I’m a pretty big car guy. One of my dream cars as a teenager was a 1970 SS Chevelle with a 454 engine pumping out 450 horse power. Now, I was never able to obtain one of these fine machines (at least not yet), but seeing one in the new Gran Turismo 6 had me excited to at least see what it was like to be behind the wheel of one of the greatest American muscle cars. Experiences like these are what make up Gran Turismo 6.
I didn’t get very deep into GT5 when it came out, so when I jumped into GT6, it felt like coming back to a familiar friend. Things haven’t deviated far from the previous games. I was still starting off with economy cars taking on amateur races much like an unprofessional grudge race at my local track. After winning numerous races and earning stars that allowed me to progress, I was unlocking new cars and events to take on while banking more and more credits to spend purchasing new vehicles and performance upgrades.
After completing the beginning series of races, I then began completing a set of courses and challenges that, when completed, would give me a new license to move up into higher competition races. This is core of GT6’s single player. Like I said, it doesn’t deviate far from the original formula.
If there is one thing I can say to describe GT6 it would be that it is more refined and streamlined. Almost every car is obtainable by using credits right from the beginning. The used car mechanic from GT5 is gone, so having to wait for my perfect ride wasn’t an issue. The main menu feels more user friendly as well. Everything is right there on one single board and there’s no need to sift through numerous menus and selections to get to where I want to go. In some aspects this is done well, while others like having the “Retry” option the first option to pop up after finishing a race rather than “Exit” are what got to me after a while. I already got first place in this race, why would I want to retry it? I can’t count the amount of times I restarted a race because of this.
Of course, the Coffee Breaks return as well as special event races like the Goodwood Festival of Speed. These offer up a different challenge, and when racing over and over gets a little tiresome. The Coffee Breaks revolve around challenges that will have the player hitting a certain number of cones in an allotted time or seeing how far they can make it down a track using a limited amount of fuel. Of course, the highly talked about lunar drives where the player takes control of a lunar module as it traverses areas of the Moon are here and I found them to be rather boring.
Of course, the vast number of vehicles and tracks are all still present, and the quantity is increased even more. Granted, having numerous Nissan Skylines with only a few decals and a paint job making the difference doesn’t really count as an extra car in the counter, and I saw a good number of these. Also, for some odd reason, Gran Turismo is stuck in the 90’s and early 2000’s. I’d say over 50% of the vehicles are from this time period. It’s like they’re afraid to come into modern times or look back at the great classics.
The tracks and courses, on the other hand, is where the variety comes into play. With over 80 tracks, I was deep into the 10 hour mark before I even started seeing a repeated circuit. It was refreshing to see so many locations.
As for the visuals, people have come to expect that Gran Turismo is top tier for looking amazing. GT6 is no exception. The models of cars both inside and out are in almost perfect detail and the tracks and environments are stunning. Even after the PS4 has hit, seeing GT6 in action is still a spectacle.
The visuals are not the only great thing about GT6. The driving is also exceptionally well done. Taking corners with precision and navigating an unknown track really feels genuine. The attention to detail in how every car handles, including all the upgrades I may or may not have added to my car, played into how it felt to be behind the wheel. I really felt like a race car driver going down Laguna Seca. The experience was fantastic.
There are a few gripes I have with the game. The damage to the vehicles has little to no effect on the cars and the visual fidelity of that damage is minimal at best. I could slam my Chevelle directly into the wall going 60 miles per hour and still be able to back it up and finish the race. Finally, while the game boasts a fantastic original soundtrack, the in game sounds of the vehicles and environmental elements were sub-par. The same sounds when hitting a car at 10 miles per hour were present when hitting a car at 100 miles per hour and the sounds of the cars themselves are hugely underwhelming.
After obtaining the National-A license, I was able to jump online and race with other players. It seems as though the options are a bit more robust here than even in the single player. The option to turn on dynamic damage that effects the performance of vehicles is here, and it works. Qualifying laps are allowed as well, something absent from the single player. No more rolling starts. The option for my very own personal race with my friends was right there and made the game that much better. I think the single player should have taken some cues from the multiplayer.
Gran Turismo 6 is still a fantastic racing game. It feels like Polyphony improved on GT5 by streamlining most of the navigation while keeping the track selection fresh. Sure, the vehicle count may be padded with a slightly different car, but there’s still a ton of content for any racing sim fan to enjoy. There are a few things here and there that can become nagging at times, but for all intents and purposes, Gran Turismo 6 is a fantastic racing game that fans of both racing and the series should check out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.