Gran Turismo 6 PS3 Review

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe  Developer: Polyphony Digital  Genre: Racing

Players: 1-16  Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A

The Gran Turismo series has now been on the go for 15 years. The series may not move on in ways that it should, although what it always does offer is a brilliant drive. This sixth game in the series has been released when a new console generation has just arrived, so it will very likely be one of the final big exclusive PS3 releases.

The game has a total of 1200 cars, although in the main GT mode, you are no longer able to purchase used cars. All the cars you buy now are brand new ones, and the menus also have a feature which shows you recommended cars for different events, which is handy for those who can’t be bothered browsing the showroom for ages, although you can of course do this if you are one who prefers to choose their own cars, or who just likes browsing those beautiful and shiny cars.

Yes, Gran Turismo 6 is a true beauty, and a true showcase of the PS3’s power. The buildings on the city tracks may look flat, but the vehicles are beautifully detailed, and I mean that inside and out when it comes to the premium vehicles, as, even though they are no longer categorized, the game does sadly have the return of the lower quality standard vehicles. Largely though, Gran Turismo 6 is a true stunner of a game, and, unless you hit the brake button or pedal, it rarely ever slows down.

In terms of tracks, the game includes the likes of Bathurst, Spa, Silverstone, Monza, Suzuka, Brands Hatch, Motegi, and Daytona, alongside the fictional tracks. Yes, it’s an impressive list, and the Moon is even a track, although I’ll leave that for you to discover.

What the visuals are lacking in is vehicle damage. True, there’s damage here, but it’s embarrassing when compared to the likes of the Grid series, and, well, most other racing games out there. There’s basically scratches on the bodywork and little else, which really does take away from the impact of a major high speed crash, particularly when parts of your vehicle remain intact and crashes sound underwhelming. This is disappointing and the series should have made a lot more headway in the damage department by now, as well as the sound.

Certainly in the GT mode, Polyphony Digital have made plenty of headway. The games new Performance Points (PP) system means you are no longer able to soup your motors up to levels that put your vehicles head and shoulders above the pack, which does make for more competitive races against your AI opponents, and it certainly makes Gran Turismo 6 more of a racing game than previous games in the series were.

Still, even though the AI some improvements on GT5, the opponents are still not up to scratch, and aren’t very human like in their behaviour. They still stick to the racing line all too often like glue, and in all my hours in playing the game, I don’t think I witnessed a single mistake from an AI opponent, which is disappointing, and surely a lot more should have been achieved with the AI in a series that has existed for 15 years.

But, besides the AI, the main thing is how the game handles, and Gran Turismo 6 handles like a beauty. The cars are responsive, and, as simulation racers should go, there’s a true feeling of weight, and to drive these motors properly means that you need to get used to how to transfer their weight. The new handling model is certainly amongst the most impressive in such a racing game, and is sure to go down well with those who own a racing wheel in particular.

The GT mode is structured in the way in which you unlock stars based on your position in a race, and when you eventually accumulate a required number of stars, you’ll unlock new licence tests and races. Speaking of races, the game doesn’t just have the normal racing, but there’s also Coffee Break challenges in which you have to knock over a required number of cones and make a specific amount of fuel last for as long as possible and so on.

Visually, at night the game looks beautiful, and there’s even a day to night cycle during some races. There’s also rain for those who like the challenge of wet track racing, and this also looks absolutely superb.

As the AI is so predictable, true competition can only really be found in the split screen and online multiplayer modes. The online mode has various options to set up your own games or to join others, and retains the 1080p visuals as well as the 60fps of the single player game.

The game does have the much maligned micotransactions, although I played for hours and hours and never needed to resort to real money in order to purchase anything in the game, so basically the microtransactions are there if you want them, but not forced on you in any way. If you want the best cars without having to splash out real cash, you’ll just have to take to the track more often, but as Gran Turismo is a series which many easily become obsessed with, this shouldn’t prove to be much of a problem.

Gran Turismo 6 may be lagging behind other racers with some of its features but this is still one very deep racer to lose yourself in. The game has loads of cars and tracks, looks beautiful, and has a handling model all of its own. If only the series would catch up with things such as damage, sound design and AI, we’d be looking at a superior series, but as it stands, the brilliance that is Gran Turismo 6 is more than well worth the drive.