Gran Turismo 6 Review – Hybrid Technology


By Nick de Bruyne on Thursday, December 12, 2013
"The cars look amazing, except that some of the cars look terrible."

It has been just a few days over three years that Gran Turismo 5 launched on the PlayStation 3, ushering the beloved series into what was then the new generation, the very same generation that is now on its way out as we welcome the arrival of Gran Turismo 6.

Gran-Turismo-6-Gets-Gameplay-Video-Huge-Batch-of-Screenshots-14

As the series celebrates its 15th Anniversary, we find ourselves staring at the inspiring introduction video once more, wondering what the team at Polyphony has in store for us this time around. Gran Turismo 5 was plagued with a strange mixture of old and new elements, standard and premium cars, graphical inconsistencies and a few other strange design choices.

Does Gran Turismo 6 finally remedy all of the issues that plagued the previous game and give the PlayStation 3 the send off it deserves? The shorter answer is… well, no not really. When playing Gran Turismo 6, much like it was when playing its predecessor, one word keeps jumping into my mind: Inconsistency. Fans of the series usually know what to expect when playing a Gran Turismo game and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to GT6. However, I’m not sure if that’s good enough these days.

Gran-Turismo-6-Gets-Gameplay-Video-Huge-Batch-of-Screenshots-2

The cars look amazing, except that some of the cars look terrible. The tracks are gorgeous and detailed with day/night cycles and weather, except for the ones that are literally still ripped out of a PS2 game and lack any sort of current-generation flair. From a technical standpoint, when Gran Turismo 6 is firing on all cylinders, it’s the Gran Turismo game you always wanted. When it isn’t, it legitimately looks and sounds like you are playing an HD remake of Gran Turismo 4 and unfortunately, this is what most of the first 4-5 hours of the career mode looks like.

The decision to run GT6 at 1080p may also have been a mistake. The frame rate constantly shifts around from something relatively smooth, to downright jarring at times, especially when trying to make use of the cockpit mode. In the name of all things science, we forced the PS3 into 720p mode and tested the game again only to find that at the lower resolution, the game still looked magnificent and stuck to a silky smooth frame rate without failure. 1080p may have been better off being left alone until the franchise arrived on the PS4, but again this plays into the theme of inconsistency mentioned above. For a series that has seen so much success, I don’t understand how efforts have not been made to update old track and car assets as well as finally record proper engine sounds for all the cars.

Gran-Turismo-6-Gets-Gameplay-Video-Huge-Batch-of-Screenshots-3

Where the team at Polyphony have mainly aimed their sights once again, is at improving all the stuff under the hood that makes a driving sim great at being a driving sim. The new physics systems revolving around suspension and tire behaviour make this Gran Turismo the most absolutely sublime driving experience available on console. Switch from a controller to a proper force-feedback wheel, and as someone who participates in track days himself… this is the closest I’ve ever felt to actually being back on the track in my own car.

Other improvements to the game can be seen in the much improved game interface, which now makes your life a lot easier by being smoother, quicker and more user-friendly. Load times are only sluggish at first, but assets install in the background whenever you play something new, so on the whole the game feels a lot smoother and easier on you than the very sluggish Gran Turismo 5 interface. It does still hang onto some old issues that really need updating, such as the ability to load straight into the next race or license test. The career mode has been spruced up with some additional events that run alongside your usual races, and a new star system allows you to progress by making enough stars up to unlock the next segment of the career, rather than being stuck with needing to get complete or get gold on everything.

gran-turismo-6-screenshot

I can’t help but feel that the formula for the career mode in Gran Turismo has become, well, boring. The truth is that it starts pretty slow and cumbersome but by the time you get to International B races and so on, the career mode really picks up as the races run longer, the cars get faster and the events become more varied. That said, a little bit of an update to the way they approach things really feels like it would be welcome at this point, and by this I don’t mean the very unnecessary Moon missions, if my car doesn’t have a cockpit view yet, I’d much prefer they get on that before creating gimmicky missions that everyone will only play once or twice.

