Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Drama!

There is a lot of drama surrounding the release of Tomb Raider: better hair modeling so I am totally worth full price edition. The drama comes from video game centered forums and sites so it should be taken with a grain of salt but I do understand, even sympathize, with where it is coming from. Here is the central tenant: for two generations the Microsoft console has been the place to play multiplatform titles. Full stop. Xbox vs PS2 it was the more powerful system. Xbox 360 vs PS3 it was not the more powerful of the two but it was the lead system due to ease of development and Sony never quite recovering from $600 US.

Xbox One vs PS4 is only two months old. All the numbers point to the PS4 being more powerful, easier to develop for and selling more units. Early multiplatform games back this up with Tomb Raider being the most egregious. You can spin the number however  you want, but 60 frames unlocked dipping down to 40 is still better than 30 locked (that still dips below that). Maybe there are good reasons. They were in fact handled by two different developers. Did one just suck? And if so, why was the one that sucked given the Xbox One port?

Simple: for the first time is many years the Microsoft device is no longer the lead console. Remember how bad Skyrim was for the PS3? Xbox One owners may very well have that to look forward to. Many of them, myself included, are just a little butt hurt about this. In spite of my clear leanings towards the 360 I am no platform loyalist. Things are just turning out a little differently than I thought they would. My plan was for the PS4 to be for exclusives, both big and indie, and the Xbox One to be for everything else.

A year from now the exact opposite may be true.

I am spoiled in that I get a choice. Both systems live under my television along with their predecessors. It's not that I don't have a horse in the race, I have all the horses. Old habits die hard, though. My GameFly cue is full of this year's games, all on Xbox One. The one thing left in its favor is that I prefer the Xbox One controller to the DualShock 3. But if I start seeing ports as bad as Skyrim and Bayonetta trust me, I will get used to the stupid light on the front of the controller.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bored

Still here, just don't feel like complaining about Killer Instinct players who disconnect at the end of the match or that I have nothing else to play at the moment. I tried to watch The Walking Dead (the series, not the game) a few days ago and shut it off out of boredom before the first episode was over. An hour long drama needs to earnt the right to spend almost ten minutes focusing on characters complaining about their home lives. If I knew who they were and cared even a speck for them it would work. Instead it was two country cops bitching.

Exciting.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Searching

This January drought is killing me. I don't want to spend more money on games that I am marginally interested in. Guacamelee was certainly worth it but Painkiller Hell & Damnation was not. All of the free games on both systems are games that I have already played or do not want to play. Forza 5 sits on the shelf like an expectant puppy but, having just been bitten by the big ugly dog that was Need for Speed Rivals, I am going to give that species a break for a while.

Even Killer Instinct pissed me off last night. I don't mind losing which is good because I lose almost exactly 50% of the time. It is the post match grandstanding that needs to stop, specifically the tea bagging. Street Fighter 4 vanilla let the winning player get one last hit in after the KO that did not follow the standard juggle rules. This courtesy hit served no purpose other than pissing off your opponent so Capcom did the right thing and took it out. KI give the winner several second of time after the win is recorded. Most people walk over and squat on their victims face.

I want to think that KI has pulled in people who don't normally play fighting games but that would be besides the point. Fighting game players are just as if not more despicable than Call of Duty bro's. The classier ones, of which I would like to think I am even though I unironically play Blanka, take a win as all the gloating we need. I have even started cutting ultra combos short because all they do is give the loser time to disconnect, robbing me of the victory. The need to rub a win in someone's face, especially if the loser was totally outmatched, is something that I do not understand.

It's like taunting in Street Fighter. Unless you are playing Guile and putting on his glasses, just don't do it. Don't be a douchebag. Don't squat on some dudes face because he missed a breaker (or three).


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This would be the greatest thing

Phantom Dust reboot?

http://www.totalxbox.com/69858/xbox-one-daydreams-phil-spencer-talks-phantom-dust-halo-wars-kingdom-hearts/

My goodness. I still own the original Phantom Dust. It is the only oXbox game I still have. I never play it, just gaze at it longingly. What if, I muse, what if there was another one of this?

Orale vato!

There is something very satisfying about defeating a giant demon by german suplexing meteorites at him. Let that sentence sink in for a moment, as it is one of the less ridiculous things that happened during my play through of Guacamelee. I had my mother verbally harassed by an ancient man-goat. The devil lost a cock fight with a disgraced and deceased charro, something that I really wanted to see and was not explained in nearly enough detail. There were dead mariachi bands and enchiladas with peppers fresh from the underworld. It's insane and very, very good.

Oh, that kind of cock fight.
The final few areas had finger gymnastics that I would not think were possible on a hand held. Double jump to wall (X twice), hold on to wall (hold Y), switch dimensions (R2), double jump to next wall (X twice). Repeat. It was nasty but fair and that was with a Dual Shock 3 in my hands. Curling my mitts around a Vita and doing that is liable to cause arthritis.

There is more to find that I will not go back for and a super secret ending that I already spoiled for myself, plus downloadable content, plus an upcoming Xbox One/PS4 release, none of which I am all that interested in. Call me when Guacamelee 2 comes out, this time starring the ghost of Eddie Guerrero.


