Game: GT Academy 2013 (Gran Turismo 6 primer)
Publisher/Developer: Sony/Polyphony Digital
Release Date: 2013
From now until sometime in August you get a nice little introduction to the upcoming Gran Turismo 6 in the form of GT Academy 2013. It's a well-stocked demo, actually, with two cars, four basic races, five time trials, and a special bonus race to be unlocked later this month if you manage to get bronze or better in all events. You'll probably get hours of play out of the demo, which speaks highly for the game itself upon release.
Truth be told, I've never been much of a racer because, well, I'm an awful driver in everyday life as it is. Being in a universe with few consequences doesn't really improve that aspect of my personality.
But I was somewhat drawn back into the genre after watching the racing sequences from Video Game High School. I think that of all types of gameplay racing games are truly art. Not the games themselves necessarily, but the actual act of playing them. There's a dancer's beauty to learning to hug the track just right. Anyone who has ever mastered the slides in Mario Kart knows that it feels like nailing a guitar solo when you get it perfect.
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It was weird to start out racing in a Nissan Leaf since the car isn't all that different from my wife's Toyota Matrix. Is this how gun owners feel when they play shooters, that they're stuck with something they see every day?
Nonetheless, the game is incredibly easy to jump into, with perfectly liquid controls and a very helpful instructor to walk you through the basics of racing. Even pathologically bad players like myself will probably be able to snag a bronze in the first Sunday Cup run within the first couple of tries.
Gran Turismo has always represented the most seamless of all the driving game options, and at least according to their demo we can expect no less than in the sixth entry. Even if you've never gripped the steering wheel of destiny before, take this one for a test drive.