It must also be said (and unfortunately not for the first time) that Polyphony really needs to step up their game when it comes to A.I, race formats and so on. While some nice little additions have been added to the game in the shape of blind spot indicators (very handy) and a man who waves the chequered flag, it makes no sense that there are still no penalties for cutting corners or ramming cars, no flag system and the very, very tired and crash-inducing race format of always starting at the back of a single file of cars and having to make up 11 places in only 2-4 laps. A driving simulator indeed, but a racing simulator?

Gran-Turismo-6-Gets-Gameplay-Video-Huge-Batch-of-Screenshots-23

A little far from it still I’m afraid. Frustrating when you realise its a design choice, not a limitation. All this made even worse that there still seems to be almost no A.I, to the point that they should rather just be called “Artificial Cars”, as they mostly just stay in a long train and barely ever do anything even remotely intelligent. Worse still is that in both GT5 and GT6, I have witnessed an A.I vehicle car run off a piece of road, or have a slight mishap at exactly the same time and place every single time I retried a race, almost as if the race was pre-programmed.

One of the bigger new features, and something that was missing from the previous game is that a whole load of tracks (not all, but also not just a very select few) now support weather and a full 24 hours day/night cycle. The new time cycle really is impressive and in custom races allows you to set how fast time goes by, so that races can start in the afternoon and move their way into night. The first time you are blasting through the Nurburgring at dawn only to see a magnificent looking sun peaking out through the trees at it rises really is pretty magical. At the same time a race at twilight can really play tricks on your eyes, it’s pretty wonderful and surprisingly effective at enhancing the feel of the race. I did however notice that graphically, night time racing seems to strip away the reflective surfaces on cars and there are a lot of graphical glitches to be seen as well as strange limitations, such as your car usually being the only one to actually beam light ahead of it (this was already a limitation in GT5).

gran-turismo-6-screenshot-7

The weather is a bit hit and miss in the fact that you won’t see it in career mode at all for more than the first half of the career even and it doesn’t seem to be dynamic at all, it only seems to escalate one way or the other. I was also a little confused as to why on earth you can set full changing weather to your arcade races (the place where you might want to tinker with this the most), but then have the game not allow pit stops/tire changes at all.

Multiplayer (which now only unlocks after the player has at least passed his National A license) is intact and running as per usual, without major differences really coming into play since the previous game. It works well for the most part, but could possibly benefit from a few standardised official lobbies for casuals to dip into, rather than have you go through pages and pages of hosted games trying to find one that will suit you. That said, for those who dig into this side of GT6 including tuning and more, there is a lot of meat that will keep you busy for a very long time to come.

Gran-Turismo-6-Gets-Gameplay-Video-Huge-Batch-of-Screenshots-26

As a final note worth addressing after some internet commotion, the game does indeed include micro-transactions, however they were never forced, promoted or even displayed on screen unless you went to the in-game store on your own, and together with a reasonable game economy I find absolutely no reason to feel as if they detract from the game in any way.

For the first few hours, I felt disappointed with Gran Turismo 6. I was put off by its continued use of old assets, unpolished ideas and 15 year old problems.

Gran-Turismo-6-Gets-Gameplay-Video-Huge-Batch-of-Screenshots-37

Once the game got into its groove however, it slowly started winning me back with its fantastic new tracks, more accommodating visuals, streamlined interfaces and absolutely phenomenal realistic driving mechanics. That’s not to say that in the end, it proved that it was without its faults.

Gran Turismo 6, while enjoyable to hardcore driving nuts and its longtime fans, ultimately offers nothing fresh to the franchise aside from its improved driving mechanics and additional cars/tracks. Those who have played the games before it will know exactly what to expect, and for those who have never felt the allure of a sim-racer, I’m not so sure that this will be the game to convince you otherwise.