Orale indeed.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Me gusta

I don't have much else to say about Painkiller Hell & Damnation. There were lots of monsters. I shot them. This happened many, many times. There was catharsis followed by shame at the loss of $15 for two evenings of play time. Just another day in the basement.

...

I am a huge sucker for lists of anything. Put 'Top 5' in front of an article and I will probably read it. The frequent appearances of Cracked.com in my browser history can attest to this. They just feel so organized and finite. Game Informer has for the last several years put out a list of their top fifty games of the year. I am not going to argue with any of their choices but I do like to take out a red pen and put a little check mark next to the ones that I have played. My previous average was around thirty which is pretty good for not owning any hand helds, a gaming PC or any Nintendo console. This year my total was only twenty one and there were two glaring omissions that I could have played and didn't, not including GTA V which I played a little of and just didn't like.

Guacamelee and The Stanley Project. There is plenty of time to fix this before the end of February.

Chance liked Guacamelee which is reason enough for me to give it a try. It took me a bit to find it in the store and then right after I bought it I remembered that I had $10 of PSN cash that I didn't use and that it was coming out for the big boy consoles in the Spring. Too late now. Thirty minutes in and I was confident that I had might the right decision to play it now.

If Metroidvania is a genre (because saying 2D side scrolling adventure game takes too long) then Guacamelee is Metroidvania-light. It isn't very big, secrets are not hidden, backtracking is easy, the joy in the combat comes not from difficulty but in finding interesting ways to throw enemies into one another. It has all the polish of a big time release but the content of a downloadable one. I do not mean this as a slight - the game knows exactly what it is and excels within its limitations.

In other words, it's fun.

It is not difficult to tell if a development team 'gets it' or not. Is this a labor of love or a labor of crunch time and impending layoffs? Drinkbox Studios, at least with Guacamelee, gets it. They knew what they were doing, stuck to it, and put out a game that stands on its own. If I must level a complaint, and this is a stretch, I think the constant references to other games is unnecessary. The story here is sparse but it does not require referential filler and the game play can pull its own weight as well.

Still, I would be lying if the 'me gusta' signs didn't make me laugh ever single time I see them.


Friday, January 17, 2014

As if March wasn't full enough



Oh yeah. This is (part) of why I still have my PS3.

Stop protecting me!

No gaming last night, spent a late night at the climbing gym instead.

Funny anecdote: discovered Halestorm via a metal station that I found whilst driving across my state on Wednesday. Good metal, female singer who can growl, it's not bad. Downloaded their second disc via my Windows Music subscription and was dismayed to find that it was the edited version. Pissed off, I switched over to a little Marilyn Manson to sooth my nerves.

It was also the edited version. What the hell.

When the Xbox Music app scanned my computer it grabbed the edited versions of anything with a warning label. I am really not happy about this as the hard drive that held all said music has since gone up in smoke and I have no backup. I am now a slave to this service and they are busy protecting me from androgynous glam rockers who swear a lot, something that I really need to hear now and again.

Lord help me if they managed to find clean Beastie Boys.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It was on sale!

There is no excuse for playing Painkiller Hell & Damnation. It is yet another sequel in a long declining line. The first Painkiller was almost perfect and since then People Can Fly has gone on to bigger and better things, leaving the series forgotten. The game itself is a relic, cut from the same cloth as the good Serious Sam games (1 and 3) and I don't there is a market for them anymore.

But as poor as the game is impaling monsters with the stake gun, sending them flying across the map and attached them to a wall, never gets old. Hell & Damnation is part sequel, part greatest hits compilation. Take the first boss:

Hell & Damnation



and the original



It's a shame that the new one doesn't look, oh I don't know, about a million times better that it does. Hell & Damnation will fill some of what remains of January, as will that portable Assassin's Creed game that just came out for XBLA but inexplicably not for Xbox One.

All my game time feels like waiting, just filling the time until something new comes out. February is pretty good:

  • The LEGO Movie Videogame
  • Final Fantasy XIII-3: Lightning Returns
  • Earth Defense Force 2025
  • Thief
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
but there is only one next gen game in there and nothing for the PS4. Why did I buy that system again? Oh yeah, Infamous 3 is in March and if Outlast makes it our before then I will finally renew my PS+ subscription. Until then? Time to slum it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The theory will always apply

In the midst of learning Killer Instinct I have managed to put a few nights into Need for Speed Rivals. I hate it for the same reason that I am the only person in the entire world who thought Burnout Paradise was a significant step backwards for the series: these are racing games that are at all times trying to prevent the player from actually racing.

The very first thing I did in Rivals, after the tutorial was complete, was set up a private game. By default you are dumped into a game with random people, a mix of racers and cops, 90% of which are guaranteed to be douchebags. The next generation has proven to be no respite from Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. I was given the option to avoid this problem completely, and I gladly took it, yet a few conceits the game made towards its always online nature remained, namely that there is no pause. Once the player is out on the road the game never stops. This is especially troubling when trying to view the map and create a waypoint as cops will appear out of nowhere and bust you for sitting on the side of the road.

