Gran Turismo 6

Developed by: Polyphony Digital
By Matt Ross
Dec 17, 2013

Before you even put a Gran Turismo game into your machine, you can be sure that it’s not going to please everyone. Having carved out a reputation for being complex, realistic racing experiences – simulators in the truest sense of the word – GT games don’t particularly lend themselves to casual players. Gran Turismo 6, the last game in the series to be released on the PS3, has more cars and tracks than any of its predecessors and, quite simply, aims to be the closest you’ll get to actual driving without leaving your house.

The result is a somewhat mixed bag. Visually, GT 6 is as good as anything you’ll see on the (now) previous generation of consoles. Indeed, on occasion, it’s possible to mistake the game for a PS4 title, such is the attention to detail on some of the cars and circuits. There are instances – presumably where Polyphony have repurposed models from 2010’s GT 5 – where the limitations of the hardware are evident, however. In a field of stunningly realized vehicles, there are usually a few that look a little boxy, or have polygon-saving blacked-out windows, while the detailing on some of the circuits looks a little tired, particularly when compared to the magnificent work done on new venues such as Brands Hatch or Goodwood. The lighting and weather effects are, for the most part, pretty impressive. And in keeping with the series’ well-earned reputation, the huge array of cars on offer boasts handling that pushes the envelope of gaming realism. Vehicles lean away from corners, wheels react independently to the road surface, and the steering strains and bucks as you wrestle around corner after corner. The attention to detail is, quite frankly, staggering.

But a few, seemingly minor flaws go a long way towards ruining the illusion. The hand-holding during the tuition stage, which is patronizing for anyone who’s ever played a racing game before, extends to your first vehicle purchase (spoiler alert, it’s a crappy Honda hatchback), which means that your first hour or so will pass without a sniff of a sports car. Early events don’t shell out much in the way of in-game credits either, so it will be a long time before you can drive anything with even a hint of personality. During racing itself, the audio in GT 6 is a nightmare. Collisions with other cars, or with barriers, result in a generic, muffled thunk, whatever the nature of the impact. The sound of screeching tyres bears a disturbing resemblance to the wailing of a distressed herd of elephants. This particular effect is so irritating that, once you’ve noticed it once, it’s impossible to stand it for any great length of time – in a suitably contrite admission of fault, the developers have already promised a remedying patch. The menu system, while an improvement on the convoluted GT 5, still makes even the simplest tasks time-consuming and laborious. Coupled with some hefty load times, it means you’ll be spending a lot of minutes waiting to move on to the next race, while changing your vehicle at your garage is an exercise in patience. Even the music selection grates within the first few hours. Tournaments have predefined intro tunes that, short of disabling the music altogether, you can’t avoid. Three races in and you’ll be jamming your fingers in your ears in frustration.

It’s a shame that GT 6’s problems cast such a long shadow. Without a doubt, the series remains one of the most complex, realistic racing simulators on the market. For fans of the genre, it’s an essential purchase, despite its drawbacks. But the franchise isn’t going to win over the casual gamer with a title that’s so torturous to get into, and flawed even when you do.

Latest News