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Gran Turismo 6 review

AT A GLANCE
  • Insane amount of top-quality content
  • Brilliantly fun driving model
  • Gorgeous visuals with day/night transitions
  • Loads of racing surfaces and wet weather
  • Questionable AI and difficulty balancing
  • Still no meaningful damage modelling

You see that game on your shelf called Gran Turismo 5? Pick it up. Now drop it in the nearest bin and forget it ever happened. Gran Turismo 6 delivers the racer we always knew the PS3 and Polyphony were capable of. In fact, it’s so good that even its minor annoyances can’t hold it back from negating the generational divide and snatching back its title of ‘best console racing sim’, next-gen be damned.

Even on hardware from 2006, GT6 manages native 1080p, 60fps (except for replays and particularly busy moments), and grids full of immaculately-modelled, licensed cars. And it tops all of this off with day/night transitions and wet-weather racing. It’s the full package straight out of the box, making its next-gen competition (*cough* Forza 5) look like a demo. For lens flare effects. Yes, I just went there.

The very first thing you notice when you take control of the initial race around Brands Hatch is the responsiveness of the steering. It’s all about realism, weight transferral, and inertia, yet there’s enough grip there to swerve around a slower AI car without having to cancel things in your diary to accommodate the manoeuvre. I cannot emphasise enough, driving a car in GT6 feels like no other racing game on the market, and I love it.

Obviously the first thing you’ll want to do is turn off all the assists, which include the obligatory dynamic racing line, traction control, ABS, and what have you. The game doesn’t need them and neither do you. Why? Because the cars are so controllable in their natural state, so perfectly balanced between realism and accessibility, pinpoint driving is possible even with a DualShock 3.

But while playing with the pad is perfectly enjoyable, purists will prefer a steering wheel. With a racing seat and Logitech Driving Force GT force feedback set, the experience is more realistic, but also far more physical, as you need to steer wildly just to catch an oversteer moment on full-lock. The force feedback is strong and solid-feeling, which couples with the game’s ultra-smooth movement to create a flowing sense of motion that you’ll want to savour.

However, get a corner wrong with either controller and the resulting physics are pretty special. In some cars, the sudden lack of grip on the grass means a dinner trolley slide into the barriers. Conversely, in a 4WD Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, it means a few seconds of rally driving as you try to keep it under control and wrestle the car back onto the circuit. Both simulations are exemplary.

Unlike many modern racers, there’s no rewind button. But that’s the cheat’s way out anyway. As a trade-off, impacts won’t end your race as thumping your car into the wall won’t affect your handling like it does in Forza or GRID. Damage is limited to a few scuff textures instead of a gearbox full of 3rd gears. You’re basically indestructible, which is one area the GT series still comes up short.

That aside, Polyphony has clearly learned a stack of lessons from its GT5-shaped misstep. For starters, every track now looks worthy of its HD resolution. Foliage is more naturalistic (softened by a touch of bloom lighting), and the lighting effects add considerable atmosphere to even the most basic races. The game also looks demonstrably better in 1080p compared to 720p because the pixel meshes used for distant foliage are less noticeable. There are a few jagged lines that betray the game’s now last-gen tech, but it could feasibly pass for a PS4 game if you didn’t know better.

More Info

Release date: Dec 06 2013 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Racing
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed by: Polyphony Digital
Franchise: Gran Turismo
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Lyrics

All of this would be nought if the progression system was still completely broken, but that aspect of the game has received a major overhaul. For starters, the menus have been simplified, offering logical shortcuts like showing you which cars in your garage are available for the current event, or offering you ‘coffee break’ events if you fancy something light-hearted to break up the tiered events of the main career. It’s almost as if it’s been designed with the player in mind and not just the enjoyment of Kazunori Yamauchi.

