Gran Turismo 6
Banner courtesy of ERICVOLTAGE
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 (Reviewed)
Japan and Asia Release: 5th December, 2013
World-wide Release Date: 6th December, 2013
Trophies: 1 | 3 | 3 | 44
Trophy Guide: Gran Turismo 6 by Smashguy and fillabong
The clouds slowly float across the pitch-black sky, enveloping the perfectly placed, diamond-bright stars that watch over Mount Panorama, or as it's better known, Bathurst. The scream of your engine drags you back down to earth, as it begs you to shift gears, but all too soon you're drawn back to the mesmerizing tapestry of the sky above. The first fingers of light creep over the horizon, seeking out the darkness as dawn begins to break. The orange glow snaps you out of your daze long enough for you to remember where you are; to remember why you're here...
You start moving through the grid to take back your much-deserved podium position, and watch your success reflected in every detail on the bodywork of your opponents as you pass them by.
You clip the apex perfectly, out-braking second place. You watch your car squirm and twitch under the heavy braking and smirk as tyre smoke floods from your wheel arches as you lock the brakes slightly too hard. Side by side with poll position now, you feel that smile spread back across your face as you watch flames burst from your exhausts, the sound of backfire exploding through your speakers as… Nope, wait, you’ve misjudged the tightness of the penultimate corner and now you're flying backwards through the sand pit at 150mph...
Welcome to Gran Turismo 6.
Twinkle, twinkle little...
Gran Turismo 6 celebrates the 15th year of the franchise, which has released six major titles and twelve games overall.
GT6 by Polyphony Digital is pretty much like every other game in the series. You compete in various events to win money and better cars, which in turn unlocks new race events for you to progress through. With 71 layouts of 33 tracks, there are plenty of races to do. There’s also the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb course, which will see you competing in a selection of rare and exotic cars up the 1.16 mile course that runs through the garden of the Earl of March’s family home. I’m not overly sure how it’s fair that he gets a racecourse and I don’t… Oh - before I forget - you can race on the moon.
The car list is huge, with 1200+ for you to choose from. From power-sliding Go-Karts, to neck breaking concept Series X Racecars; floating Moon Buggies to luxury Aston Martins. Regardless of your car preference, you’ll find one here that you’ll love racing.
On one hand, it's quite an amazing feat for a game to have this many cars… but it's also one of its biggest downfalls because, ironically, having so many of these cars makes the game a bit of a rip off. Allow me to explain...
Take Opel / Vauxhall for example. Basically the same cars, everything is identical: the design, the performance… everything. OK, yes, the badges are different, but the cars are essentially the same, just released in different countries under a different name. What Polyphony have done is to take the eight or so Vauxhalls and then copy / paste the exact same cars and put them as Opel’s too, seemingly for no other reason than to build the car count up.
You can also find this within the same manufacturer. Pick a Japanese popular car: Nissan Skyline, Mazda MX5 etc. You shouldn't be able to have fifteen versions - yes, fifteen or more almost identical versions of the same car - with the only difference being the year of release. Or exactly the same car, but just because it’s an (E) model (Europe Release) or a (J) model (Japan Release), doesn’t mean you have to… or even should, copy / paste the car.
What’s more annoying is that only a relatively small selection of the cars are actually “highly detailed” premium cars (thankfully, after a patch, you can select a car and it will say whether the car is “highly detailed” or “standard”). This means that the highly detailed cars will not only look amazing on the outside (which they really do), but they’ll also have a lovingly detailed interior. Again, the downside is that most of the cars in the game will have a standard interior, which is nothing more than a black “cockpit”. These cars also don’t have the attention given on the exterior and instead look pixelated and rather poor ports from earlier games.
Also flicking your headlights on and off on standard cars, does nothing to the actual lights on your cars, whereas on the premium cars you can see the lights change from high to low beam, which is a nice touch.
Sadly, another gripe: engine sounds. God damn Poly. A huge majority of the engines may as well be a bee having a scrap in a tin can with a wasp. Most cars have a pretty horrendous drone of noise, with no “life” behind them. If I’m racing a “rally bred” Subaru Impreza around a track in Japan, I want to hear the unmistakable rumble of that boxer engine, to the aggressive roar as the engine revs near the redline, the dump valve hissing and blowing just before the next gear is thrust into place, not this boring, lifeless noise. I can quite honestly make a better, more realistic engine sound with my mouth.
Alas, I digress...
For the most part, you’ll want the premium cars. I mean why wouldn’t you? You got those gorgeous exterior and interior details; the headlights (can’t forget about them) and you know that you’re playing a game where they’ve actually stepped up from previous titles. But when you want a detailed Skyline, you’re left clicking on loads of pointless, slightly different (or identical) versions, to try and find one that is actually a premium car and not just a port from GT5.
The menu's now look a lot cleaner and are a lot easier to navigate
This being said, the menu as a whole is quite an improvement from previous installments. When you’re navigating the menu, it feels and looks more fluid, with everything where you expect it to be. You can tell they’ve really put a lot of thought into it this time. The eagle eyed players will notice that there's no B-Spec racing option this time around, which some of you will be happy about, myself included.
The details in the actual racing are pretty much as you'd expect from Polyphony Digital, with some of the tracks actually looking better than their real-life locations.
