If Gran Turismo 6 has taught me anything throughout my arduous time with it, it’s that I could never cut is as a racing driver.I should hit Eau Rouge flat out, but for some reason the crest of that hill always makes me lift off in anticipatory fear. I should attempt to outbreak my opponents more often, but the prospect of a collision makes me shy away from it. I should, maybe, have stopped playing this game a while ago. I haven’t done badly. I have an impressive garage full of competitive cars and I’ve completed the necessary amount of races needed to progress.
But once I turn my PS3 on, something in the back of my mind questions why I’m even bothering. It’s not that the game is repetitive, or boring, in fact it’s kind of the opposite. As someone who knows the bare minimum about cars, I was hoping to have my hand held, like I did way back when I first played Gran Turismo 4. I lost weeks to that game, but when it comes to 6, I find it a struggle to lose hours.
This is where the complaints of the game being unfinished come in. Almost two months after release, the game still doesn’t have some of the features promised of it. There’s still no B-Spec mode, no course maker, no data logger, no 3D support and no online quick match functionality. The game is, as seems to be the case with a lot of games recently, unfinished. For a AAA title of this magnitude, it’s completely unacceptable.
B-Spec is probably the most obvious of omissions from the game. Its absence leaves a hole that Polyphony have tried to fill with over 1,000 cars, and failed. You simply have more cars to do less things with, it’s not exactly an optimal trade. I’d have happily done without the gimmicky bouncing around on the moon in favour of a B-Spec mode, but it’s not to be.
The game is, as seems to be the case with a lot of games recently, unfinished.
Some of the cuts are less obvious, but their impact is larger than I expected. The pit service feature has been changed from GT5, it no longer has The Entertainer merrily playing along while you wash your car. The garage employees won’t work on your car as you wait anymore. Instead you’re treated to a sterile soundtrack and a no-nonsense ‘work completed’ once the loading screen is done. Job done, get out. Shouldn’t you be driving that car instead of admiring it?
Its personality is something Gran Turismo 6 should have fought to keep. Rather, Polyphony have stripped it of the charm it previously had. They inherited the Sistine Chapel and painted the ceiling beige to appeal to a stronger buyers’ market, and it’s a shame.
Show me the money!A discussion on Gran Turismo 6 would be lacking if the dead horse that is microtransactions wasn’t flogged. Microtransactions are a sordid way to milk more cash out of a consumer in a fee-to-play game. It’s that simple. When a fee-to-pay game is shipped unfinished, microtransactions become abhorrent. It’s lucky that the microtransactions in GT6 aren’t required to progress, or else I’d fear for my thesaurus.
Let’s take the Ferrari 330 P4, one of the most expensive cars available, as an example here. The car in-game will cost you 20,000,000 credits. These credits can be earned through races, although it will obviously take a long time to amass such a fortune. One way around this would be to purchase credits in the in-game store. Now, the highest amount of credits you can buy at one time is 7,000,000, so we’ll need two of these packs. These cost £39.99 each. Next, we’ll need two of the 2,500,000 packs at £15.99 each. To finish off, 1,000,000 credits will cost you £7.99. Add these packs together, and in real world money, a Ferrari 330 P4 will set you back £119.95.
A £40 game that is unfinished would like to charge you £119.95 for an in-game car. If this car was a massive exception in a roster of affordable alternatives, that would have been fine, but I’ve stumbled across more than 5 cars that will set you back 20 million credits. It’s a filthy practise that’s so anti-consumer it hurts. ‘Here’s our unfinished game without some classic Gran Turismo features, don’t worry though, we made sure to get the microtransaction marketplace working before we shipped!’
A happier noteOn a happier note, the driving, as with every Gran Turismo, is exemplary in its execution. Weighty, responsive and exciting, nothing can ever be taken away from a Gran Turismo game when it comes to their driving controls and 6 is no exception. Cars look and feel exactly how you’d expect them to, as if you were really behind the wheel. A new physics engine has also been included to make what already felt like real-life feel even more realistic. Breaking perfectly into a corner and nailing the exit is still one of the most satisfying sensations you’ll get out of a video game.
