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.