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Review

Gran Turismo 6 Review

  • Game release: December 6, 2013
  • Reviewed: December 10, 2013
  • PS3

Simulation, not stimulation.

by

Gran Turismo 6 can be a wonderful thing. It's hard not to admire its intuitive handling, the obsessive attention to detail, and its steadfast dedication to simulation, even though some of the fun is sucked out in the process. It's an impressive piece of work in some respects, but for a series with such a legacy behind it, you can't help but feel it's forever doomed to a life of quiet predictability to keep the diehards happy. GT6 is all about small, incremental changes over grand reinventions. While it is--in my mind at least--the best true racing simulation available on consoles, so much of the game feels antiquated and quaint when compared to its rivals. Everything that's good about Gran Turismo is here, and so too, unfortunately, is the bad.

Things start off well, though. GT6 gets you straight into the action with a Trackday lap--a first for the series--by putting you at the wheel of a Renault Clio RS at the new Brands Hatch circuit. There, you're taught driving basics, such as how to use a racing line and zip around the track. The pacey Renault isn't going to smash any lap records, but it's great fun to drive, and the Trackday certainly gets you geared up for some proper racing. And then, as soon as the tutorial is over, Polyphony Digital falls back into 15 years of horribly bad habits.

Powerful supercars still sound like lawnmowers and hairdryers.

Career mode begins without even giving you a choice of your first car; you're forced into the tepid Honda Fit for around the first 90 minutes of the game. Progress is slow, with credits being handed out at a paltry rate early on, and you're rarely rewarded with new vehicles for race wins. The first vehicle you unlock without having to spend any of your hard-earned credits is only a go-kart. Gran Turismo purists will probably be expecting this kind of grind, but newcomers will quickly be alienated by GT6 when other racing games are happy to put you behind the wheel of a kickass sports car within minutes.

Progress through your career is gated by a new star system and by the traditional GT license tests. There are six categories of races, each requiring a certain number of stars to unlock. Once you have enough stars to unlock the next category, you then have to complete a series of license tests. It's a long, drawn-out process that feels very old-fashioned. If you've played a lot of racing games, then the license tests are completely pointless; not everyone needs to learn how to drive from scratch with each new GT game. The fact that the tests are now mandatory again after being optional in GT5 is a total kick in the teeth.

GT6 maintains the series' famous variety of models and events, and adds to its heritage in meaningful ways.

Thankfully, your progress isn't further hindered by the user interface as it was in GT5. The menus are a vast improvement over the previous game's muddled design, borrowing heavily from the tiled layout of Microsoft's Metro UI. Everything from buying and upgrading cars, to Career mode, online play, and community features is accessed from a single screen. It sounds like a simple upgrade, but compared to GT5, it's light years ahead.

GT6's handling is nearly flawless. The updates to the driving model seem subtle at first, but the little tweaks combine to make vast improvements. Cars spring to life, demanding precision and concentration from even the most experienced drivers. The changes to the physics are the claimed result of partnerships with several automotive parts makers, from aftermarket suspension companies to tire manufacturers. The suspension modeling is the most immediately noticeable change. You can feel the body roll and yaw as you change direction, making it natural and instinctive to correct tiny slides as you sense the car's weight shifting, rather than relying on visual feedback.

Stock road cars are livelier too. In the past, they had very neutral and unresponsive handling, but in GT6, you can sense much more movement through these less-high-end machines, particularly when the nose dives down toward the asphalt under heavy braking. You can anticipate the limit of grip even on standard street tires, giving the best drivers the opportunity to extract more performance than usual from slow cars. That might all sound intimidating, particularly if you're not a seasoned driver, but there's a whole suite of assists that keep GT6's realistic physics accessible to less-skilled players. Traction control and other settings have 10-point sliders that can be adjusted gradually as you improve your driving, starting you off with basic control and easing you into a more realistic experience.

