At 39 years of age, I am far too old to care about video games. I love cars, though, which I am much too poor to enjoy as much as I’d like.
Luckily for me, it’s cheap to drive the most exotic cars on the world’s most incredible tracks in video games, which is why I have been playing Gran Turismo since the very first version came out way back in 1997. Racing simulators have come a long way in those years.
As soon as I found out the latest title, Gran Turismo 6, was coming out I pre-ordered it on Amazon. I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival, and it is finally here.
Unfortunately, Polyphony Digital have shipped, instead of a brand new iteration of the game, a shiny round piece of excrement indistinguishable from a game disc until it is played.
Gran Turismo 6 is realistic. So is doing taxes. Neither is fun.
Part of what has made the previous titles so fun is that the driving is so forgiving, read: unrealistic. Grab a hugely overpowered ridicumobile, slap some super soft race tires on it, and go flog it around a track. If you head into a corner too hot, no big deal, the magical tires will save you.
Or, if you’re feeling a bit roguish, just time your turn properly and carom off a hapless computer opponents car, completing your turn at breakneck speed and rocketing ahead for the win.
That’s what was such great fun about GT5: the craziness. In GT6, the developers have made a massive push for realism, insisting that the first car purchase in game is a Honda Fit RS. Wait. They made a RS version of the Fit? …but why? Well, no, they haven’t yet. But they might.
I don’t want a Honda Fit RS. I want to buy a Miata just like I have in real life and see how far I can get with it, just like I did in GT5. Too bad. You’re gettin’ a Fit.
Gone also are the super fun and unrealistic magical soft tires. I have raced through nearly half of the game at this point and I’ve yet to get to drive on a single racing tire. Realistic? Sure. Fun? Nope.
Even the special events and license tests are performed on road tires. Cars slide all over the place, hit barriers, spin. Any of these means you have to try again.
Again, this is absolutely what would happen in real life, but I don’t want real life from my video games. I want fun.
Gran Turismo 6’s multiplayer is terrible
I have played through the game as far as I have because I wanted to try out the multiplayer. I thought maybe the game could be salvaged with some crazy fun racing against other people. Nope.
Choosing a game is just awful. Many of the choices in the list are only for cars you don’t own, or only for friends of the game host, which you aren’t. You don’t find this out until you’ve already joined the game and sat through long loading screens.
On top of that, the default audio settings have other people’s microphones turned up way higher than the sound of your car, so you get to listen to some idiot teenager burping and talking on the phone. At least one idiot will have a hot mic on, meaning it is transmitting his every rustle and racial slur, but you might get lucky. There could be two idiots.
I managed to join a race and I hated it
I joined a game called “Clean Street Racing for Fun,” and waited, irritated but trying to enjoy myself, through all the loading screens. I selected a car that would work with the host’s game requirements, my trusty Miata, and got ready to race.
I did a few practice laps and got some decently fast lap times, so I started fifth on the grid. Everyone else had exotic supercars, but this race was in the wet, so most of them spent all their practice laps sliding off course. The timer counted down to the start.
Five… four… three… two… one… GO!
I hit the gas, changed up to second gear, and was immediately drilled at locomotive speed from behind by one of my fellow players. My car flew off course and the entire field of 13 other cars drove merrily by as I rebounded off guard rails. Mad as hell, I regained control of my car and headed off to catch the field.
I caught them again at the end of the straight, intending to slam into the same car that had hit me, but instead I zipped straight through his car as if he were a ghost. I guess the game decided I was going too fast to be realistic. I shot off the track into the runoff area and finished second to last.
It makes sense that there’d be a rule that you can’t be going too fast and slam into people, but where was it when I was trying to honestly race?
If you want a realistic racing sim, try iRacing
iRacing is a realistic racing simulator for the PC. The graphics aren’t good, but that’s not the point. The point is to have a hyper-realistic racing simulator that appeals to racing drivers.
A console game should have excellent graphics and should have just enough realism to make it fun. Gran Turismo 6 is made for the aging PS3, so the graphics are okay if you don’t mind some performance hiccups and long loading screens. Those used to be worth it for the fun gameplay, but they got rid of that.
Don’t buy Gran Turismo 6.