Gran Turismo 6 box artIn the car world, there is a segment of the population that believes tried and true trumps what's novel or new most of the time. A car is a machine with a purpose – be it to deliver your kids to school or afford you the best lap time – and machines are better when they're less likely to fail. Or so the theory goes.

In the gaming world, that sentiment has almost never been true. Retro gamers, and "casual" gamers are changing this paradigm to a certain extent, but historically, newer has meant better when it comes to video games.

With the debut of Gran Turismo 5 in 2010, many believed that the most popular simulation-style racing game of all time had finally relinquished its title as the best, most advanced, mainstream sim racer. Even I, a dyed-in-the-wool GT fan, was forced to admit that Forza Motorsports 4 had caught up with the Polyphony Digital series in that generation.

Three years later, now in the midst of one of the single best Christmas-gift seasons for video games that I can recall, Gran Turismo 6 has arrived to re-light the fires of enthusiasts everywhere. It is, unquestionably, the deepest, most accurate and most entertaining iteration of the franchise to date. The question remains: is it good enough to keep loyalists from looking for kicks at the bleeding edge of technology, with a next-generation console?
Gran Turismo 6 Gran Turismo 6 Gran Turismo 6

Booting up Gran Turismo 6 is the gaming equivalent of grabbing your favorite old pair of jeans from the closet.

Booting up Gran Turismo 6 is the gaming equivalent of grabbing your favorite old pair of jeans from the closet: looks good, instantly comfortable and very few surprises await. From time immemorial (or 1998), it seems that I have been plunking down my first credits on some form of EK Honda Civic, dialing up the guys from the Sunday Cup, and beginning the business of creating another racing career.

Not ready to stray very far from the formula that has gotten it this far, GT6 kicks off with the same cocktail of gargantuan car and track selections with a true-to-life driving experience that we've all come to expect. There are, you'll quickly learn, more vehicles on offer (over 1,200) than any but the serially obsessed driver could ever hope to acquire and drive.

The track count has also jumped to include some 100 layouts at 37 locations, including 7 all new venues. I was absolutely stoked to see the inclusion of Willow Springs on the list of the new for GT6 – Big Willow is currently my favorite street course – and spots like Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Bathurst and the hillclimb at Goodwood are all brilliant inclusions as well. Oh, you can also drive on the frickin' moon, though I wouldn't recommend it more than once – the lunar rover has terrible tires.

Gran Turismo 6 lunar rover

No other title feeds abject car mania quite so well.

But seriously, the sheer variety of gameplay is instantly GT6's biggest asset. I have heard and respect the opinions of those who complain that a car list bumped up by the inclusion of minor model derivatives (I count 56 flavors of Nissan Skyline/GT-R) is somewhat disingenuous, but I disagree with them. Being spoiled for choice with races and racecars is something that I really love about this game, as I do finding just the perfect vehicle with which to attack a particular series. No other title feeds abject car mania quite so well.

A lot of the thousands of cars are accessible via good old-fashioned, hard racing work, too. Though the economy of GT6 can be pricey. While certain race wins and milestones achieved will still net you a free whip, fewer prize cars are available than in earlier versions of the game. That simply means bootstrapping funds from the sale of vehicles you've won is a slower process, and some of those multi-million-credit racecars and classic Ferraris will prove harder to attain.

As before, you can also purchase credits with real, actual American Dollars (insert your local currency here); they run $9.99 per million, or slightly cheaper if you buy in bulk. Still, the buying of credits to score a 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 would run you roughly $150 with some credits leftover. Long story short: I do not expect micro-transactions to be a big part of this game. Get to work.

Gran Turismo 6Gran Turismo 6
Gran Turismo 6Gran Turismo 6

Actually doing the work of racing and winning is more satisfying and believable than with any Gran Turismo title past, thanks to a refined physics model being applied. As ever, slower, lower-powered cars allow one to work up a good understanding of the new way that rubber meets road, and first dabblings with monster power machines often lead to gloriously smoking crashes before you get the touch down. I've got a '70 Dodge Challenger R/T with almost 800 horsepower that I've nicknamed "Backwards" for the direction I often end up facing in it.

I've got a '70 Dodge Challenger R/T with almost 800 horsepower that I've nicknamed "Backwards"

Of course, believable physics may dictate how much snap-oversteer I experience at the wheel of my mighty Dodge, but the repercussions of nosing it into a wall are still purely cosmetic. Damage is not 'mechanical' at all, and a scuffed car will cross the finish line just as quickly as a pristine one. I don't have a serious problem with the lack of damage as an option in the game, but its inclusion would have been a boon for those who crave something closer to iRacing levels of reality. Considering GT went to all the trouble of making a lovely new weather and astronomical simulation system, the exclusion of damage seems a bit illogical. What to fear from the rain if you can't wreck your car? Call it a missed opportunity.