However, while the driving is executed beautifully, there are other areas of the GT6 experience that fare less well. New circuits like Brands Hatch, Bathurst, Goodwood, and Ascari all look superb, but older tracks are sorely in need of a fresh coat of paint. Some of the environment art leaves a lot to be desired too, and is in danger of falling far behind the rest of the racing pack. Many of the grandstands are filled with cardboard-cutout fans, and some locations have some horrible-looking trees and rock textures that look like they haven't been updated since GT4 on the PlayStation 2. Rain effects are disappointing too, with water falling from the sky in jagged lines, and spray from cars looking like a decal glued to the back of each vehicle.

Night racing, on the other hand, is spectacular, with gorgeous lighting and detailed star-filled skies. There is, however, an unfortunate side effect to the entire simulation: the frame rate. It's stable most of the time, but it suffers on some of the more detailed courses, and load times are inconsistent too.

Then there are the differences between the cars. The hotly debated issue of premium versus standard cars that was a big problem with GT5 was supposed to have been solved for GT6. In practice, the situation has improved, but it's far from resolved. For the most part, cars are stunning, both inside and out, but on the track, you can definitely tell which of them are updated versions of GT5's standard models. These cars have lower-resolution textures and significantly fewer polygons in addition to their featureless black cockpits.

In a weird twist, GT6 no longer separates standard and premium cars on the dealership screens. This can lead to spending your hard-earned credits on a new ride, only to get onto the circuit and find that it looks jagged and blurry next to the other pristine cars. Car audio is still a problem too. This is one of the worst parts of the series' long legacy and is crying out to be updated. Powerful supercars still sound like lawnmowers and hairdryers. Changes have been promised for future patches, but at the moment, the audio has been lapped by the competition.

The AI needs a big upgrade as well. Despite promised improvements, Gran Turismo 6 feels much the same as past GT games. Opponents adhere to a rigid racing line, behaving more like slot cars than real racers. They show almost no awareness of either you or the other AI drivers, clumsily turning into other cars, stamping on the brakes way too early, and failing to power out of corners. In this regard, GT6 feel hugely dated in comparison to its competition and sucks the fun out of the racing. The driving itself is hugely enjoyable and rewarding, but racing with the AI is more like an elaborate obstacle course than a motorsport event.

If you want some competitive racing, you need to head into the online lobbies. Multiplayer racing can be a minefield at the best of times, and GT6 similarly makes getting into a race an awkward process. For some reason, the day-one patch removed the Quick Match option from the menus, meaning that the only way to race is to scour pages and pages of custom lobbies until you find one that you like. Users can flag events as racing for fun, for realism, or for drifting, but that's about as helpful as it gets. Icons show you whether a lobby restricts assists or car performance, but there's nothing to tell you which assists will be locked out, or exactly how car performance is restricted. You're left with no choice but to connect to a game and hope for the best. This is yet another area where Polyphony Digital promised big changes from GT5 but has failed to deliver.

Despite its many problems, GT6 still has vast appeal for gearheads and car collectors. Polyphony Digital claims that the game has more than 1,200 cars, so there are plenty of new machines to experience and customize. The possibilities for automotive customization have been dramatically expanded in GT6 with huge amounts of visual upgrades available. There are dozens of wings and other aerodynamic enhancements and hundreds of wheel designs, but sadly, no options for custom painting. On the mechanical side, the tuning shop has been significantly streamlined, making it much easier to see the effects of each new part before you spend your credits, although there's still no way to share setups with other players.

So much of the game feels antiquated and quaint when compared to its rivals.

As well as the sheer number of cars, GT6 maintains the series' famous variety of models and events, and adds to its heritage in meaningful ways. In a first for the series, the game includes a long list of European racing cars from the FIA GT3 class, so you can take to the track in the ultimate versions of the world's most desirable cars, like the Mercedes-Benz SLS-AMG GT3 and the Audi R8 GT3. There are more Le Mans prototypes than ever before in a GT game too, and rally makes a welcome return, albeit with no new dirt courses. Polyphony is promising plenty of cars and tracks to come, much of it via free downloadable content, including the Vision GT cars, which are unique concepts developed by the world's top carmakers specifically for Gran Turismo.