Unfortunately, it’s still possible to enter an event with a faster car and win more easily, but nothing like the ‘miles in front by turn 1’ madness of GT5. It does so through the new ‘PP’ number, which ranks each machine’s power. Most events have a PP limit, so if your PP is too big, you’re not allowed to race (stop sniggering at the back). It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s much, much better.

However, the AI is not better at all. The AI drivers do kick up some dirt as they venture off-line and there is a modicum of defensive driving exhibited by the leaders, but they’re still faceless and robotic. The oddest problem with their behaviour is the way one or two often dash off at the start into a 12-second lead then appear to wait for you to catch up on the last lap. You can see them taking corners at a crawl on the track map. Madness. The AI isn’t up to the quality of everything else, which makes it stand out all the more.

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.)

While GT6 exhibits most if not all of the series’ idiosyncrasies, it has deftly pulled itself out from its own exhaust pipe, dropped 99% of the pretentious jazz, and regained its mojo. With post-race confetti sparkles (a cheap effect, but I like it), harmony guitar fanfares when you win, and some stylish presentation, it feels like a video game again.

GT is coming to PS4, but it no longer needs that machine to save the series. This is everything GT5 should have been. So forget that game ever existed, get this and enjoy it while you wonder why they skipped straight from GT4 to GT6.

Gran Turismo 6 rights almost all of the wrongs of its predecessor to deliver one of the most expansive, beautiful and enjoyable racing simulations ever seen. If only the AI and damage modelling were better, this would be the perfect racing game.

55 comments

  • craig-robb - October 11, 2014 3:41 a.m.

    Everybody on here must have the patience of saints, but for me, the GT6 loading times of each track bite chunks out of my enthusiasm to play once the track has eventually loaded. It reminds me of the HD tracks from the original GT on the PlayStation. Oh, and despite great graphics et al, AI makes a game, and GT6's is crap. Crap AI, crap game.
  • mike-donovan - September 30, 2014 9:29 p.m.

    I just bought GT5 and GT6 today ( have been waiting for GT for PS4 )
  • biggles3309 - February 19, 2014 3:01 a.m.

    Biggest disappointment of the GT series and a blatant move to ripping the users off with in game purchases of game money. The seasonal events that were good sources of income to buy your dream car are now all time trials so one off rewards and not that good. GT6 top prizes £250K vs GT5 prizes of £1M. I find "free" apps annoying enough when you can't get anywhere without having to buy a pack of something, but when you have paid £50+ for a game you don't expect the developer to be pulling the same stunts, especially when there is nothing new or innovative in this version and it doesn't even run on a PS4 so the improved graphics don't really shine. We were left hanging for the full release of GT with the prologue release keeping us hooked and the wait was worthwhile. I never left my racing seat for month when it came out. GT6 has barely been touched. I've kept my PS3 specifically for GT6 so I guess it will now be going on Ebay to pay for the PS4 games.
  • lee-gregan - February 4, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    This game is a technical masterpiece, the lighting is the best you will see, its amazing that GT6 is even being compared to Forza 5 but I have seen and played Forza 5 and GT6 competes on every level and wins on most. My friend has an Xbox One and Forza 5, I showed him the replay of a race I did on GT6 on Mount Panamera ( Bathurst ) and he was gob smacked, he said it looked better than Forza 5. I can't believe Forza 5, a ' next gen ' racer and there is no time change or weather change, its ridiculous what GT6 is doing aside from the awesome graphics and there is more content on the way with a map editor and a phone app that will record a journey anywhere using GPS which you will then be able to input into the game via the map editor. It really does make Forza 5 look like a demo on 360.
  • MerylsHers12 - January 12, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    The game is amazing :) There is also a PC version of PlayGameHacker.Com download and install the manager, a great solution. Link to the manager: http://playgamehacker.com/gran-turismo-6-pc-version/ The film with the action manager: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Qor1RhYFk
  • Princeofgaming12 - January 5, 2014 7:20 a.m.

