Racing games are a dime a dozen but true driving simulators are a rarer breed. The sub-genre isn’t about racing at high speeds, crashing, flipping over and upgrading your car with a spoiler and NoS boost. They are about precision, variety and reality. Putting players behind the wheel with realistic mechanics, physics and most importantly cars, it is a type of game that appeals to the real automobile connoisseur.
If it’s pedigree that gamers are after then few look further than the granddaddy of the genre, Gran Turismo. With Froza 5 showing off what can be done on a new-generation console, Gran Turismo 6 is giving the PlayStation 3 a proper send off. What the game doesn’t have in new-fangled hardware, it is making up with over 1,200 cars, 33 locations and 71 layouts.
With some feeling like the series last installment was lacking and with Gran Turismo 6 also coming under fire from fans for including expensive microtransactions, the game has plenty to overcome. Attempting to drown all that out, has Polyphony Digital been able to redeem the series and overcome its rival Forza despite being a generation behind?
Here’s what the critics are saying:
IGN (Luke Reilly)
Gran Turismo 6’s problems are baggage the series has been carrying since 1997; the second you thunk into a wall at 200 kilometres per hour and drive off scot-free, or hop into a belching V8 that sounds more like a wheezing milkshake maker, the glass shatters and the illusion breaks with it. But when you’re on one of Gran Turismo 6’s absolutely gorgeous tracks, fused with the car you’re controlling, attacking apexes with confidence and devouring sectors with steely precision, it’s not hard to see why this series is deservedly regarded as one of the best of its kind, and this one is no exception.
EGM (Ray Carsillo)
The bottom line is that Gran Turismo 6 feels like nothing more than a stopgap release to keep fans appeased until Polyphony’s new-gen offering is ready. Problems that persisted in GT5 remain, and the most noticeable difference—the mandatory tutorial mode—is an insult to anyone who’s ever played a racing title. Still, there is a solid racing game at GT6’s core, as the game does offer an unprecedented amount of cars compared to other racing sims, and the team keeps finding ways to make the physics better and better.
Video Gamer (Sam White)
Driving itself is solid, even therapeutic, but ultimately soulless. There’s no doubting the tech wizardry that’s going on beneath the bonnet, but none of that impressiveness really comes through to the surface. The career is vast but never compelling, and any special events dotted in between feel like yet more superfluous distractions. The controller offers barely any feedback – something that feels essential after Forza 5. The AI ranges from passable to lifeless, rarely infusing races with excitement.
Gamer Radar (Justin Towell)
I’ve never been one to champion quantity over quality, but GT6 manages ridiculously generous portions of both. I don’t want to sling mud at Forza 5, but where that game loops back to previously-visited tracks extremely quickly, GT6 just keeps chucking in new raceways. Not only does it have the likes of Bathurst, Spa, and Silverstone, it also has Monza, Suzuka, Brands, Motegi, and Daytona. And more. And that’s not mentioning the original tracks, rally stages, and karting events. Oh, and snow races at Chamonix. AND ALSO THE MOON. (Note: Moon events are stupid, slow, and stupid. But they are there.)
Now Gamer (Adam Barnes)
Gran Turismo 6 is – much like its franchise brothers – the perfect Sunday game. It feels safe, but it is all as enjoyable as ever.
It’s the familiarity that causes the biggest criticism; though Gran Turismo 5 was, in many ways, the same as the games that came before it, enough time had passed that it felt relevant again.
GT6 doesn’t benefit from the same nostalgic effect; it hasn’t been all that long since we last took on the Sunday Cup.
It’s thoroughly enjoyable all the same and the new improvements here really are worthwhile, better even. But nothing about the game feels new, not really.
Polygon (Phillip Kollar)
Most of those details are perfect, though, and they weave together into a wonderful demonstration of what racing games can achieve. Polyphony Digital’s love for cars has always been clear, but it’s always felt a little cold and mechanical. The benefits of that technical expertise still exist in Gran Turismo 6, but they’re put to much more enthusiastic use. The result is a massive, passionate game and a fitting final lap for the PlayStation 3.
Metro (Mr Pinkerton)
There’s a sense that Gran Turismo 6 is simply the game Gran Turismo 5 should’ve been, and that if Polyphony Digital had got it right the first time round maybe this new sequel could’ve been a PlayStation 4 launch title after all. That certainly would’ve improved the console’s launch line-up but there’s still too much about the game that feels outdated even by the standards of the outgoing generation.
The handling and track selection in Gran Turismo 6 is second to none, but the artificial intelligence, damage modelling, and sound design seems to be stuck in a sulky refusal to better itself. But if Polyphony Digital can begin to offer genuine change, rather than just evolutionary improvement, then hopefully Gran Turismo 7 will be next gen in spirit as well as just technology.
The Escapist (Schyler J. Dievendorf)
This game is as good as the series has ever been. The franchise is almost always a safe bet and they won’t let anyone down with this installment. Gran Turismo 6 doesn’t really introduce anything too new, but it will give you little snippets of fun to offset the tension that can accrue over hours of playing a serious racing game where every turn could make or break the race.
US Gamer (Jaz Rignall)
Like I said at the beginning, Gran Turismo 6 is an over-ambitious, huge, sprawling, messy masterpiece. It has its highs and lows. It has its perfections and its flaws. Sometimes it’s annoying. Sometimes it’s infuriating. But most of the time it’s simply the best driving game you can buy.
Do you think you will be agreeing with reviewers? Are you worried that the game is still stuck in the past? Do you think the sheer quantity of cars and locations put the game above Forza? Does a whole generation’s difference matter? How do you feel about the game’s microtransactions?
Grand Turismo 6 is now available for PS3.