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Polyphony Digital
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Release Date:
December 6, 2013

For a myriad of social and psychological reasons, some franchises become popular prey for critics. En masse, the entire reviewing populace decides that instead of issuing a fair, accurate analysis of a new title in the targeted franchise, they will pick out every tiny flaw and turn it into a critical failing. Gran Turismo has become the trendy whipping boy of critics. Occasionally, that treatment is warranted but this time, there’s only one logical explanation and you can quote me—

The response is nothing more than video game critics attempting to lend their expertise to a game that requires a driving and racing expert .

Now, graphically, Gran Turismo 6 excels. That’s expected, of course, but it’s always amazing to see just how much effort developer Polyphony Digital expends on the technical aspects. Detractors will point to a few low-res textures somewhere in the backgrounds of certain tracks, along with the absence of livery. How that affects the driving in any way is beyond me. The cars are beautiful; the tracks are exquisitely designed, and let’s not forget that overhauled presentation. It’s much smoother to navigate in comparison to GT5, but I do miss the slickness of the previous interface. Oh, and the dynamic weather and day/night effects take these visuals to yet another level.

Sound is a sticking point for many critics and to some extent, I do agree that the audio isn’t a big highlight. The balancing remains a little off (as it has always been throughout this franchise in my estimation), and such effects as the squealing of tires is way overdone. However, the complaint about cars not emitting accurate engine noises doesn’t seem founded. Big V8s have big V8 growls, supercars have a distinct high-tech power that speaks to futuristic engine design, and little four-bangers sound like…well, little 4-cylinder cars. I’ve never been a big fan of any GT soundtrack and GT6 doesn’t make me change my mind, but this game has it where it counts. The authenticity of the gameplay audio is what ultimately matters.

I will freely admit where Gran Turismo can improve. Being a fan of cars and racing, I only want Polyphony to deliver the most realistic experience possible. What hardcore simulator fans desire is a game that is challenging, that teaches and rewards at the same time, that features mind-bending depth that demands a firm knowledge – and implementation of that knowledge – of the subject at hand. When the sound is a tad off, I notice it and acknowledge it. I don’t make a federal case out of it because the only legitimate drawbacks are barely significant, but I notice. I also notice when a game that calls itself a “simulator” hasn’t progressed enough.