In every iteration of the Sony’s PlayStation, there will be two editions of Gran Turismo video game emergences. The first generation PlayStation has Gran Turismo 1 & 2, followed by the other 2 sequels in PlayStation 2. On the outgoing PlayStation 3, Gran Turismo 5 was subject to the enormous hype due that many gamers and petrol heads anticipated what game developers, Polyphony Digital could do. Gran Turismo 5 came in 2010, and it was best described as an overdone game that somehow inferior to some rival racing games. Although we applaud the tremendous details on some of the cars, the exclusion of proper physics and other issues has made Gran Turismo 5 a less enjoyable game.
With the game series reaches its 15th anniversary and with the launch of the PlayStation 4, Polyphony decides to stick to the tradition where the even numbered installments are set to be a swan song for the current or outgoing PlayStation console. With that Gran Turismo 6 (GT6) was launched in December. After a few weeks of playing GT6, I’m glad to note that the sixth installment of “The Real Simulator” has delivered, and it is a proper send off for the PlayStation 3.
Polyphony took the criticism and lessons learnt from the last installment and corrected it in GT6. For starters, the hideous and the complicated menu interface from the previous installment has been simplified. Besides, the tedious experience points system has been replaced with a much simplified stars system where the player needs to score stars in order to progress in the career mode. Players were also able to purchase every of the 1,200 cars available in the inventory, eliminating the less friendly used car dealer system found in GT5. However sometimes less is more as some of the cars are a minor variation of a particular models, a problem that hits GT5 that was sadly carried over to GT6. In that case expect to see the similar ten or more variants Skyline GT-R R34 or Mazda Miata MX5 in the game. Just as the previous GT series, Porsche still omits from giving their cars to Polyphony.
The biggest improvement however goes on the technical aspects, where instead of pushing the PlayStation 3 hardware further, Polyphony seems to make refinements to the game engine, making loading times much faster. The graphics were top-notch as before, but the shining star of GT6 is perhaps the much improved physics engine. Thanks to the involvement of suspension manufacturers, K&W and tyre manufacturers, Yokohama, the car handling is as good as a real one. The tyres will go overheat when pushed too much, resulting in losing control of the car. One thing I noticed is pushing hard a mid-engine rear wheel drive car will end with sinister results, something I didn’t experience in GT5. Now I know understand why mid-engine cars are not for everyone.
The driving experience is simply sublime, and you don’t need to have a proper steering system to enjoy the game as Polyphony has made the game enjoyable even for those playing with the PlayStation DS3 controllers.The sound of the car engines, a weakness of the series, remain underwhelmed, but players should able to overlook this over the incredible graphics and driving experience. The driving experience in GT6 is no longer juxtaposed with real driving experience.
As usual a few new tracks were added, including Australia’s toughest road circuit ever, Mount Panoma, aka Bahrust. But one notable new feature is the inclusion of a mini game where players can drive the Lunar Roving Vehicle, defying zero gravity to steer the moon lunar car on the surfaces of the moon. This could be possibly the only game that offers a Lunar Rovin Vehicle simulator ever.
Gamers may argue the latest Forza 5 in Xbox One may outperform GT6 but Polypony has hinted the next GT installment for the PlayStation 4 should surface in two years time. I can’t judge that as I don’t own a XboxOne yet, but having felt slightly underwhelmed with GT5, I glad to note Polyphony got their things right in GT6 and it is indeed a great send off to the outgoing PlayStation 3 console.
[Image credits: GranTurismo.com]