Gran Turismo 6 was reviewed by on the 12th of December , 2013 at 1:00 PM on PlayStation 3

GAMEPLAY
8.5
The updated driving mechanics have raised Gran Turismo 6’s driving mechanics to a level of near perfection. Realistic, rewarding and immensely satisfying when it comes to the driving itself, but ultimately dragged down at times by bad race formats and non-existent A.I.
DESIGN
5.5
Inconsistent visuals, a slow-starting career mode and a bunch of very old fidgety design issues really detract from the experience at times.
VALUE
8.0
Tons of career content, cars, tracks, multiplayer and tuning content will easily keep you coming back for a long time to come.
TOTAL
8.0
As a driving simulator, Gran Turismo 6 excels at bringing you an unparalleled driving experience, but as a racing game it falls short in a variety of ways that while still good, hold it back from being a truly great modern console gaming experience.

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  • Admiral Chief of pixels

    Damn, dem graphix!

    • Karen Davis

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      ????????????????????????????????and as someone who participates in track days himself… this is the closest I’ve ever felt to actually being back on the track in my own car.

  • Admiral Chief of pixels
    • FoxOneZA

      No. That shit runs at 120fps.

      • Spathi

        feet per second?

  • Admiral Chief of pixels

    Pity the 86 does not look as good IRL (in SA at least :P)

    • JJ’s horrible secret (John)

      Man, I love that car. Just thought now how terrible it looks in that picture.

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      You must be a short person.

      *runs* :D

      • Admiral Chief of pixels

        Nope decent length. Dunno, Toyota cars just don’t really do it for me

        • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

          Kidding man! Yea they are utterly dull. Definitely not for the enthusiast

          • Spathi

            GT86 not for the enthusiast? The car has superb handling, although it is lacking power.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            I meant Toyota as a whole. Personally I was very close to buying the 86, but in the end chose not to. One of my favourite cars

          • Spathi

            In that regard you are entirely correct. Toyota is the safe, reliable and consistent family vehicle :D

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            Looking at their recent and upcoming models, they are trying to get the cars to look good though. *Trying*

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Kalahari was kind enough to delay my package till December 17th… Good ol’ Kalahari.net – they’ve been pretty crap of late.

    • VinTaco

      I had the same issue. Cancelled and bought it from Takealot – got it within 48 hours.

    • FoxOneZA

      The delay is due to you getting the updated version where you download all the updates yourself :P

  • That Tall Twit Norm

    Waiting to see a footer note “No Micro-transactions were used in the reviewing of this game.”

  • Stephen Snook

    Great review!

    The AI in Gt games has always been totally bog standard. But I have noticed that they will actually slow down to a stop if there is a collision in front of them. At least that’s something.

    • Spathi

      And they get aggressive and take more chances in GT6. Also, AI “settings” in the national races are very conservative. Later on they feel quite a bit more alive.

  • Spathi

    Thanks for the review Nick. I agree on most aspects of your review. PD still have a way to go. On the other hand, II kinda like the awkward nature of the game. It feels like a GT game :)
    Regarding the physics, it truly is astounding. Difficult to believe what they got out of the PS3.

    Another aspect I’m really excited about is the ever evolving aspect of GT6. Can’t wait for new features and content. On that note, the M4 is playable from today! Whoooot!!!

    With what wheel did you play?

    • Nick de Bruyne

      I actually use the Logitech Driving Force Pro (Yes the PS2 one!), still works magnificently and logitechs GT wheels are still incredible. Literally the only thing its missing is a PS guide button, besides that its perfect

      • Spathi

        My brother still has the exact same wheel and also uses it for GT. I had the Logitech DFGT and sold that and bought a 2nd hand G25. I’m enjoying the wheel a lot, but miss having the PS buttons on the wheel.

        PS: Did you play without ABS? In 5 it wasn’t really an option unless you altered you brake balance (as you would probably know), but in 6 it gives you a whole new dimension of weight transfer and works beautifully!

  • VinTaco

    Excellent review Nick.

  • FoxOneZA

    “and those who have never felt the allure of a sim-racer SHOULD GET FORZA

    • Spathi

      Note the word “sim-racer” please

    • JJ’s horrible secret (John)

      No need. Felt the allure long time ago on many other games.