Unfortunately, if you want to build up a big car collection, you're going to need either a lot of spare time or a lot of spare cash. GT6 is designed to reward its most dedicated fans by keeping the very best cars exclusive. Classic racing cars have high credit price tags, meaning that you're going to have to grind out a lot of career events to afford them. In GT5, you could get around this by taking part in the weekly updated seasonal events, which differed little from Career races but offered massive payouts, sometimes upward of half a million credits. In GT6, the first batch of seasonal events offer a top prize of only 12,500 credits. This leaves the newly introduced microtransactions as the only option for busy players to acquire the best cars. One million credits cost £7.99, but the most expensive cars in the game are worth around 20 million credits, costing upward of £100 in real money. Spending money is entirely optional, and you have to actively go looking for the store to do so, but the choice to add microtransactions instead of addressing the grind leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

GT6 takes another bizarre turn in the game's Special Events. These side missions place you in specific cars and locations with unique tasks. My favorite of these is the Goodwood Hill Climb, which puts you behind the wheel of a variety of classic cars at this famous British motorsport festival, and is a neat bit of nostalgic fun. At the other end of the spectrum is the gimmicky lunar exploration task. That's right, you can drive on the moon. In this event, you drive supposedly accurate lunar rover missions from the 1970s. These are slow, tedious events that are only remarkable for the setting and the fleeting novelty of driving in low gravity.

Career mode also features optional coffee break events designed to add more variety to the racing format of the single-player game. These are usually drifting challenges or cone challenges in which you have to knock over a certain number of cones in a given time. They're more of a pleasant distraction than a meaningful addition, but they break up the pace nicely.

The rest of the presentation is pure Gran Turismo, for better and for worse. The music is the now-notorious mixture of lounge jazz and heavy metal, and none of the game is voiced, so you read a lot of text tutorials in the early going. Other areas have been given a bit more attention. Races are introduced with some cool TV-style graphics with details about weather conditions, temperatures, and starting grids, which creates a nice sense of atmosphere that has been missing from previous GT games. Damage, on the other hand, has not been changed at all since GT5. The vast majority of cars show barely any damage. Even 100mph head-on collisions cause only tiny dents and scrapes, and they have no impact on car handling or performance.

It's those little niggles that make Gran Turismo 6 feel so incredibly dated compared to its rivals. Yes, it's nice to have that attention to detail poured into the physics simulation itself, but when the likes of Forza are heaping on the features, it's hard not to feel shortchanged by GT6's lack of vision. Maybe we'll see the makeover the series sorely needs when it inevitably hits the PS4, but until then, Gran Turismo 6 remains a fantastic simulation; it's just not a great game.

The Good
The best driving physics on consoles
Vast number of tracks and customizable cars
Most of the car models are stunningly detailed
Great variety of events and driving styles to take part in
The Bad
Predictable and robotic AI
Acquiring the best cars is either a time-consuming grind or a major expense
Dated environments
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Member

Joseph Barron is a virtual speed demon who'd rather have a bucket seat in his living room than an armchair. He has played hundreds of hours of every Gran Turismo game, but ever since GT3 on the PS2, he's always disappointed when the new game doesn't feature the early 2000s British rocker Feeder on the soundtrack.

Discussion

705 comments
ridetskibill
ridetskibill

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.

l34052
l34052

I see the game still has the highly realistic engine sounds its famous for, oh wait hang on....

Triton
Triton

I've had every GT game, only 5% into and so far to me it seems just like GT5 except with a new front end. Hope that is not all they did as an up grade for $60. Price should be more around $30.

hlinatko
hlinatko

From video review I will say that Real Racing 3 on iPhone looks better than this brand new GT6 and its for free :-).

nikon133
nikon133

After playing for a while, I really like it. It is visually improved over GT5, not much but visible... I guess you cannot get much more out of that hardware. I also prefer handling to previous GT games, including GT5. I cannot say it is more realistic (I'm not racing cars in real life) but it feels more realistic to me. For some reason, in GT5 I had problem driving with cockpit view, I just couldn't get correct feel for speed and slide and everything else... with GT6, I drive cockpit view only, it is awesome. Can't explain, it just feels... right.