Graphically, I'm pleased to report that all of the vehicles in Gran Turismo 6 have now been optimized for Playstation 3 (something that GT5 sadly could not say), and that the new tracks look pretty wonderful compared to the last effort. Still, this is one area where the more advanced technology clearly wins out; compare GT6 to Forza Motorsport 5 and the generation gap becomes blindingly clear. Even in it's own PS3 universe, GT6 doesn't seem like a full step beyond its precursor, but rather a slightly prettier version of the same basic game.

Gran Turismo 6
Gran Turismo 6Gran Turismo 6

There's a ton of meat on the bone in this version of Gran Turismo.

Because of the robust and varied gameplay, I can overlook GT6's graphical deficiencies without much trouble, but the issue with the vehicle audio is still galling to me. Back in the halcyon days of GT2 and GT3, before I knew better, I considered the reproduced engine and exhaust sounds to be fairly acceptable. Unfortunately, for all of the obsession over the driving model, the folks at Polyphony still can't seem to make an audio track that sounds anything like what we hear in the real world. Completely recreating digital and audio models for each car is no doubt laborious – and something that capped out the Forza 5 team at around 250 cars for now – but the whispered tones of an engine at full boil do nothing to suspend my disbelief.

When it comes right down to it, is the less-than-cutting-edge Real Driving Simulator worth the $60 asking price? Or is it better to wait out most of 2014 (best case scenario) for a Playstation 4-based Gran Turismo 7? Or is it best to grab the keys to a new Xbox One and Forza, and say the hell with GT altogether?

The answers to all those questions depend largely on your own predispositions and prejudices of course. But I think there's a ton of meat on the bone in this version of Gran Turismo, more than enough to see me through to the inevitable purchase of the next in the series.

BMW M4 Debuts In Gran Turismo 6


Polyphony has been very smart so far in both its rollout of this game, and it's promise of consistently fresh content to come. The get of the Acura NSX Concept was a great one for the title. And Yesterday's near simultaneous debut of the 2015 BMW M4 coupe in real life and in GT6 was a meta moment of joy for car geeks like me (see the video above). Even for a guy who reviews BMWs for a living, reading the first official press release on a hot new model, and then driving it virtually on the same day was a total kick. The Gran Turismo crew is going to keep up a steady pace of surprise and delight by the looks of things, too, as the Vision GT project seems to have 26 more wild cars ready to follow the mighty Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision GT.

We'll table the rivalry until we see a PS4 GT.

Now that part of my daily bread is earned by reviewing driving video games, I feel compelled to reiterate the (rather obvious) sentiment that Gran Turismo 6, though very good, is not the best console driver in the world today. That title belongs to Forza 5, no matter how many cars, tracks and special events GT ultimately brings to the party. We'll table the rivalry until we see a PS4 GT.