      • FoxOneZA

        Indeedy but spare a moment for the scraps that console gamers have at their disposal :P

  • FoxOneZA

    I haven’t seen Nick give a game 5.5 for Design!

    • Spathi

      That is super harsh I believe. The menus work great, multiplayer options are good, credit payouts and reward cars are more than enough. The slow starting career mode is very subjective as I enjoyed it and I believe players that are new to the franchise will actually appreciate it (read a review where the reviewer complained about not knowing what is going on).

      • FoxOneZA

        I haven’t played the game yet, only the demo, but I feel that GT can be a little overwhelming with it’s detailed menu’s. The graphics in the demo weren’t bad and it was pretty good for current gen hardware. I think PD wants too much for what the PS3 can provide. Like an ultimo-sim of some sorts.

        • Spathi

          The menus are really much much better than GT5. You can now, while anywhere in the menus, change your car. For instance, while you are tuning a car, you press the start button and select a new car to tune. Or while in the race menu, or when changing oil or wherever. Makes navigating a lot better.

          The car models are excellent as always. The tracks lack detail. But I’d rather have weaker shadows and less track side objects and better physics and an awesome suspension model. Somewhere you have to compromise.

          But yeah, totally agree with you regarding PDs ambitions and what is realistic with their team size and the power of the PS3. If Kaz was left alone to do as he pleases, we would’ve only received GT3 about now.

          I’m really enjoying the game so far. I expected something worse actually :)

          • JJ’s horrible secret (John)

            You guys all do write quite a lot, I must say.

          • Spathi

            I have a passion for cars, and a passion for GT as a result thereof. I need someone to share all my useless opinions with and the internet is a great listener :P

          • JJ’s horrible secret (John)

            I share your passion for cars and have played just about every GT since the first, including that prototype one. I enjoy reading this, make no mistake. I do, however, feel that GT has been focusing a bit too much on content since I’ve found the newer GT’s a bit more dull than the old ones.

          • Spathi

            I think they were all “dull” in a gaming sense, we are just used to more exciting things now :D

          • JJ’s horrible secret (John)

            That’s what I like about it though. It’s not showy. It just is what it is. Codemasters have gone the route of being showy now and I’ll never think of them the same again.

          • Spathi

            Exactly. Like stated somewhere else, I actually prefer the awkwardness of GT! But better AI will be nice :)

            Edit: Think about how good TOCA was. Dirt is a mess (no pun intended).

          • JJ’s horrible secret (John)

            Totally agree. Besides the AI, which for some reason brakes to a standstill if you bump into them from behind, I have some beef with the physics. The newer GT’s cars act a bit like pin-ball machines when you bump their hind quarters, where, in the real world, you end up with serious oversteer.

    • Nick de Bruyne

      Hey guys, yeah Design covers a very broad field in this respect, but it goes from the use of old assets, no cockpit views, multiplayer modes, old terrible looking tracks like Deep Forest, lack of mobility between races and licenses without having to quit back to menu, A,I choices, lack of mechanical damage to the races, lack of flagging systems, lack of punishment to deter people from cutting massive corners… Well, the point is that from a design perspective a lot of this game is very dated, a lot of it needs some new directions and at a time where all other companies are jumping into the future of not only next-gen technology but also next-gen features and controls (think about what FPS controls on console were like in the days of the PS1 compared to now)… Polyphony even has a pretty decent cheat sheet from the competition to see what could be a little different.

      So at the end of the day the design score really feels justified in that the gameplay score is high, because the controls and physics etc are so fantastic, but in terms of design, its a dated system overall. To put it a little more bluntly, if some random game developer company came out with a random racing game with this A.I, this race format etc, they would be panned, so why not Polyphony! After finish my review I was finally able to go and read a few other outlets’ reviews, and saw that many of them all felt the same way.

      As a big fan, here’s hoping that they do something a bit more dynamic and exciting next time around. I miss the cool career map from GT4, I’m sad that was dropped.