But with great driving mechanics come poor AI issues. The AI, most of the time, fails to recognise you as a threat. If you’re jostling for position coming into a corner and you have an inside line, you can guarantee the AI will slam into the side of you in its own attempt to get back onto the racing line. The rigidity in which the AI sticks to the racing line is unbelievably frustrating and after being forced off the track for the 100th time, you’ll finally give up the illusion that you’re competing against racing drivers. Instead you’re racing automatons whose only objective is to never deviate from the racing line, forcing you wide almost every time just to avoid hitting them.
Collisions aren’t even that much of a deterrent though, because damage is only cosmetic. You could fly into a hairpin at 200mph, smash into the driver in front of you, turn your car around and carry on like you’d hit a polystyrene board. It’s immersion breaking in the extreme, damage isn’t anything to worry about so silly risks don’t really have any consequences. It’s something you hear constantly once a new Gran Turismo is announced, ‘will there be damage yet?’ Unfortunately, not right now.
Current gen horsepower
Something that raised a lot of eyebrows when it was confirmed was that GT6 would be a PS3 exclusive. GT7 will be on the PS4, but not for ‘a year or two’. Why Polyphony and Sony decided to release GT6 on the PS3 a week after the release of the PS4 is a mystery. That mystery however, feels suspiciously like another driving simulator released exclusively for the Xbox One in November. This would also explain the unfinished nature of the game, but this is all speculation, of course.
The age of the PS3’s hardware is staggeringly apparent when it comes to GT6. The game looks impressive despite using the PS3, but the loading times that come with that are torturous. The disparity in loading to game time is never more obvious than when completing the license missions. A 15 second test can take anywhere up to or beyond a minute to load. You’ll be doing this 5 times in a row per license and it very quickly starts to grind on you. Later, when races involve more and more cars, you’ll be consistently waiting over a minute to get into the action.
It’s akin to an aging celebrity, it looks good, but on the inside it’s saggy and unsteady.
The fact that a game this large and good-looking is even possible on the PS3 is a testament to the work Polyphony have put in. I can guarantee, however, that you won’t be thinking that while twiddling your thumbs waiting for this 2 lap race to load. As a PC gamer, the idea of a ‘last-gen’ doesn’t really exist to me. That said, this game feels old. It’s akin to an aging celebrity, it looks good, but on the inside it’s saggy and unsteady. Seeing racing games evolve recently really highlights just how much catching up GT has to do. The awfully named ‘Drivitar’ AI system in Forza 5 really showed how to make AI opponents feel real. The damage and physics in Next Car Game show what’s now capable with modern technology, and all from a game in alpha.
- Strong driving mechanics
- Graphically pretty
- Cars look and sound perfect
- Greedy Microtransactions
- Poor AI
- No clear step forward from 5
Gran Turismo 6 PS3 ReviewThere’s a degree of nostalgia in Gran Turismo 6. That and its solid driving mechanics are pretty much all it has going for it at the minute. It’s hard to see the promised updates being pumped out anytime soon, not with GT7 in production. It’s a game that’s lost its charisma and will have to make a few large strides to gain it back. A concrete game while you’re racing, but it has nothing in between to make you keep coming back. No B-Spec for those of you who enjoy a small degree of management simulation and no fun to be found anywhere but on the track.
It’s an odd complaint, that a racing game has too much racing, but only after playing it does it make sense. You’ll be waiting for loading screens a lot, you’ll be traversing the mammoth car dealerships trying to find the right car and you’ll be frustrated by races that often don’t challenge you. Unless you’re a huge fan of realistic racing simulators and you’re willing to look past its unfinished nature, anti-consumer microtransaction market and bland presentation, give GT6 a wide berth, because it will force you wide over and over again.
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