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First Impressions: Taking Gran Turismo 6 for a Test Drive on PS3

Posted by Gaz Plant

Round the bend

With the next generation of consoles looming, Gran Turismo 6 feels like a title out of time for many. Launching after the PlayStation 4 hits stores worldwide, the PlayStation 3 racer will attempt to go head-to-head with Forza 5 on the Xbox One. It’s a bold move from Sony to forgo its futuristic console, as it would have been a must-have title at launch, but it’s a release that actually makes a lot of sense following Gran Turismo 5.

The aforementioned racer was undoubtedly a bit of a mixed bag; while it was a technical achievement, the lack of a sensible progression structure was ultimately its undoing. Coupled with a handful of decidedly old-school aspects – a lack of damage and barren environments – it culminated in a fantastic driving simulation, that felt a bit soulless.

Fortunately, its successor is trying to change that. Menus are now presented in a pleasing grid format, which makes everything from hopping into a race to selecting a track a breeze. Want to scan through the circuits? Now you can with eight displayed on the screen, and likewise for the cars. It makes the whole process of actually getting onto the track so much easier, and with reduced loading times – presumably with another hefty install to boot – the whole experience feels like it's been streamlined.

The tracks themselves also feel livelier than ever, with little touches giving the circuits a life outside of the barriers. The addition of small crowds makes a huge difference to the sense of race day excitement, and even though they’ll play the same stilted animations every time that you play, it feels like more of an active environment. These little graphical tweaks encompass all aspects of the game, with the locations looking better than ever: the Alps track in particular is stunning, and rivals the beauty of Codemasters’ delightful GRID 2.

But of course, all of this pales in comparison to the on-track action, and once again, this is a case of iteration rather than rewriting the rulebook. Perennial problems such as the lack of a believable damage model, basic artificial intelligence, and a focus on the technical rather than the spectacle remain. But Gran Turismo has never been about the race: it has always been a franchise borne out of wanting to perfect the mechanical side of racing, and yet again, time trial mode is where the game excels.

Tweaks to the handling model add a much weightier feel to the cars, and particularly when braking, vehicles now behave far more realistically. Take the new KTM X-bow for a spin, for example, and you’ll find it twitching when braking, whereas a Ferrari supercar will feel much more planted and allow you to really power out of the corners.

It’s hard to say what exactly has been tweaked to make it feel better, but whatever it is, cars are more predictable than ever, but not in a boring way. Whereas in prior games you could spin out for seemingly no reason at all, the weightier feel of the vehicles allows you to really feed the throttle in and get a predictable response out of a corner – if you spin, you’ll know why, and when you get it right, it feels great.

Along with the technical changes, the sequel includes all of the vehicles from Gran Turismo 5, and adds to them, creating a garage of around 1,200 rides to take around a variety of tracks. New additions such as Silverstone and Bathurst are welcome inclusions to the release, while the aforementioned Alps track showcases the spectacular beauty that Polyphony Digital are capable of pulling out of the PS3.

Gran Turismo 6, then, is shaping up to be the game that its predecessor should have been at the turn of the decade. On the surface, it appears to be the very definition of an iterative title, as it appears to take what works and improve upon the rest. Look under the bonnet, though, and you'll find much more subtle tweaks. It's never going to give you the thrills of a Need for Speed, but the sequel appears to be recapturing what the series has long been missing: soul and passion over numbers and spark plugs. That's the most fitting celebration of the franchise's 15th anniversary that we could imagine.


Are you planning to pick up Gran Turismo 6? Are you comfortable with the sequel releasing on the PS3, or do you think that it should be a PS4 title? Sound your horns in the comments section below.

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User Comments (12)

get2sammybAdmin

#1

get2sammyb said:

I'm still not sure whether I'm going to get this. Even though I'm terrible at them, I still really enjoy GT games, and this sounds like it's another top-notch entry. However, both DriveClub and Need for Speed: Rivals will be out by the time this comes out — different games, I know — and they are both on PS4. Hmmm.

BornOfEvil

#2

BornOfEvil said:

I'm sorry GT6, you look great and all but I have to leave you waiting at GameStop for a while. DriveClub rekindled my long lost love for racing games and because of that I've decided that it'll be my first racing game.

Matt_Berial

#3

Matt_Berial said:

I wish GT6 was coming to the PS4, I would like to see it shine in all of it's glory but it's too late now though. :/ When I get my PS4, and have everything set up, i think i might pick up GT6 for PS3.

8vpiper

#4

8vpiper said:

I still reckon this should have launched last year December to max out profitability and give drive club some breathing room. On the fence about getting it.

Scollurio

#5

Scollurio said:

Project Cars - to be done in 2014 will mostly likely outshine all "realistic" racing games. Cannot wait. I always loved the simulation games, I also enjoyed past GT entries and been a Forza player a long time, but being in the Project Cars crowdfunded Alpha for over a year now, I can only tell you that Project Cars will kill every other "racing simulation" out there. Maybe not in number of cars but in everything else (68 cars on track at once anyone? Full career starting with carting? Open Wheelers, Rallye, Formula, Historic, V8 Supercars, ... its all there, Teamracing? Pit Stops? Huge user generated tournaments... all going to be in Project Cars! And it's now really smooth already considering its in Alpha. Sorry, didn't want to steal some GT light, just put some information here for people interested in the more serious approach to virtual racing!

8vpiper

#7

8vpiper said:

@Scollurio Sounds good! 1st corner should be chaos lol but as my pc will not run it decently will have to skip, cant wait to go and map my local race track with the GT6 app. Little things like this is why in the console world GT cant be touched! (Yes that includes Forza)

Scollurio

#8

Scollurio said:

Project Cars is coming to every platform under the sun, even rumored (on the forums) handhelds. Confirmed is PC, Wii U, PS3, XBOX360, XBOX One and PS4 announcements coming 2014! No worries people!

Ginkgo

#9

Ginkgo said:

I expect to get this (but it is not a certainty). What swings it in my favour is the addition of Mt Panarama at Bathurst. I can't wait to drive that track.

I am a lover of racing sims, over things like NFS (though I don't mind them).
I am still undecided what I think of DriveClub. It does look pretty.

NathanUC

#10

NathanUC said:

In terms of racing sims, I'm fairly sure this will be top dog on any console for a while. My only real problem is I've played the hell out of GT5 but almost all of that play time was spent alone because none of my friends appreciate a realistic racing game. Not to mention it's already difficult to buy PS3 games when I'll having a PS4 in almost a month!

With DriveClub coming out on the other hand, I have a feeling it will appeal to more of my friends and allow me a better driving experience because of this. It won't be as realistic, but it seems to be firing on all cylinders.

baconcow

#11

baconcow said:

I hate it when all the game screenshots on websites are just highly stylized and likely photoshopped ones. Show some in-game screens, already.

charlesnarles

#12

charlesnarles said:

DAY ONE :D
First of all, I've crashed many-a-vehicle in GT5 and you definitely take damage and it even affects your car's performance till you fix it. Not crashing means not shelling out tens of thousands of dollars on frame-rigidity repairs. I've even totalled a few cars and lost them forever. Second of all, there's a little g-meter on the HUD which you can use (as back-up) to not overcompensate. The licence tests really trains you to understand how any car will act... I'm glad to hear they're going back to the super-technical aspects, not just "a better manifold." Best series ever.

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