Editor's note: our accompanying feature, with online play and the controversial microtransaction mechanic under the spotlight, has gone live. Check it out at the bottom of the review.
There are 101 Mazdas in Gran Turismo 6. Why? I honestly don't know.
The numbers have phased into insignificance at this point, but Gran Turismo 6 is unparalleled in its number of cars, tracks and intricate options for customisation. With over 1200 vehicles and 100 courses, there's no denying the sheer level of content here, but Gran Turismo 6 is merely an expansion, not an evolution. Released just weeks after the PlayStation 4 on a now-inferior system, that's not a particularly enticing proposition, especially considering the series' stature.
From the very start, Gran Turismo 6 feels dated. Its menus are convoluted and make little sense. For example, the button that means 'continue' is actually called 'exit', and is hidden past lots of needless options. When buying cars for events, you have to manually check what type of vehicle you need, then head to the dealership - there's no way to simply view and buy eligible vehicles for particular championships. With 101 Mazdas to sort through, it's nonsensical and frustrating.
Driving itself is solid, even therapeutic, but ultimately soulless. There's no doubting the tech wizardry that's going on beneath the bonnet, but none of that impressiveness really comes through to the surface. The career is vast but never compelling, and any special events dotted in between feel like yet more superfluous distractions. The controller offers barely any feedback - something that feels essential after Forza 5. The AI ranges from passable to lifeless, rarely infusing races with excitement.
Gran Turismo 6 ends up feeling stubborn to adapt to modernity. Its myriad landscapes are barren and unexciting, while the music sounds like it's been ripped straight from a Ron Jeremy compilation VHS. There's an age old argument that simulation racing games are 'just cars going around in circles' - Gran Turismo 6 has no retort.
Played for 11 hours. Drove quite a few Mazdas.