With the recent release of Gran Turismo 6 for the PlayStation 3 and Forza Motorsport 5 for the Xbox One gamers have quite the decision to make when spending their money. Which game is worth your time and dollars?
Both games are certainly stunning visually but what’s behind that shiny veneer? While the answer differs for each game, it’s not a positive answer for either game.
In the case of Forza 5 fantastic driving simulation physics and next generation graphics are mired among microtransactions, weird opponent driver AI, and poor menu design.
The microtransactions are bothersome as you’ve already paid $60 for the game but are constantly reminded to spend more money by purchasing tokens that you then use to unlock cars. While this system was in Forza 4, it was implemented in a much more subtle way and you didn’t feel penalized if you choose to not spend more money.
The artificial intelligence for the cars you race against is the much touted “Drivatar” system. The way this system works is that the game monitors how actual people drive in the game and then uses that data to build profiles of driving styles. The game then uses these profiles to pilot the cars you will race against online or off. This sounds terrific on paper but neglects one fact, that people drive like utter assholes in Forza. This results in the AI drivers constantly hitting you, rear ending you entering turns, and generally doing their best to run you off the road. You are unable to escape this as you did in previous games, by simply playing single player, as this Drivatar AI is used in every race in Forza 5.
Lastly, Forza 5 eschews the excellent menu design of 4 and chooses to make race selection much more difficult. Instead of displaying races suitable for the car you are using, it displays races for set categories of cars. The cynic in me says this is to help promote gamers wanting to use tokens in order to have the proper car for the next race.
Gran Turismo 6 also presents excellent simulation physics and sharp graphics but continues the legacy of GT5 with outdated menu design and fewer features than it’s competitor.
It helps to know the history of Gran Turismo to understand where GT is at today. GT was the pinnacle of simulation driving games until an extremely prolonged development for GT5 caused fans to look elsewhere. Those fans flocked to Forza and multiple games were produced in the wait for GT5. This allowed the Forza developers to add features and react to consumer feedback more quickly. Due to this, when GT 5 came out it felt like a game that was 5 years old partly because it started development then and most of the design designs never changed.
GT 6 suffers from some of these same ills because it hasn’t had the opportunity to cater to consumer wants through multiple game iterations. This leads up a game that feels old and outdated. Once you get past the “game” and actually get behind the wheel, GT 6 shines.
With that all out of the way, which should you buy?
I think anyone looking to purchase a top notch driving game would be best served by buying Forza 4. 4 is missing the glaring flaws of 5 and GT 6, while it’s dated release means 4 now can be found in bargain bins.