      • Spathi

        Makes more sense now, thanks. The star system is a plus though, and the missions (which gives a lot more credit but is only one off), the return of the coffee breaks etc are all cool. Not saying your 5.5 ain’t justified, just saying there are improvements.

        Some small details like being able to go to the next licence mission by just selecting “next” and which was present in GT5, have been omitted. I believe the game will rectify a lot of these shortcomings in the coming months. Things like drive clubs and B-Spec will improve the game a lot. I do realise however that you review the game as is, obviously.

      • http://iadagraca.com/ DigitalWolf

        I’m sorry I don’t get how any one can fault a game for not wanting to get rid of it’s cars.

        I love that after all these years I can still drive my favorite cars. Cockpit be dammed.

        I’ll never fault I game for that. No one should.

        • Zubayr Bhyat

          TBH It’s cool having 1200 cars but Forza 4 had every car fully detailed with proper cockpit views.

          • http://iadagraca.com/ DigitalWolf

            The point is keeping your library of cars regardless of how they look because thats what a driving game is all about for me personally.

            I see no reason why forza 5 won’t port over its cars so that the cars people loved from the previous games are no longer available.

          • Zubayr Bhyat

            Which is great for GT fans, but people looking for more consistency in the overall graphics of the game will find an issue with that.

  • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    But does it finally have clutch control???

    • Zubayr Bhyat

      ‘fraid that option isn’t available for the controller yet.

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        It works fine with Forza and the X360 controller.. Shift 2 has it as well. Which by the way is awesome! Just picked it up. It’s seriously underrated.

        • Acornbread

          Did you find a way around the twitchy handling? It had serious potential but steering was a nightmare.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            Practice I guess… I think it was meant to be difficult. I’m playing on Elite Handling so I dunno about the other modes.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            You could also adjust the sensitivity of the controller inputs and deadzones, that might help. I did the same

          • Zubayr Bhyat

            Delayed reply i know but I came across this:
            http://www.xbox360achievements.org/forum/showthread.php?t=304070

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            Nice one!! Thanks bro

          • Acornbread

            Hmm, might get the old copy out to give this a try… I spent ages trying to tweak the settings but nothing really helped.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            It’s on XBox Live for R159..

          • Acornbread

            Have a PC copy already, will try it again soon.

  • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    It’s almost as if Polyphony are completely oblivious to the fact that there are other racing games out there that do things other than physics better; Sound, menus, visuals, CLUTCH CONTROL, etc..

  • Acornbread

    Great review! So how does this compare to Forza 4? Or the dedicated PC sims like iRacing, rFactor, etc?

    • Zubayr Bhyat

      Two things will irritate you: The slow rate of earnings, no way of differentiating between premium and standard other than looking at no interiors when buying.

      Forza 4 has rivals, GT6 does not – sadly. Compared to sims like rfactor, GTR and Race – no competition for any of those.

      It is thoroughly enjoyable though, and that driving model <3

      • Acornbread

        Have you tried Assetto Corsa? I laughed at all the gushing user reviews, until I played it. It’s sublime and it’s only in Early Access on Steam. Very promising.

        • Zubayr Bhyat

          I heard VERY good things about it. It makes me actually want a PC. There are so many great sims for PC though, even the old ones like GTL and RBR.

          • Acornbread

            Yeah, brings back memories. :) Things have been in a rut for a while though. There was no PC alternative for the likes of GT and Forza: realistic games that were still fun to play, a good middle ground between hardcore sims and arcade racers. For the first time in years I believe this is about to change.

          • Zubayr Bhyat

            True! After GT6 though, Forza 4 feels a little too tricky where polyphony’s game is far more natural. We need more of those for PC.

          • Acornbread

            Tricky, yes, that’s exactly what Forza 4 feels like after playing AC. Too easy to recover from blunders. I love it dearly, but it’s nice when something comes along that takes things to another level. :D Wish I had a PS3 to give GT a proper go.

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    GT6 is i think that best car for racing if you will alternate it for racing. For more info visit shippersmarket.com

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