Maybe I'm too much the guy who wants to have a low-tech classic car as a daily driver, but, lower tech be damned, I feel like I can still count on a big wallop of gaming fun packed in the GT6 case. Even spoiled for having both of the newest driving game titles under my roof at the same time, I know that Gran Turismo will be spinning in my Playstation with great regularity over the next weeks and months. Loyalists will follow me there, and true car nerds should think twice before passing on the embarrassment of variety herein, 56 GT-Rs or no.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      davebo357
      • 1 Year Ago
      They made some questionable UI decisions as always but for the most part I'm loving GT6. I love that they keep adding tracks and cars without yanking away the old ones, and I'm definitely glad they upgraded the exteriors of a lot of those old standard models from gt4.
      Gator
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love physics, but they need to make the sounds better. ****, you don't need to get sounds for all thousand cars since so many are the same car. But make them sound like real cars and not some generic buzz. This game will never be 100% unless the sounds are real and scream loud through your speakers.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gator
        they said they are working on it. i noticed some newly added cars sound quite great. i hope they can pull this off..this is really the only real drawback the game has imho.
      Steven
      • 1 Year Ago
      GT 6? Great game. FM 5? Great game. Play one, play the other, or play both. Or not. I don't care. Sick of the constant crap surrounding which one is better.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Steven
        both are great games even though GT6s physics are superior imho. Only problem people have with Forza 5 is how they make you pay full price for half a game.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can use my same steering wheel I've used before. Not true with Forza. Sony is hinting at a PS4 version of GT6. I think I'll wait for that. Kudos for the 190E-16 Evo II. I drive that car in every game I can. It's in Forza 5 also. Forza cut half the cars, but they know which ones are the right ones to keep! I do agree the engine notes don't sound real on GT. Neither do the tire squeals. But they do give you the info you need, you can gauge the engine speed from the engine notes, you can tell how close you are to the edge of the grip circle from the tire noises. So they come out as useful but uninvolving. Given the crap with the computer AI trying to wipe you out in Forza 5, Forza 4 may be the best console driving game in the world right now. It's got more tracks too.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Other than the UI the only thing I find fault with is how easy it is to win many races with lower PP cars. It shouldn't be so easy to get the 'David and Goliath' trophy.
      cornelius107
      • 1 Year Ago
      Did they fix the steering filter in 6? I have GT5 and the recommended wheel. Even with all the assistance turned off, the game engine reduces steering input angle, and angle change velocity as your speed increases. I cant take Gran Turismo seriously until this is fixed. Even GRID would allow steering assistance to be completely disabled. Its a "racing simulator" that steers for you.
        onewayroll
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cornelius107
        I have a G27 and never had that problem in GT5.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cornelius107
        No such problem with my G25 in GT5. I had steering set to "professional".
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      If mechanical damage should occur... Shouldn't you also die and get permanent game over at some point as well? I've flipped more than a few times. The driving mechanics are great. Cars that are fickle in real life are also fickle in-game as well. R8s will wiggle like fish out of water for sure. Tuning makes a bigger difference more than ever. I found myself improving track times dramatically with some fine tuning. Super license races are actually rewardingly difficult. My only complaint is reward money is low in proportion to race times, making grinding for money a difficult process. Otherwise it's a great game for the seasoned video game racer.
      FirebirdFormula
      • 1 Year Ago
      Forza 5 is better? I have both and heck no it's not! Content IS a factor and how the cut the game to less than half of Forza 4 is unforgivable. Graphics don't matter, compare them to F4 if you must. It's a joke to F5 that a PS3 game is even being compared to an X1 game. Not to mention the physics are just better in GT6. F5 has good physics but for a next gen system it should be better. GT6 simulates everything with new tire, suspension, aero physics and even takes into account atmospheric pressure, temp, and all things that effect racing conditions. The fact that F5 STILL does not have dynamic weather or time is laughable. GT1 even had night driving, why doesn't Forza? GT6's future looks way brighter with big updates coming such as a hugely improved track editor, sound update, b-spec, and more. Forza dropped the ball with 5 and it's really sad when a next gen game can't beat a previous gen game.
        Alexander Stewart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FirebirdFormula
        I wish I could up vote twice. I already played GT6 more than Forza 5. Way better and the physics make the game even more enjoyable. This is a great back burner for the future GT7.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FirebirdFormula
        It is crazy there is no special conditions (night, rain, snow, dirt, etc.) driving in Forza.
      Steve K
      • 1 Year Ago
      It really depends on if you are looking for a fun game, or accurate physics. As a former driver instructor at a very famous driving school located at the famous Laguna Seca raceway, I can honestly say GT6, when played with a wheel, will make you a better real world driver on track. No, it's not exact, but the thought process will be the same and the physics are, BY FAR, the best of any console driving sim/game. For some people, that's boring. For me, if the physics aren't good, nothing else matters anyway. I can't stand playing Forza 5 for more than a few minutes at a time, but as a track day junkie I can spend hours lapping a car on GT6. To each their own. Forza is a gorgeous looking game and, just like a pretty girl, that is all some people really want. All I can say is I'm glad both exist and pick whichever one you like.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Steve K
        I believe you are right. It definately competes with the best sims on PC for physics. The tyre model is amazingly realistic imho.
      Armon
      • 1 Year Ago
      My biggest complaint with GT series isn't the actual driving part of the gameplay - it's everything else. The elevator music, the slow load times, the clunky interface, the small number of races that are way too limiting (only Japanese cars before 1984 in THIS race, featuring the same two tracks you were just forced into racing), the over representation of Japanese cars, shitty prize cars, everything way too expensive, etc. Until all of this crap is fixed, it doesn't really matter how pretty the graphics are or how real the audio is, in my opinion.
        Petrol
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Armon
        Elevator music? You mean proper, professional and intelligent music? I do NOT want your crap rock, edm bs man.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Armon
        Did you play the game or do mean GT5? The music is a matter of taste...I love it...it is very gamey. The loading times and the menu is VASTLY improved.
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Armon
        You can use your own music stored on your PlayStation 3 HDD if you dislike the in game music. I agree a lot of the music in Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6 is bad techno and rock music. It's nice to use a custom soundtrack for this game.
      ELG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cant believe they wasted the time to put in Williow. Im sure its a fine local track for track days and club racing, but when they leave out the best pro level tracks in the country like Mid Ohio, Watkins Glen, Sonoma (which was in GT4), Road America, Road Atlanta, and VIR, it doesnt make any sense. (its also not all that fun to drive)
        XT6Wagon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ELG
        Willow is pretty huge in that its been used by many different major car magazines, TV, etc. Most importantly, Its where Best Motoring came to play with american tuner cars, which might just have a pretty big impact on what a Japanese game company does.
      mawhalen53
      • 1 Year Ago
      So why wasn't this on PS4?
        onewayroll
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mawhalen53
        If you look back...Each Playstation had 2 Gran Turismo titles. This is no different.
        davebo357
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mawhalen53
        Because PS4 just launched while PS3 has an install base of like 77 million units. Not enough people have PS4's yet to make this profitable. The thinking is that it shouldn't take them too long to port their work over to the new platform, so it shouldn't be 5 years before GT7 like there was between 4 and 5.
          Lachmund
          • 1 Year Ago
          @davebo357
          Sony likes to support their platforms until the end and even longer. I applaud them for doing that. Do you have any idea how much time is needed to produce such a vast game on a new console. I prefer they take their time until they release GT7 on PS4 which is exactly what they do.
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