Gran Turismo 5 released over three years ago and received outstanding review scores, including Anthony’s perfect 10 and a PSLS Editor’s Choice Award. Developer Polyphony Digital went above and beyond almost everyone’s expectations and released a racing simulator that has yet to be surpassed. Gran Turismo 6 looks to build upon that success with plenty of spit and polish while expanding the GT Universe.
The first thing you’ll notice when you pop in the disc (for those of you not going digital) is that there is no option to install a big chunk of data to the PS3’s internal storage. GT6 uses a new feature that will transfer data for tracks the first time you load one up. This means that load times, while slow for the initial running of a track, are quicker in the long run without the serious taxation on your PS3’s hard drive. I’ve been playing for a few days and the install data size is only 1.4 GB so far. Seeing that I’ve reached the International B events, and have raced quite a few different tracks already, that’s not much data stored by the game. A quick peak at the Game Data from the XMB shows 5 GB, but that also includes the day 1 patch that weighs in at 1.2 GB.
The install feature can be turned off and you can delete the internal data without removing any game updates whenever you need some additional hard drive space. Personally, I’d prefer to install the game data once and be done with it, but that’s just my personal preference. This new feature does seem to lower the amount of space needed by the game, but I won’t know exactly how much is needed until I have reached the pinnacle of my GT career, and that could take some time.
When you first launch the game, you’ll be tossed right into the fray and given a 2011 Renault Sport Clio R.S. as a loaner car to take for a spin on one of Britain’s famed tracks, Brands Hatch. This is a basic tutorial to show you how driving lines work and gives the basic handling instructions. GT Veterans will recognize everything as far as controls and handling goes. GT6 stays true to its roots by sticking to the same default control scheme that has been used for years. Once you’ve finished the tutorial, you’ll be able to customize the controls to fit your own style, but the default has always been great for me.
Once you make it to the menu you’ll find that this system has been completely revamped from GT5 with a much slicker and easier to navigate interface. You’ll be forced to buy a 2010 Honda Fit R.S., but with a few upgrades bought at the Tuning Shop the car becomes a decent racer. It’s a pretty good way to introduce you to how the overall system works and how the upgrades can give you a winning edge when faced with a comparable opponent. Just be sure to watch the Power Points (PP) for your current car as certain races have PP levels that you can’t exceed. PP is how each car is rated and is determined by things such as horsepower, weight, length, etc. Don’t get confused, though, as two cars with the same PP may not be equal.
Your garage area is now separated into two different areas so you can keep cars you’ll rarely use in the Stockyard while your favorite machines will be kept in the main garage. With somewhere around 1200 cars, plus more to come with DLC, keeping all of these machines organized can be a pain in the rear bumper. Throwing all of the cars you’ll never use out in the Stockyard will take them out of the main selection area making it easier for you to sift through cars you actually want to race with. Just because you went green and got a Prius doesn’t mean you want it available for racing in Rome or La Mans. Park it in the Stockyard and you’ll no longer see it on your list of available cars in your garage.
New for the garage in GT6 is something I can only call a loadout selection for each car. You have three separate selections for each car, designated A, B or C, with custom labels available that you can use to have identify three separate set-ups for each car. You can fully upgrade a car and have all of the upgrades installed and call this loadout MAX PP, and then switch to the B or C tab and uninstall a few of them attempting to reach a specifically targeted PP and name this tab that specific number. Switching between loadouts is as simple as pressing the Start button, selecting the Car Settings menu, and picking a tab that best suits the current race you want to enter. You can also quickly switch between cars from the start menu as well.
In addition to all of the main races you’ll compete in, there are side missions that become unlocked once you’ve earned enough stars in that class. These include the always fun One Make races, where all cars are equal and it’s the skills that win the day, and a very fun cone challenge. The cone challenge will have you knocking down as many cones as possible in a set amount of time. The Coffee Break challenges are a great way to take a break from your hardcore career mode and rest easy for a bit.
All of these new little bells and whistles are great, but what really matters is the actual racing content. GT6 hasn’t been improved as far as graphics from GT5, but that would be like trying to polish an already polished diamond. Polyphony Digital did add in some new tracks, and they now have 100 or so with a track designer in the works that will be released at a later date. One of the new tracks included is Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. The views from the higher points of this track can be distracting, as I did slam a wall or two when trying to get a closer look. The graphics for the game are as close to next gen as you can get, without actually playing on a next gen console.
Premium cars all have a very detailed and true to life cockpit view that is beyond impressive. These are truly as much a work of art as the cars themselves are. The list of available premium cars grew with leaps and bounds from GT5, so be sure to check out all of the different cockpit views from your favorite cars. You’ll be glad you did as the amount of detail that went into these views is astounding.
One of the new courses for GT6 is out of this world. Literally. As you continue through your GT career you’ll eventually unlock the Lunar Exploration missions. Unlike Apollo 15, you can forgo the actual 236,000 mile trip to the moon as the Lunar Rover is already there waiting for you.
There are three separate missions that follow the same path that our astronauts took back in 1971. Word to the wise, though, gravity is almost non-existent, small rocks can launch you upward when hit, and jumps will send you flying through the air in super slow motion. Remember how that WRX handled on the dirt of Toscana? This is nothing like that. Patience and braking will be key to getting to the finish line and earning that gold trophy. One tip that you may find handy: braking just as you reach the top of a hill will keep you from launching skyward and save you a considerable amount of time.
Another new addition, that you’ll eventually unlock and get an invitation to during your GT career, is the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It is commonly abbreviated as FoS and referred within the United Kingdom as simply the Festival of Speed, it is an annual hill climb featuring historic racing vehicles that is held on the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, England. These events will have you driving classic and/or iconic cars up this classic hill climbing track and will test your skills on your way to (hopefully) to that wonderful gold trophy and a pocket full of credits.
Credits are the in-game currency that you’ll need to purchase and upgrade your cars. Early on these credits can be hard to come by and you may have to grind out a few races to get that car ready for the next step up in competition. Once you make it to the International B level, races earn you considerably more for a first place and will start to add up in a hurry. While I do enjoy driving my Focus ST ’13, I’d much rather drive a sportier Mustang Boss 302 ’13, but when your funds are low, what can you do? You will be able to turn real cash into in-game credits through the PlayStation Store, but really you can just play the game and earn plenty enough to complete your GT career without forking over any more cash.
Expanding on the previous partnerships between Polyphony Digital and automakers comes Vision Gran Turismo. Over 20 of the world leading companies in the automotive industry have designed, or are in the process of designing, special cars for Gran Turismo 6, celebrating its 15th anniversary. Over the course of approximately 1 year, cars from each company will be provided one by one in the game, with the first car ready and waiting for you to come and get it, in-game, as soon as you make it to the main menu.
Gran Turismo has been around for a long time and has always been one of the best racing simulators on the market. The series has a storied history with a vast fan base that has been rewarded time and again with great games that bring hours upon hours of true-to-life racing. Gran Turismo 6 adds to that history and brings with it many more hours of joyful racing and hearty competition, and is truly out of this world. While Gran Turismo 6 isn’t as groundbreaking as it’s predecessor on the PS3, it’s still a worthy addition to any GT fans’ library.