I also like racing slow cars, after all the super-cars in every available racing game, doing laps in Jazz or Clio just feels refreshingly different.


The only real issue I have is this premium/standard thing. I could live with it in GT5, but GT6 being final GT game for PS3, I really think developer had enough time to bring everything to same standards. Much as I am concerned, they should have dropped 600 cars and make all remaining 600 premium. How many (almost) identical Imprezas and Chevy SS'13 does one want to drive anyway..?


I had a chance to play Forza 5 for a while and really enjoyed game. Yes it is better looking, next-gen game compared to GT6... but I didn't feel bad returning to GT6, and I think that is quite an achievement for racer running on PS3 hardware. I actually tried to compare experience, so to counter driving light Forza 5 Atom around Gothic Prague, I tried driving KTM X Bow around Madrid. I found premium GT6 cars comparing well to F5 cars, outside and inside. I was equally happy with physics in both games, both cars were easy to over-steer and easy to drift through bends, as I would expect from such light cars. Where GT6 lacked were environments - Madrid didn't look as good as Forza's Prague, with more boxy, lower polygon buildings, blurrier textures, poorer ambient shadows and lightning effects (flares etc)... but game's core - car models and driveability were not much off, if any. I expect future Forzas to improve on XBO, but as it is, I found GT6 experience good enough not to feel motivated to jump to next gen immediately.


Which really is achievement for old dog PS3.


Much as I am concerned, GT6 is 8/10 to GT5's 7 or 7.5.

hlavco25
hlavco25

I'm surprised at the number of people complaining about this game's graphics. You guys must have some sky-high standards, because it all looks good enough to me, even the Standard cars. And even if the console is capable of better, saying these cars "look like shit" is a bit much.


Are you guys buying the game to play it, or just to look at it? I prefer to play it, so I'll take 1200 slightly jaggedy cars over 200 pristine ones.

2zosteve
2zosteve

not a bad game. just should have been a lot better.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

Same tracks, same graphics, zero damage, better menus and the moon exploration was an incredibly awful idea... Let's face it, its a rent at best... I have a G27 wheel, could have a lot of fun with this game but its just about 97% the same of gt5

Sickopuppie
Sickopuppie

"Career mode begins without even giving you a choice of your first car; you're forced into the tepid Honda Fit for around the first 90 minutes of the game."

This is where the author is full of rubbish.  Yes, you are in a Honda Fit, however they leave you with a decent sum of money.  After the first TWO races, you can make enough to buy your own car with a lot more power than a Fit. 90 minutes?  Please. More like 12 minutes.  The author needs to get a clue. It's a simulator. You start small, race, get bigger, and manage your money.  The author does not seem to do the latter. And as a side:


This is a great looking racing game with a gigantic amount of cars.

jokertax
jokertax

Like they say reviews are oppinions, in most of the cases in my experience more or less agree with game spot, because i tried big part of the games on 360 in last year. But you can be entirely sure until you play game your self, Demos are decent way to try game but you cant fully experience the game, so i think the announced full game trials are only wright move to know where or not to buy games that are not cheap. I love gran tourismo games (played 1,2,3,5 and gt 6 demo), but i thing they didnt adjusted game speed (car speed) - you drive 400 mph but dosent feel like that. Thats why I think forza games are better, specially forza 4. But you gotta love big car selection in gt games

2zosteve
2zosteve

just plain tired of GT. Hoping for Drive Club to be really good.

James Beast
James Beast

Yeah, it's pretty surprising that GameSpot is still around since their employees have been paid in the past by development companies to give good reviews on certain games.

John Dettman Jr.
John Dettman Jr.

Its no wonder gt6 isn't well liked I mean come on we had gt5 prolude, gt5, and gt6 right on its coat tails soo basically the fans are just a little gt burned out.

Vodoo
Vodoo

This game looks like complete shit. Stop adding more & more cars that nobody wants to drive.

Georgios Outsider
Georgios Outsider

Hi i got the game a few days ago.Some say that GT6 should've been GT5s DLC.But i disagree.Look at the physics engine.I only seen physics like that in crysis Pc version.Still it has evolving potential though ;) GT6 is here for the racing sim fans who can't find any other racing sim out there except GT.It's sad but true.The only real racing sim left is Gran Turismo.

