If thereâ€™s one thing Gran Turismo is known for, itâ€™s realism. The team at Polyphony Digital strive to create the most authentic motorsport experience possible - â€śthe real driving simulatorâ€ť - with each new iteration pushing the boundaries further and further. And if my hands on with the upcoming Gran Turismo 6 at a pre-Tokyo Game Show event is anything to go by, this pushing of boundaries isnâ€™t showing any signs of stopping.
The track I got to play was in the mountains, and the first thing that jumped out at me was the sheer beauty of the distant scenery. The mountainous horizon may as well have been a photograph, it was that realistic. Impressive sights in the distance are easy to achieve though, relatively speaking, and previous Gran Turismo titles have been no stranger to them; on the other hand, detail in the track proper has, in the past, been a bit more questionable.
Iâ€™m happy to report that this is an issue that might finally get addressed. Iâ€™m an absolutely shocking driver, so I spent a good deal of time getting quite familiar with the various walls and barriers that border the course - and it is very clear that this up close texturing is something that the team has been focusing on. The level of detail is impressive to behold.
One of the other big points of difference in GT6 is the crowd - more specifically, how real and alive the people watching the races feel. The spectators in GT5 had come a long way from the cardboard cutouts of yesteryear, but they were still fairly static. In GT6, on the other hand, they can be seen milling about before the race starts, cheering as cars go past, and taking photos; I half expected to see a spectator drop their pants and moon me as I drove past, or some other equally ridiculous stunt.
As far as actually driving goes, not much seems to have changed - but thatâ€™s not a bad thing. Vehicle handling is as realistic as youâ€™d expect, and frankly, Iâ€™m not really sure what else could be done to take this further. The driving experience is as authentic as it gets.
Not much appears to have changed with the AI of computer controlled racers either, which is a bit concerning, because this has always been one of the seriesâ€™ biggest weaknesses. From what I saw, the other cars still more or less stick to the same on-rails racing that weâ€™ve seen before. Itâ€™s not game breaking by any means, but it does somewhat impact the immersion that the other elements of the title do so well to create.
Still, I liked what I played - quite a lot, in fact - and Iâ€™m eagerly looking forward to seeing how the final product turns out. There will no doubt be a great many tracks to choose from - that means a great many beautifully textured things for me to crash into and get a good look at.
Gran Turismo 6 is due for release worldwide on December 6.