The Gran Turismo series has made a bit of a habit of shattering expectations and introducing new standards across the board, but what they’ve managed here, technically, on the ageing PS3 hardware almost defies belief. It’s running on an 8 year old system, but looks every bit as good as anything the next-gen has to offer.
Not only is GT6 visually stunning, but it offers a wealth of content that’ll make next-gen offerings like Forza Motorsport 5 blush in comparison. With 1,200 vehicles available in the game from launch, with more sure to be added down the line as DLC, plus 71 courses comprised of a total of 33 distinct locations, on top of a track editor, to get to grips with, this is easily the most in-depth racing game ever created.
However, long-term GT players will be aware that the series has carried with it several annoyances including the lack of a meaningful damage engine, frustratingly bland interface screens, infuriating loading times and a point, varying by user, where the whole thing starts to turn into a bit of a grind-fest, so addressing these issues is obviously going to be where GT6 differentiates itself from its forebears.
Has it succeeded? Not on all fronts, no, sadly. But there’s definitely improvement to be found here. The interface in particularhas received a lot of care and attention. Gone are the ridiculously slow to load menus of GT5, and in their place can be found a series of sensible, intuitive, fast-loading and, arguably most importantly since you’re going to be staring at them for hours, good looking replacements. This is definitely great news for GT fans, and it shows that Kaz and his team are willing to listen to the feedback from their fans.
Once you're on the track, Gran Turismo 6 really excels. The handling is nothing short of phenomenal, while the variety of tracks, classes and vehicles will likely keep you going for the bulk of the next year if you're so inclined. Be warned though, this is a sim not an arcade racer. Inertia, momentum and G-force all play a big part in the way your vehicle handles, so it's possible you might have a bit of learning ahead of you if you're new to this side of the genre.
The downsides are that blasted damage modelling that we mentioned earlier and some questionable AI, though. Is it really too much to ask for the guys at Polyphony to come up with some form of realistic damage? Just about every other racer seems to manage it without any issues, so we're not sure what the problem is. If it was a licensing issue, then surely it'd be prevalent across the board? And as for the AI, well it's fine a lot of the time, but some unpredictable difficulty balancing has the potential to frustrate, while rubber banding (even if it's in the player's favour) is unacceptable these days.
Gran Turismo 6 is undoubtedly the best in the series to date, and a damn fine racer, but until some of the niggles are addressed, it's not quite where it could be. It's still highly recommended though!