Ardazu
Ardazu

I love GT series and I really don't mind grinding at all.  However, I do not like the idea of a person spending 80+ hours is equally rewarded someone with deep pockets.  Next thing they will sell platinum reward for 100 bucks...   

adeathnote1
adeathnote1

I take issue w/ this review. Its pretty clear that this guys idea of a racing game is Need for Speed. Just so everyone knows, the cars are delved out a bit faster than this guy lets on. If you get all your stars and beat challenges you get gift cars awarded. The reviewer got his 2nd car when I was getting my 4th. He should know that if He supposedly spent all this time on it. This game doesn't cater to the normal "I want to race the fastest car right now!) gamer. Its about the slow burn of building your garage and working your way up. Scores don't matter to me and I could care less, but this review really made me think this guy doesn't get the series as a whole or the simulation genre. I also suggest anyone looking to get into this game to buy a wheel. You can get a decent logitech driving force for around 100 bucks and it will make this series come alive.

M Izham BakaYaro
M Izham BakaYaro

A lame score for the perfect stimulation driving game... absolutely the reviewer was comparing Forza on xboxone with GT6 on ps3 and both are in different gen console... If this game is released in ps4 next year the quality is 2x better than Forza... Gamespot is becoming worsen each month with the bias of their "favourite console"

Alan Retkoceri
Alan Retkoceri

i agree, gt6 will evolve over the next months, huge games like gt6 need more dedication, it should be tested for at least 1-2months, otherwise it's not a fair analysis, i can bet with you, most reviewers didnt spend more than 1-2 weeks to test the game, they're simply not passionate sim-racers

Reina Harriet Watt
Reina Harriet Watt

That's how I pretty much feel about the series and the Forza games, they always look great graphically and if you're a fan of cars and have a love of the workings and modifying a car's every aspects to your liking, then the games are for you. But if you're just looking for a quick race without wasting time with tweaking a car just right or if you're looking for a little more to a racing game then the Gran Turismo series and Forza are most likely not for you. I find them very boring myself, I've tried often to try and like them but they just aren't my thing.

Jak Gibberish
Jak Gibberish

Realism is great and all but above all else a game needs to be FUN..... It is a frickin' game, I do not want to have to do tedious tasks. My life has enough tedious tasks as it is without having to have them in a game I choose to play in order to switch off!

Adam Ritchie
Adam Ritchie

Gamespot balls deep in Forza and it's shafting of consumers I see. Move along folks, nothing to see here

Leon Silavant
Leon Silavant

What I mean was that the jump from San Andreas to IV was huge in terms of graphics, gameplay and everything and from IV to V, not as much which was expected and totally fine. V took all the elements of IV and refined them all. The gunplay, vehicle handling, ragdoll physics, open world quality etc. Its what they've done with GT5 to GT6 although not on the same scale.

Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson

Like GTA V was to GTA IV? That's a terrible anology. Those games are totally different.

Nate Birkas-Schatz
Nate Birkas-Schatz

GT6 has cool variation with their many tracks and cars but is very lacking in everything else IMO. As dumb as it may sound, if you combined parts of fm5 and gt6, it would be stellar.

Shea Foley
Shea Foley

I do agree with Antonio how it was a smart move to throw it on PS3, but I still think they'll suffer in sales and I don't believe it's because of the timing either.

DarthLod
DarthLod

God these types of games are beyond boring. I fail to see anything fun or even remotely interesting about them.

2zosteve
2zosteve

@hlavco25 graphics don't matter to me. best games ever still on PS1 and PS2.

2zosteve
2zosteve

@jokertax I like forza better than GT, tired of both. enter Drive Club.

CharlesBurns
CharlesBurns

@VodooIt does not look like complete shit. And I'm sure plenty of people want to drive the BMW M4, the Red Bull X cars as well as the Lamborghini Reventon, Ferrari Enzo FFX etc...


