racers, and corkscrew gracefully through the air with nary a scratch to your paint job. About the only way you’d truly see any effects from damage would be to slam head on into a wall going about 160 MPH, other than that you’ll be able to use bumper cars as a strategy to move other racers out of your way. With that said GT6 still has plenty of redeeming qualities, with the beautiful graphics being among one of them. GT6 is a late technical triumph that compares to what we’re seeing on Xbox One and PS4 with graphics and physics that push the PS3 to its very limits. What will really blow your mind is the impressive amount of cars that can become available: GT6 rolls out almost 1200 from the showroom including 37 different track locations for you to burn rubber on. The attention to detail and authenticity extends beyond the cars themselves as weather, different parts of the day, and gorgeous environmental lighting, all help give you the feeling that you’re experiencing driving in all its glory.
Typical of the GT series, the progression system which involves grinding races for credits is again prevalent in GT6, although gameplay progression is structured a bit differently than the stetup that was prevalent in GT5. It starts with an extended tutorial that guides players through the game mechanics as well as the process of buying cars and racing. You’re then forced to endure the early challenges in a basic Honda. You can’t play online until you earn your “A” License, which can take you at least two or three hours of racing to attain it. Herein lays the biggest difference from GT5: wherein players could essentially ignore the license test as the progression was based on level requirements, GT6 sees the return of mandatory license tests, which limits the player to a specific sector until he or she has cleared the tests at the end of each section. It would be nice if Polyphony did away with the mandatory licenses when Grand Turismo hits the PS4 as they only serve as a forced limitation to progress in its main single player mode.
Racing against the computer in single player is a decent experience even if it can get mundane thanks to the non-aggressive A.I. The computer opponents seem to follow the designated driving line, often ignoring your presence even when you’re about to overtake them. The more skilled you become at the cornering technique, braking and drifting at the appropriate times, the easier it becomes to finish in first place. The handling has improved though, so you’d be wise to pay attention to each car’s strengths and weaknesses. You don’t see cars sticking to the track like glue anymore instead they will bounce and shake mimicking reality. Hitting different surfaces leads to noticeable bobble and pitch, all thanks to improvements in suspension simulation developed for the game. One thing to note, driving with the wheel is a more enjoyable experience as opposed to using the DualShock 3. Because cars are more likely to lose grip when pushed hard, controlling the car when at or over the speed limit is an easier task when using a racing wheel.
The XXL Endgame
With an insane amount of cars, the detailed tracks and the pure love for motor vehicles, Gran Turismo 6 has no equal as a hardcore racing simulation. Sure there are some issues with the A.I. and the lack of a real damage system knocks it down a little, but Polyphony deserves props for delivering a title that despite dealing with aging hardware offers a good portion of quantity and quality. – written by DJ Rhude (@DJRhude)
XXL Rating: XL
Gran Turismo PS3 review copy supplied by Sony