Review: Gran Turismo 6

Gran Turismo 6 is the newest iteration in the popular racing franchise that started back in 1998. This release celebrates the 15th anniversary of the series and it also will be the last in the series to be on the PS3. Before the inevitable release of Gran Turismo 7 hits the PS4, is Gran Turismo 6 worth buying or is it just a carbon clone of Gran Turismo 5?

When Gran Turismo 5 came out in late 2010, some gamers felt the game was incomplete even though the game suffered many delays before eventually being released. Some of the differences I noticed from Gran Turismo 5 were that the game had less races available than in Gran Turismo 4, and the levelling up system that was put in place made the game more repetitive than it should be.

Thankfully, Gran Turismo 6 fixes these aforementioned issues as there a tons more events/races available and the levelling up system has been replaced with a more simple “star-earning” system. Within each race you participate in, you can earn stars. Placing first earns you three stars, placing second or third earns you two stars while every other position still earns you one star. The more stars you collect, the more events you’ll be able to enter. This made unlocking new classes and races less time consuming than in Gran Turismo 5. I remember having to enter the same race over and over just to level up to enter the next race in Gran Turismo 5.

Once you have earned enough stars in a specific class, you’ll either unlock a license test or a championship race you can enter in. Once you have successfully completed these events, you’ll then be able to race in the next class that will include several more races for you to participate in. The license events in Gran Turismo 6 have been toned down too as I feel they were much easier for me to complete than in previous games. Not to mention you only had to complete around five or six events in each license test. This was far easier than the 12 or so license events you had to do in Gran Turismo 5.

All of this sounds like Gran Turismo 6 is an easier game, but the gameplay itself will still prove to be a challenge for some gamers. Thanks to the increased number of events that have been included in Gran Turismo 6, you‘ll see different race types that you can enter. This includes kart-racing championships plus rally events too. The most unique event in the entire game however is the “Lunar Exploration” events. You take control of a space rover that drives across the surface of the moon. It’s an interesting experience and a nice distraction from racing in the normal events.

As much as I liked the increased race types that have been included in Gran Turismo 6, the A.I. is one area where I feel the series needs to seriously work on. Forza Motorsport 5 has a unique “drivatar” system that models real-life gamers’ racing habits into the A.I. Even other racing games like the recent Need for Speed games and GRID 2 features aggressive A.I. drivers that produce unpredictable races that keep you on your toes. Here in Gran Turismo 6, the A.I. is as vanilla as can be because they rarely crash and always race in a straight line. This makes some of the races quite boring since the A.I. is too predictable.

There are senses of déjà vu while playing Gran Turismo 6 especially if you invested in a lot of time playing on Gran Turismo 5. Since Gran Turismo 6 doesn’t allow you to transfer your save data from Gran Turismo 5, you’re basically starting from scratch again. While playing Gran Turismo 6, I was basically buying back the same cars I earned from Gran Turismo 5 all over again. Sometimes it felt like I was playing the same game since I would be driving on the same track with the same car.

However, Polyphony Digital did add something new to the game that may divide some gamers and that’s microtransactions. You can pay your own (real) money to purchase in-game credits so that you can afford the more expensive cars in the game. If you are impatient and don’t feel like earning in-game credits by winning races, you can always spend your own money to afford that Ferrari or McLaren that usually costs a lot of money in Gran Turismo 6. One thing I do like about Gran Turismo 6 however is that microtransactions are entirely optional. Unlike in Forza Motorsport 5 where a lot of the cars are purposefully unavailable and you’re forced to buy them if you want to play as them…

GT6 Screenshot 2

Graphically, Gran Turismo 6 is as beautiful as it can ever be. Even though the PS3 hardware is now seven years old, there are moments of sheer brilliance that make this game shine so brightly. The new tracks such as Mount Panorama look stunning and the varying night and weather effects on some of the other tracks is something you rarely get from other racing titles out there.

Gran Turismo 6’s damage modeling has somewhat improved from its predecessors too. I noticed cars get a little dirtier when you drive off track and the front bumpers and paint gets scratched when you hit a wall. The only downside to the damage in the game is that it’s subtle and only cosmetic too. There are still no consequences for crashing in this game as your car can still function as if nothing happened. Another minor letdown to the game that the game has still yet to improve on is the sound. Cars still sound like dustbusters or vacuum cleaners rather than the raw power of an engine, especially for the high performance cars

Another thing that Gran Turismo 6 lacks is car customization. You can alter the specs of the car like always, but the series still won’t allow you to add decals and paint to your cars. Microsoft’s Forza series allows you to customize your car anyway you want. I’ve seen people put pictures of Spider-Man, Batman and more to their cars in Forza games. Gran Turismo has never allowed you to do that, and I was hoping Gran Turismo 6 would break that trend but it doesn’t. You still cannot even repaint your car a different color, unless you’ve unlocked a certain color first. Hopefully this is an area Polyphony Digital could improve on when Gran Turismo 7 eventually comes out.

GT6 Screenshot 3

Gran Turismo 6 is the second game in the series to have an online mode, and it’s fun just as it was in Gran Turismo 5. The one thing I love most about the Gran Turismo community is that they are usually friendly and come from all parts of the world. There are many open lobbies you can enter as up to 16 players can enter a lobby to race one another. You can even just hang out with other players and practice on your racking skills first before you race too. I remember joining a lobby where all of us just drifted around the track. We didn’t end up racing, but it was fun just hanging out with other Gran Turismo enthusiasts.

Gran Turismo 6 is a fun racing game that improves on the areas I disliked most about Gran Turismo 5. It’s faster to progress in the career mode and there are far more races to participate in this game as well. I also forget to mention that the menu layout is simpler and not the cluttered mess you usually see in Gran Turismo games. With all that being said, the game still takes little risks and sometimes it feels like you’re playing an expansion to Gran Turismo 5 instead of a fully fledged sequel. Gran Turismo 6 is still great fun for fans of the series, but you may not see huge changes to the franchise until the series makes its debut on the PS4 in the near future.

Graphics: 9.0
Gameplay: 8.5
Sound: 7.0
Lasting Appeal: 8.0

Overall: 8.5

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