Racing your rear-wheel-drive BMW around the Nurburgring at night, with nothing but your headlights to pierce the darkness, is quite adrenalizing. Throw some rain into that mix and you’re on to a tense, sometimes too sideways, bit of racing! As always, GT6 aims to be a racing simulator, as opposed to an arcade racer, so don’t expect to jump into the game and find yourself drifting effortlessly around every corner. In fact, when you first start, don’t expect yourself to be able to get round the first corner without making a mess of it!
After a lot of trial and error, however, you’ll find yourself downshifting at the perfect time, kicking the rear end out, locking and unlocking the back wheels and having the control to power slide your way to victory in a plume of tyre smoke. This being a Racing Simulator, drifting around isn’t usually the best way to come ahead of the pack, but it’s definitely a fun and slightly cocky option. Have your back wheels stray into the wet, unused part of a corner, though, and you could find yourself suddenly staring back at fifteen pairs of headlights as you once again find yourself in the sand pit.
An Aston Martin ONE-77 showing you how it's done... But one slight slip, and you're gone
The AI seems OK, although for the most part, the racing is pretty unmatched. You can choose cars that seem to be way too overpowered for the events, so you’ll come first more often that not without really trying. This makes some of the game and racing rather boring, unless you choose cars that are only just able to enter the event, due to being totally standard. But who wants a standard car when Gran Turismo has this much tuning ability? If you can do something in real life, then you can pretty much tune it here. You can make the smallest adjustment to how stiff the suspension is, adjust the brake bias, the camber of the wheels, the gear ratios, how the flow of the wind goes over your car... pretty much everything! If you're not confident with messing about with the tuning, you can do what I do; just buy Fully Adjustable Suspension and then slam the car to the floor.
The AI also seems very inhuman, doing a very standard racing line, so you can swerve in and out easily, with no real consequence. Don’t think you can brake in time for the corner? No problem, just drive straight into the back of someone else, and most of the time you’ll be totally fine. This brings another issue: there’s once again no real damage factor. Sure, some of the cars might get a bit of a dent after hitting a barrier at 200mph, or maybe a black mark on the side of your car, but there’s no real consequence from crashing, so as with previous installments of the franchise you can just crash and bump yourself to victory (except certain events, where you’ll have a small time penalty).
The online however, is much more human. Who would’ve thought? For the most part, the community does seem mature and most actually want a fair race. So you will find yourself with sweaty hands after a grueling race with a group with all of you finishing the race with a few seconds between each other.
The Seasonal Rivals Events are also back, which see you racing against the clock in a time trial, with the chance to win a lot of money, different paints and new cars. If you’ve got other friends who have raced, you’ll also see their “ghost car” markers, with their names above. This can be great when you need to try and cut that extra second off to get gold, but can also make you hate some of your PSN friends when you can’t seem to shed that extra 10th of a second to beat him and win the main prize! But hey, beat them and they’ll probably hate you, too.
The trophies this time round aren't actually too bad. There's your standard trophies that you'll get just by natural progression: completing certain events, collecting up to 300 Gold Stars etc. But then also some rather demanding trophies such as "By the Skin of Your Teeth," where you need to come first with less than 1% of your fuel remaining. Saying that, a few of the potentially demanding trophies you could get just by playing natural progression and some luck.
There are a few trophies that are put in just purely to build up the numbers, such as buying a set amount of racing suits and cars. The most annoying trophy will no doubt be the one that sees you needing to cover 7,903 miles (12,718km.) This is down to the fact that you'll have probably completed every event, and still be thousands of miles off your target, which could see you doing a fair bit of grinding.
So, is GT6 worth getting? Yes, I’d say so. In many ways, it’s a nice step up from previous titles, with many improvements, but at times it does also feel a bit like a filler for the next-gen release.
That said, it’s a filler that you’ll be glad that you bought.
The progression through the events seems rather steep, in the way that you go from racing low spec, everyday cars, to almost immediately racing high spec performance and race cars, I personally felt that this happens too soon. With so many cars to choose from, I’d also have liked more events to try them out. Forza, for example, does this very well. As earlier stated, there isn't the B-Spec Mode this time around, so no easy money grinding whilst watching TV, I'm afraid.
It’s a Racing Simulator, and it does that pretty damn well. With a huge amount of tuning to be done, you can find ways to change your cars dynamic and racing ability, down to the very smallest of details. There’s only a small bit of car customization, sadly not as much as other racing games, which I’ve always seen as a downside to the franchise. They also could’ve done with making the racing a bit more tense, with a better-balanced AI, instead of giving you an easy win most of the time. That being said, the License’s and Mission races took the other route, giving you some very demanding racing!
The online racing seems fair, with competitive racing. For the most part... With the Rivals Events being released every few weeks, there's always a new challenge that sees you once again going head-to-head with your friends' Ghost Cars.
It could be a bit better tuned, but the excellent psychics and realism are, as you would expect from this franchise, brilliant. The graphics are gorgeous when using the premium cars, with photo realistic results when you take time out to view replays and the photo-mode. Occasionally though, you can see the screen and environment jarring slightly, but it shouldn't be enough to make you want to put down the game.
Overall: 8/10 - Superb