Driving games come in different varieties, and the Gran Turismo series has brought one of the best realistic-style racing games to the Playstation fan base. With the release of Gran Turismo 6, fans of the franchise did not have to wait six years for the next installment, as they did with the previous one. With only 3 years of development, does GT 6 have enough under the hood to bring home the checkered flag, or is it in dire need of a tune up? Ladies and gentlemen, gamers of all ages, start your engines; it’s time for the review.
The Real Driving Simulator
Right off the bat, those that have played Gran Turismo 5 will notice a few changes in the design of Gran Turismo 6. It’s best to think of this as a more streamlined version of the previous installment. The menu is cleaned up to put all the game modes on one screen, rather than dividing them through the main menu. One other thing to mention to those that have played GT 5: load times for races are noticeably faster in this installment.
Coming at the tail end of the console cycle, it should come as no surprise that the level of detail in Gran Turismo 6 is quite extensive. Players might notice little things like the reflections of the sky, street lights, and even parts of the environment…At least, it should be noticed on straightaways with a comfortable lead. Take your eyes off the road, and you could wind up ruining a little bit of the paint job of a competitor. Real world damage will cause players to evaluate if they should fix up the car in between races/cup series. Every car is treated as a “premium” car from the previous installment, going so far as to give a full driver’s side/first-person view from behind the wheel of every car used.
Rise, Shine, Drive
Gran Turismo 6 does a fine job introducing new players to the series. With a line that indicates to players when to brake/accelerate on the track and a control scheme that can be changed to fit the player’s intuition, GT 6 eases newcomers into the series. However, there are a few occasions that force the players to learn on the fly. Still, with a more realistic style of driving game, players with a real license will get the feel of the car they’re using and, eventually, will know which cars are best suited for certain races.
Win a few races, win some money, and a decision comes in to play; should you tune the car’s parts to compete with higher competition, continue racing to save up more money to buy another car better suited for that higher competition, or maybe a little of both? Though the competition gets tougher, with the right car (and parts), the player usually has a very good chance at winning races. The only major drawback comes when the competition becomes too tough or if a certain kind of car is needed in a race. At times, this will lead to grinding or playing some races a few times over.
To break up the monotony, Gran Turismo 6 utilizes different types of cars and races throughout the career mode. Karts are now a bigger part of the game and are used to progress throughout the career mode, rather than just a side racing event. Also, weather plays a bigger part in this game, as players must account for wet tracks being a little more slick and for the limited vision during night courses. This helps break up the “race, rinse, and repeat” cycle players can find themselves getting into. Although some technical issues came up a few times to cause the game to freeze when I played the kart races, I expect those issues to be solved with a patch.
Alright, hold tight, I’m a highway star
The races in Gran Turismo 6 play off in two phases. First, players must find ways to maneuver around their opponents to gain the lead; second, they must hold that lead by driving nearly perfectly and holding off the other competitors. Speed alone doesn’t always win a race as there is plenty of strategy involved. Everything from knowing when to break into and accelerate out of turns comes in handy, but that’s where the line helps. Still, for more advanced players that turn off this feature, no extra money is gained for this or handicapping themselves in other ways.
Along with money to use for cars, the player earns stars dependent on their performance. Earning enough stars unlocks side races, such as Model Races, Mission Races, and Coffee Break missions. Model Races are races only certain models are allowed to compete in. Mission Races are timed trials with stricter rules than career mode races (if a player bumps into the competitor or drives off the track, they’re disqualified). Coffee Breaks break up the monotony of the races with challenges, such as scoring points based on drifting tight corners or knocking over x amount of traffic cones in x amount of time.
Another thing to mention is the license tests. These are mostly timed trials or challenges designed around the basics of driving. Passing these tests opens up the next series of races, online mode, and even extra races such as the seasonal events and missions on the moon. Can we talk about that for a second? Gran Turismo 6 allows you to drive the Lunar Rover on the moon! Though it doesn’t have the high-speed of a race on Earth, the lower gravity makes for some pretty fun jumps off the hills.
As stated earlier, Gran Turismo 6 is a streamlined version of its predecessor. With a wide variety of choices from major car makers, GT 6 gives the average gamer the chance to get behind the wheel of their dream car or the modern model that is out of their price range. GT 6 does a nice job of helping newbies along in the series, and the Gran Turismo series prides itself on being the “real driving simulator”, and, quite frankly, it accomplishes that in the game by having players combine speed and strategy to win races. For those gamers that love racing games or even real life “car people”, Gran Turismo 6 is right up your alley.
Final Verdict: Gran Turismo 6 gets 8 1964 Shelby Cobras out of 10
This review is based on a retail copy of Gran Turismo 6 developed by Polyphony Digital published by Sony Computer Entertainment of America
- Beautifully detailed cars
- GOING TO THE MOON!
- A few technical issues
- Too Much Grinding