    I still think that Grid 2 has alot more to offer, a way better way of customizing included.
  • ReadoUK - December 11, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    Anyone wonder if the reason Driveclub was put back was because they realised the difference in graphics just wasn't big enough? GT is always going to win on cars, tracks and physics so Drive club really needed to ensure a massive gulf in graphical quality to win round the early adopters. This is the point with Forza- obviously there is a difference it's just not big enough.
  • flogbags - December 8, 2013 10:19 p.m.

    it would be great to be able to play this game, but as it stands, I have tried 3 different copies in my ps3 and still have had no joy!!! All my other games play, even dual layer games including Gran turismo 5, so why wont this one work???? I have contacted sony, and they tell me that a lot of people are having the same issue, WHY? My ps3 is not even a year old and this happens, maybe I should cancel my ps4 order, not a happy camper
  • Sliet - December 8, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    "so if your PP is too big, you’re not allowed to race (stop sniggering at the back)." I died.
  • jesse-laitinen - December 8, 2013 4:32 a.m.

    "It’s the full package straight out of the box, making its next-gen competition (*cough* Forza 5) look like a demo." To be speaking the truth Forza 5 is making this game look like a demo made in 2003.
  • matt-esterhuizen - December 9, 2013 6:13 a.m.

    No one gives a shit here about Xbox. Go join the microsoft sucks forum to discuss this...
  • lalilulelost - March 6, 2014 5:53 a.m.

    Oh, a fanboy who can't cope with reality!
  • chrismdonahue - December 7, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    If you are buying GT6, buy the Anniversary Edition. The extra 25 cars are worth it. It means I only have had to buy 2 cars, My starter and the next one up. GT6 is great so far. Looks great. Progression system is more like classic GT games. PP and license restricted (instead of class and level). Microtransactions won't bother me because I will play and earn credits normally. The winning amounts and car prices are the same as they have been for years. The Day 1 patch was big (2gb). There was a second update today.
  • DemonTraitor - December 7, 2013 6:29 a.m.

    Would love to see the actual mechanics of the menu system etc. I got bored with GT5. I loved just razzing around and learning circuits in different cars in single play mode, but having to keep leaving the circuit choose another car, then choose the circuit again.. blah blah.. what a chore. Would love to see the ability to, after having several laps, change the car without having to reload everything. And also, be able to change the circuit while keeping the car... having to go all the way back to main menu to do this in GT5... wow, it was not long before I got bored and went on my beast of a PC :/
  • CikaFajer - December 7, 2013 1:10 a.m.

    You have ˇnewˇ PP points in GT5 too ... Seasonal events ... did u play gt 5 ?
  • GR_JustinTowell - December 7, 2013 2:21 a.m.

    My review of GT5 is still on the site so feel free to read that. In the vanilla game that I reviewed, you could enter a supercar or even a fully-upgraded car into a beginner race and wipe the floor with the entire field. The new PP-governed system is superior because it actually balances races more like it should. And as for patches and DLC, I appreciate the game changed dramatically post-launch. But all it did was outline what was needed for this game, which is legitimately great as soon as you start it up from the disc alone. I did go back and install over an hours' worth of GT5 patches in one go recently to see how it had changed. It still wasn't as good as GT6 is from day 1, which is why I urge everyone to move on and play this game instead.
  • expeditopaz - December 10, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    The first events of GT5 (Sunday Cup, FF Challenge etc.) can be played with any car, regardless of its performance points. If you get some DLC or patch-prize cars, it's easy, easy to win them. GT6 really changed this (by the way, I won the first events with the default Honda Fit, without any tuning).
  • hester2 - December 6, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    I can't believe they still refuse to fix the sound issues and bumper car effect when hitting walls, considering those seem to be the 2 chief complaints people have about the series. That being said, since virtually every one of your past racing game reviews have been mirror images of my own thoughts, I will be picking this up as soon as my wallet recovers from overspending on the PS4 library.

Showing 1-20 of 55 comments

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