So while I deal with another "creative" crisis, I'm looking back at my first impressions of currently the latest iteration of the GT series. (If you're not counting Sport, and I'm definitely not counting it)
I was still actively playing GT5 when GT6 was released, so it's inevitable that I'll be comparing it to the "old" version.
It is also a sad occasion because they announced the shutdown of GT6 servers, so all online content will be gone by the end of March.
Which is a damn shame, as Sport can't hold the candle to any previous full GT version. But I'll talk about the shortcomings of that game when I'll review it. Currently I'm not even sure it is worth my time.
So what did GT6 add to this long standing series? Well not much. It took one step forward and two steps back.
The intro itself is nice and long, but boring as hell, so I won't be watching it ever again. A good intro you can watch each time you start a game, guess that makes this a bad intro, regardless of the artistic value.
The first thing that I already disliked that the game before doing anything before seeing any menus or settings, throws you into a car and orders you to drive.
Of course my programming doesn't allow that, so I immediately quit the game, which it nterpreted as if I completed the course. LOL.
Fortunately after this you get into the main menu, a menu that is very simple and plain compared to GT5, or any of the previous games for that matter. (and this is not a compliment)
The menus should radiate the Gran Turismo feeling, but these menus don't have any feeling to them. It's functional I give it that, but I liked the fancy menus much more.
The menu of a Gran Turismo game should be an art installation. A freaking monument to cars and racing. My favorite is still the map style menu from GT4.
For what it's worth there are things that are improved, like the pre-race loading screens, they made those fancy and good looking, so instead of staring at a blank screen you can see the start list and the track from a bird's eye view while loading.
But to my dismay the game still wouldn't let me go my own way. It forces you to go and buy one specific car, you can't even choose what you want for the money you have, it makes you buy a crappy Honda Fit, I hate that car.
I don't understand why can't I do what Gran Turismo is supposed to be about, that is making the most of your credits, and go racing for more credits. Thankfully after I bought that piece of garbage the game let's go of your hand.
So after a few novice races I bought a new car and sold this one even if it meant getting less than 25% of the money back for it. If I hate anything it is games that don't let you do what you want within the game's own rules at first.
Just let me stumble and fail, so actual success can feel something later. Instead of guiding me down the safest road like some incompetent fool.
Then I was forced to come to terms with the fact that used cars are no longer a part of the game. There is only one dealership where you can get every car, from oldest to newest.
And the standard and premium cars are mixed in together without clear signs of which one is which. (for those who don't know, standard cars have less detailed models, and have no interior view)
In GT5 you knew that anything you buy in new car dealerships will be a premium model, and what you get in used car dealership will be a standard model.
Yes yes, you can tell before buying the car that it is a standard model, it wasn't obvious at first, and if I remember correctly that was added later to the game in a patch.
Because when playing the game for the first time I managed to buy a standard car without knowing what I was doing. With the fact that you can only sell cars at a huge loss I had to force myself to race the standard car, actually in the heat of the race you can barely notice it.
I prefer the bonnet view to the internal anyway.I think the internal views are too dark, it seems as if I'm driving with a welding glass in front of my eyes.
But before racing my newly acquired car I wanted to tune it up the a bit, that's when I found out that they "streamlined" the tuning options as well. Without going into detail I can say that you have less options than in GT5, I thought a sequel should be an improvement over or at least as good in everything as the predecessor.
To keep the balance here is another aspect which got better There is a big improvement in the physics of the game. You have a much more direct feeling of the cars and tracks, you can almost feel the tyres rubbing against the tarmac, you get a great sense of traction and the limits of traction, and you can feel when you're driving on the limit.
Graphics wise there wasn't really much room for improvement, GT5 already pumps the maximum out of a PS3, so there are only little things here and there, like headlights seem to be better at night.
At first I thought they removed license tests from the game ( a trademark of the GT series where you do short driving tasks against the clock to unlock more advanced races). But no, they just changed it up. Now you first have to race to earn the right to do the licenses, it used to be the opposite.
Which actually makes sense, or it would've made sense. Let me explain. The license tests were damn hard in previous GT games, especially to get gold on all of them. (I'm proud to say that I did manage that in all previous games). So it makes sense to put them after the races that are not that hard, especially if you go with an overpowered car.
But here is the problem. They made the license tests easy, so now it makes no sense to be after the races, I used to piss blood trying to do all the license tests to gold level in previous games, now 8 out of 10 times I get gold on the first Try!. That is ludicrous. Even on a track I never driven before I don't even know the ideal racing line and I get a Gold on first try?
Most races are pretty easy anyway. In theory it should be balanced as the game ranks cars based on Performance Points, and you can't enter a race with a car that has more PP than the limit. The problem is that PP doesn't really work. I'm not sure what exactly it is based on, but sometimes there are huge differences between cars with similar PP.
The game seems to assume to much PP for underpowered but well balanced cars, and too little for overpowered poorly balanced cars. So in many races you can enter a car, that will wipe the floor with the competition.
I often deliberately entered races with lower performance cars to even the odds and have some fun racing, instead of overtaking everyone on the first lap, and have nothing to race against but my previous fastest lap for the rest of it.
There are actually a few hard races in the game, but I think that's not by design, more like a fluke. Some races you'll have an opponent with a car that stands out the pack so much it's ridiculous. Like the race Cobra on the classic muscle car race, or the "sucker" car on the 70s racing cars event.
Apart from normal racing modes the game also has additional challenges that are interesting and often fun, and actually offer a challenge.
- Graphics for PS3
- Physics improvements
- Still plenty of races to choose from and varied enough
- Some weird but fun fictional tracks
- Plenty of iconic real world tracks
- The choice of cars is still amazing
- Menu is functional rather than iconic
- Most races are too easy
- You get enough money after just a few races to never worry about racing for money ever again
- Many of the classic GT tracks are sadly absent
- With no used car dealerships, the whole idea of a career mode seems to serve more of a placeholder effect.
- Still many iconic cars are only represented as "Standard" models, which means they still have PS2 level of detail and no interior.
- Internal view is useless, because it's too damn dark.
- No, that's not how the clutch should work polyphony, have you ever driven an actual stick shift before?
I feel I have to expand this last one further: In this game you cannot slip the clutch.. I had to disable manual clutch in the game because it is so useless. It is as if they just bound a digital on off switch to the extremities of the clutch pedal.
So in order to shift in manual clutch mode, the clutch pedal has to be 100% depressed to the end of it's range, before you even touch the shifter. And it has to be back to its highest point to engage.
And if you miss a shift because you touched the H shifter just a ms faster than the pedal hit the floor, you are forced to lift off the clutch pedal completely and then depress it again completely to be able to get the car into any gear at all. Loosing about two decades in the process.
I've tried playing with a manual clutch, but the experience is awful, frustrating and completely pointless. In real cars you don't have to press the clutch all the way to the floor before you can start moving the stick. Hell if you know where the clutch disengages completely you don't have to fully depress it at all.
If you lift off the accelerator there is even a moment of zero load as the revs start to drop when you can get the transmission out of gear and with rev-matching get it into another gear.without as much as touching the clutch.
But here the clutch pedal is just a digital switch labelled: Allowed to change gear / not allowed to change gear
Overall impression: 7/10