Search­ing for Gran Turismo

The lat­est en­try stays true to the legacy of the fran­chise even though it’s in need of an up­date.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By Matthew Kato

Anum­ber of cur­rent sta­ples in the rac­ing genre are fea­tures that Gran Turismo ei­ther pi­o­neered or re­fined. As car and man­u­fac­turer li­censes pro­lif­er­ated, sim-rac­ing be­came an aim, and at­ten­tion to de­tail in­creased, the se­ries be­came scenery for the PlayS­ta­tion brand and the poster child for the monotony of it­er­a­tion.

Gran Turismo 6 is the epit­ome of this se­ries at its most base; it lacks any sub­stan­tive new fea­tures, yet is more com­mit­ted than ever to its orig­i­nal vi­sion.

Sim­i­lar to Gran Turismo 5, pro­gres­sion in the ca­reer mode is not hard to come by. Gone are the days of hav­ing to re-race early events just to progress. new races are rated by a star sys­tem, but it’s not long un­til you’ve earned enough of them to open a side event like bounc­ing in a nASA buggy on the moon or rent­ing a hot car for a spe­cial time trial.

As rel­a­tively open as the game is, I still don’t like hav­ing to hedge my bets and buy a car that al­lows me to en­ter the most races pos­si­ble to max­imise my pur­chase.

Forza 4 (not the new Forza, iron­i­cally) was cool be­cause it pre­sented races based on what­ever car you bought — a sub­tle but ef­fec­tive change from the norm.

Real cash for vir­tual cars

In other re­stric­tive moves, GT 6 doesn’t gift nearly as many cars for win­ning rac­ing se­ries like in pre­vi­ous en­tries, there are no used cars, and you can’t sell the ve­hi­cles in your garage that you don’t want. Per­haps this was done be­cause you can buy in-game cred­its with real money for the first time in the se­ries.

re­gard­less, the move is not in­tru­sive, and apart from some high-end, de­sir­able cars, there were enough rides at af­ford­able prices that I didn’t feel hemmed in.

races and cars in the ca­reer mode are de­fined by the PP rat­ing from the online por­tion of GT 5. It may sound re­stric­tive, but it ac­tu­ally gives you lat­i­tude in the kinds of cars you can use and there­fore op­tions in your ca­reer. That be­ing said, I did have fewer cars in my garage than usual.

The pre­dictabil­ity of the ca­reer struc­ture is mir­rored by the spac­ing and rou­tines of the AI cars in front of you, which makes the on-track rac­ing more rote than dy­namic. And yet, the game is cer­tainly not with­out its chal­lenges.

The size of the field and the num­ber of laps in­crease as you move up the ranks, and driv­ing the cars re­quires more skill as their power grows. It’s here where I re­ally started to en­joy the game.

I fault GT6 for not hav­ing a more invit­ing ca­reer mode, its tri­fling dam­age sys­tem (re­pair­ing is in­cluded but hardly ever nec­es­sary), miss­ing course cre­ator (it will be added af­ter launch via an up­date), and the over­all feel­ing that so much has not changed with the se­ries, but if there’s a bright spot in that malaise, it’s that I re­dis­cov­ered the joy of be­ing in awe and afraid of the cars.

It’s easy to bolt on ex­tra HP in the tun­ing shop, but know­ing what to do with it, or with a finely tuned rear-wheel car, for in­stance, is a mat­ter of skill that all th­ese years later I am still try­ing to con­sis­tently muster.

mak­ing ef­fi­cient turns and man­ag­ing cars’ ac­cel­er­a­tion, brak­ing, and han­dling (the new sus­pen­sion sys­tem feels re­ally good) is a sym­me­try of game­play that the fran­chise still ex­cels at.

When I was hav­ing to do ev­ery­thing in my lim­ited power to keep up with the pack in some 20-minute en­durance race or con­tin­u­ally re-rac­ing a side event at nur­bur­gring with­out go­ing off the track or touch­ing another car be­cause I knew there was a gold-tro­phy per­for­mance within me some­where (if only once),

I en­joyed GT6. With no rewind me­chanic to make my wrongs right, feel­ing this ex­posed was pos­i­tively ex­hil­a­rat­ing.

end of an era

The online of­fer­ings have made strides since GT5, with race op­tions like weather/time pro­gres­sion, qual­i­fy­ing, and the abil­ity to save your favourite race set­tings.

How­ever, apart from the sea­sonal time trial events, it lacks leader­boards, any over-arch­ing struc­ture, or much of a con­nec­tion to your sin­gle-player cam­paign (other than the money you win and the use of your garage). more con­tent is on the way, like race clubs, but it isn’t avail­able at launch, so it falls out­side the scope of this re­view.

It’s fit­ting that GT6 ap­pears at the end of the PS3’s arc. This 15-year an­niver­sary is an unironic celebration of the yoke of its legacy, but it doesn’t have to sig­nal the end of the fran­chise it­self.

Thank­fully, glim­mers of Gran Turismo’s rac­ing spirit still live. — mcClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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