Latest Update 1.02 is awesome... this reviews is already outdated and a waste of time. By next year GT6 should get a 9/10

EXxile
EXxile

Clearly you have overlooked Forza. I love GT, but you cannot discount Forza from the racing sim genre.

RTHKI
RTHKI

There are loads of "real" racing sims on PC.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@Ardazu I don't see it as a reward if you bought it. I've purchased stuff in the past with real money, and I always regretted it not to long after, because the thing you buy has no actual value. It's not like you made any sort of effort to get it.


Compare that to spending a ton of time (80 hours still seems like a bit much) working towards getting that one fancy car you want and when you finally get it you should have a sense of accomplishment that the person who spent money won't have.

adeathnote1
adeathnote1

@Ardazu it's just an option, And its not even a visible one. I've never even seen it in the menus. Forza 5 is much worse. Pay to play is a central part of their plan... 

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@adeathnote1 You obviously didn't read the important new part of the GS review system, in that the author explains their history with the game series. It says right at the bottom that he's put hundreds of hours into all the past GT games, I think that rather qualifies him to write this review, and it easily disproves your ignorant mention of his love of NFS.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

The point of the review was that all the negative aspects of GT are still present. You'd think by this point they'd have worked it out, but as someone who grew up playing GT and recently discovered Forza, I'm hard-pressed not to claim that the latter one is both the better game as well as the better overall driving simulation.


Also don't be an idiot, just because this guy may prefer Forza now over GT6 (despite the fact that he didn't say that, AND he mentioned his long history with the series at the bottom) does not mean that Gamespot is now biased towards "their favourite console", whichever one that may be, since it seems to be pretty equal to me.

CharlesBurns
CharlesBurns

I've noticed a weird phenomenon with certain games. The first few days I play them, I'm underwhelmed to the point of frustration, but if you play through the malaise in a week or two you realise it's actually a great game. It's happened with GT5 and GT6 and a few other games. It almost feels like it takes time to get to know the game, and look past its flaws to all the subtle things you don't notice immediately.

ahztek
ahztek

Not really. He's not comparing the games dude. He's comparing the differences of one sequel to the next and how the improvements are similar when compared to "scale" or "quality", per se..

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

@DarthLodto each his own... and technically speaking the GT series is a driving simulator series

EXxile
EXxile

@CharlesBurns @Vodoo They are reviewing the game that went onto shelves. If it took several updates to make it go from a 7 to a 9, then it shouldn't have been released yet.

constantterror
constantterror

@EXxileSorry but Forza sucks in every way that game doesn't handle right makes you wanna break your controller when trying to turn corners and did I mention it always looks cel-shaded and is complete crap.

Ardazu
Ardazu

@StarsiderSajun I totally agree with you.  The sense of accomplishment won't change even everyone cheats around me however provided even as an option to gamers somehow doesn't feel right.  I remember the day when I reached 100% completion in GT3 which took a lot of time.  In order to beat the game I had to get a prize car in one of the 24 hour endurance races.  If I am able to get that specific car with $10, it still doesn't take the feeling of accomplishment away but makes me feel kind of cheated. 
Then again maybe I am too old-school for this kind of set up :) . 

EXxile
EXxile

@adeathnote1 @Ardazu I don't think you've played Forza 5, have you? Or have you just read on the previews from E3? Because I own Forza 5, and I haven't spent an extra penny on anything.

Ardazu
Ardazu

@adeathnote1 In general, I don't like the idea of paying actual money to be better in the competition even as an option.  Maybe I am old-school :).

CharlesBurns
CharlesBurns

@StarsiderSajunGT6 is obviously better than Forza 5. Just look at the numbers, more cars, more tracks, nighttime and weather driving... forget all GT6's flaws, based just on the numbers and features it's a better game.

k4yser
k4yser

@ahztekThe improvement was there because rockstar took a few steps beack from san andreas to iv. except the visuals of course..

Gran Turismo 6

  • PlayStation 3
Gran Turismo 6 is a comprehensive racing simulator that allows fans to drive a prolific collection of cars on the world's most legendary racetracks.
ESRB
Everyone
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Gran Turismo 6 Wiki on Giantbomb.com