Gran Turismo 6
How do I review a game like Gran Turismo 6? I’ve been consistently disappointed with the series, despite hoping for the best with each new release. The biggest worry for me coming into Gran Turismo 6 was that it was being released for the PS3 and not the newly launched PS4. A couple of weeks back I had read an article about Turn 10’s development of Forza 5, and how they had been working on the next generation title before Forza 4 had even been released. It was an incredibly frustrating development for them, as the goal posts kept moving due to Microsoft continually changing the proposed specs of the yet to be named XBox One. But delivering the best racing game in time for the launch of the next generation XBox was what had been called for, so that’s what Turn 10 did. And with the launch of the XBox One, Turn 10 delivered Forza 5, and blew everyone away.
So what the hell was Kazunori Yamauchi and the team at Polyphony Digital thinking, developing a game for the PS3 instead of creating the flagship racing game for the PS4?
Who knows. And debating what and why won’t change the fact that Gran Turismo 6 is a PS3 game.
Sony has consistently called Gran Turismo ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ but I’ve never been sure how they come to that conclusion. If it’s because of the sheer number of cars and tracks available, then sure, it totally dominates Forza 5. But as far as a consistent, serious racing game, Gran Turismo 6 is sadly lacking.
Sure, there have been some improvements to car handling since the last installment, but the cars really don’t seem that solid. After being told off for erroneously saying that you had to use button for the accelerator and braking in GT5, the first thing I did with Gran Turismo 6 was re-configure the controls. I easily set the acceleration and braking to the two triggers, but could not set the right thumb-stick to be my ‘look behind/around’ option. So I had to drive blind.
Having set my trigger preferences, I was off racing, however the triggers were smaller and slipperier than I was used to and before long I was wondering if I could just plug my XBox controller into the PS3.
But I raced on regardless and started to notice a few things that really made me question the whole ‘Real Driving Simulator’ claim. Hit the brakes hard whilst at high speed and you’ll come to a squealing stop. But you won’t leave nice black lines or a cloud of tire smoke. Likewise, push the car round the corner and you’ll hear the tires protesting, but won’t see them leaving their mark or even a wisp of smoke. Tap the hand-break however and your leave think black marks and a nasty cloud of tire smoke. That doesn’t sound like real driving to me.
And then there are the racing rules. Forza 5 can get frustrating if you go off track and hit the deadly slow grass, especially if you’re only cutting a corner to avoid hitting another car, but at least it encourages you to stick to the racing line instead of trying to cheat on every corner. Gran Turismo 6 however lets you cut corners at will, giving you a massive advantage over your rules restricted AI competitors. What’s worse is the grass doesn’t seem to even slow you down. Same with the sand traps.
Then there’s the damage model. Or lack of. Why brake going into a corner (if you’re not cutting it) when you can just slam into the back of the car in front of you? No damage, no performance loss, just keep on racing. This is real driving for sure.
And what’s the deal with only 6 cars on the grid and rolling starts? This obviously may change as you progress through the game, but the only motorsport I can thing of that has rolling starts is Nascar. Progressing through the game however is a pain. You have to complete a series of license tests to go up a level. These tests are a frustrating waste of time, especially as they are testing you on stuff you must have already mastered because you already have completed the pre-requsite number of novice rounds.
It’s not just the driving that is frustrating, the menu systems are totally broke. The look is inconstant and the whole thing feels like it has been created in Microsoft Word. It looks cheap and dated and isn’t at all intuitive. Some screens will tell you to press a button to continue and some will just assume that you will eventually press a button to continue. At the end of a race the game assumes that you want to watch the replay, forcing you to quit the replay to progress. But then rather than having a next race button, you have to scroll to the right and hit the exit race button and then select the next race. It’s a exercise in frustration. And a visually bland one at that.
So as far as being a ‘Real Driving Simulator,’ Gran Turismo 6 fails abysmally. As an arcade racer however it’s great, if somewhat shallow. The massive amount of cars and tracks to choose from is a huge bonus, and the ability to cheat your way to the front of the grid means that it’s a great way to let some steam off if you get frustrated with the realism of other driving games.
But another arcade game isn’t what I wanted from Gran Turismo 6. What I really wanted to see was a serious challenger to Microsoft’s Forza series. A game that would make Turn 10 sit up and take notice. A game that would challenge Turn 10 to do even better than they already are, and in turn challenge Polyphony Digital to go that step further. In short I desperately wanted Gran Turismo 6 to take a risk and become a game worthy of it’s tag line, a game that would challenge my loyalty to the XBox, a game that would leave me feeling like I had been living on the edge for the last four hours. Sadly Gran Turismo 6 is a game that I was glad to stop playing, and head to bed.
Rating: G Suitable for general audiences.
Available on: PS3 Reviewed on: PS3