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Gran Turismo 6 is an absolute must for automobile fanatics

December 21, 2013 11:45 IST

Gran Turismo 6 is an absolute must for automobile fanatics

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Murali Venukumar

Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself staring at the replays as much as playing the game, writes Murali venukumar

Platforms: PlayStation 3

Price:  Rs 3,499

Developer: Polyphony Digital

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment          

Distributor: Milestone Interactive Pvt. Ltd.

Genre: Driving/Simulation

Age Rating: 3+

Gran Turismo 6 isn’t the PS3’s swansong. Not with Persona 5 and a lengthy line-up of multiplatform titles on the way at least. Instead, GT6 is just another exceedingly good game in the franchise and on a console that has seen many.

It’s also a worthy successor to GT5, with a laundry list of improvements that will make you want to permanently shelve the previous game in the series. While the 1200 car roster may be mind-boggling in itself, what’s certain to excite auto-nuts are the new tracks on offer. Tracks are the key to a driving games’ longevity, so the 37 locations and 100+ ribbons available in the game are sure to last a while.

Newcomers on the excellently curated list include Willow Springs, Bathurst and Silverstone among others. The tracks, in combination with the improved time of day and weather effects, and the gorgeous new skybox that includes accurate star maps based on your position, make the game a visual treat.

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Photographs: Polyphony Digital/SCEE

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While there have been a couple of downgrades (the shadows aren’t as crisp as they were in GT5), the new lighting model really sells you on the experience, making you feel like you’re in the time and place. The vehicle handling also feels much improved, showing that Polyphony Digital’s collaborations with Yokohama tyres and KW Automotive, and their new aerodynamics simulation system, does actually work beyond being a cool back-of-box highlight.

You feel the car and tyres much better now, even with a normal controller, and you’ll be able to judge grip and braking much more accurately as a result. The replays (as always running at a higher resolution) show off the games’ vehicular love-in beautifully. Visuals aside, it’s a joy to see the game’s behind-the-scenes simulation at work. Cars judder, roll and sway depending on track surface and how they’re set up, and it’s to the game and the developers’ credit that you’re able to experience the physics both from a drivers and a broadcast perspective.

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Photographs: Polyphony Digital/SCEE

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Gran Turismo 6 is an absolute must for automobile fanatics

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Improvements abound in the user interface as well. It feels faster, snappier and is organised more intuitively than GT5’s menu system. You’ll also get into and out of races faster, although adding a ‘next race’ button so you didn’t have to back all the way out and click into the next event in a championship each time would have been brilliant. Car customisation and tuning makes a return, along with basic driver customisation. There are also a number of driver outfits available for purchase, including Ayrton Senna’s following a partnership with the Ayrton Senna Institute.

Unfortunately, the retail game comes without the course creator and b-spec modes from GT5 and the new GPS visualiser and data logger modes. Polyphony has promised that they will be patching these in with future updates along with a steady stream of DLC content. That said, the single player is more streamlined than before with a star based progression system that takes a few cues from mobile free-to-play games.

It mixes the game’s city, circuit and dirt/snow tracks with mission based challenges and coffee break diversions -- which incidentally are hard enough that they shouldn’t ever be qualify as breaks of any kind. The number of special events in the game has been pruned with WRC and Top Gear missing from last time, but what’s here is interesting nonetheless. Polyphony’s generosity with post-release content should mean that more show up in the coming months. Also, what other driving simulation lets you drive a lunar rover on the moon. 

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Photographs: Polyphony Digital/SCEE

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You’ll progress through events a lot easier thanks to being able to rack up stars for more than just a first place finish. This is great for folks who don’t want to grind through the game’s lengthy career mode and instead want to enjoy the driving. While the presentation is generally top flight, it’s disheartening to not see an upgrade in engine sound effects. Although the carefully curated soundtrack lessens the blow, you’ll soon yearn for better sound effects all around. Damage could have been improved as well, and while Polyphony has drastically improved the quality of some of the standard cars, there are still a few with models that look like they were imported straight from a PS2 disc.

What can’t be faulted though is the sheer wealth of content and a driving experience to match. Gran Turismo 6 is an absolute must for any automobile fanatic while also being accessible enough to find a place on every PS3 owner’s shelf. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself staring at the replays as much as playing the game.

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Photographs: Polyphony Digital/SCEE

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