Speaking of cops, every race, regardless of how it begins, ends up as a clusterfuck of cops, racers, helicopters, spike strips, and cartoonish power ups that belong in Mario Kart. Some start that way on purpose but they all eventually degenerate into an unplayable mess. Even the time trials turn into chases if you are playing as a racer. Just driving around the city is a frustrating grind as you need to be constantly on guard, sneaking from safe house to safe house to keep the points you have acquired. When played as a racer this is not a racing game. I don't know what to call it. Bull shit comes to mind.

The other side of the game, playing as a cop, is less annoying but not necessarily more fun. Time trials are completable because no one is going to chase you for going too fast. Every other mission boils down to chasing racers, either individually or in packs, and running them off the road. It gets old quickly. Once I had become accustomed to how the cars handle (closer to Burnout than Forza, but not close enough) I ran out of things that I wanted to do.

Open world racing games can work. Forza Horizon was an excellent game. It let me explore when I wanted to explore and more importantly it let me race unmolested when I wanted to race. Rivals does neither or these things. All it does well is embarrass itself with a questionable soundtrack and a ridiculous anti-establishment 'storyline.' This is the first Need for Speed game I have played in many, many years. It has not convinced me to give the franchise another chance.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Back to square one

Let's talk in detail about Killer Instinct because Need for Speed Rivals is boring and has reminded me why I don't play Need for Speed games. A man can only tolerate so much dubstep.

KI is close, very, very close, to being a great fighting game. It is currently incomplete: there is no single player beyond survival mode. There are only six characters and six environments. From a content perspective there is just not much there and in my opinion proves that the 'episodic game' model does not work for a fighter, or at least there has to be more at the beginning to keep people interested.

Mechanically, however, it steals just the right amount from a variety of places. Movement wise it is very Street Fighter. I like being able to port over at least some of my skills, it keeps the beginning stages of the game from being too frustrating, especially when everyone else has a month's head start. The movement being the same makes it very tempting to play the same way. If you take away the vortex characters Street Fighter is all about spacing. Footsies are more important than big combos. Footsies are important in KI but only because they lead to something more. Just getting a knock down or a stray hit is almost meaningless.

KI's execution barrier is about as low as it can get. A bread and butter combo is Street Fighter is usually two or three moves strung together, preferably without a nasty link getting in the way (from a mid-range scrub perspective as my own, anyway). KI bread and butters are ten to twenty hits, but the timing is loose and the motions can be looser. I was able to string together fifty odd hits into Ultra within thirty minutes of turning the game on. An hour later I realized that this was not important because that is not where the game actually was. There is a mind game in the combos, one with counters and feints that I have not quite figured out yet. Getting touched does not make it a one player game, ala Marvel vs Capcom 3. You are still playing and can defend yourself.

The high level stuff is still there. KI calls link manuals but they function the same way and can still be broken. Resets are actually more important because of the breaker mechanic. Stringing together block strings can be dangerous because of shadow counters. Everything single aspect of the fight has a risk/reward piece. Except for the broken parts, anyway.

It's a new game and there are things that don't work. All of my time online has been spent as Thunder. Thunder's walk speed is ass, so some of the issues I am going to list may not apply to everyone else. Runaway Jago is too effective. Sabrewulf's dash can actually pass through the opponent and, done correctly, is very hard to counter. Sabrewulf on the whole feels a little overpowered, but that may change with time. As a whole it is difficult to see what moves are punishable and which ones aren't. Too many of them are safe which can lead to just silly pressure. I need to practice my shadow counters.

I was surprised the level of douchiness on display in ranked play. Again, Street Fighter has spoiled me. The worst I get there is the occasional bit of hate mail. KI is full of people who disconnect mid-match, tea bag your corpse on knock down (yes, this is still a thing) and straight up troll when at a large enough life advantage. Of the three the trolling is the most annoying and the one that I cannot say a thing about. I have been guilty of that in the past and am getting what I deserve for playing Blanka exclusively for forever.

KI is a good game that needs content and just a little balancing. The content will come. Here's hoping the support extends beyond that to keep the game alive.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Killer instructions

My CronusMax arrived on Thursday in a small box that contained the unit and a single sheet of instructions. The instructions did nothing other than point to their website and say that you needed the software installed to update the firmware on the adapter before anything would work. No problem, I am sort of in IT and used to ambiguous instructions. The link in the instructions worked but the download failed, over and over. A post in their forums by a disinterested mod pointed to certain people having issues with virus protection blocking the software. Of a download? It was a zip file. Unlikely.

Google pointed me to a different download site with a new version that worked. I installed it, hooked up the adapter and found that it was already on the latest firmware. Super. Plugged in into the Xbox One along with my arcade stick. No joy. I will skip the next hour of troubleshooting - it wasn't very interesting. The answer finally came from a YouTube video: plug the adapter in without the controller, connect an Xbox One controller to it first then disconnect the controller and plug in what you want to use.

With that bit of nonsense out of the way it was time for play testing. No discernable input lag. If I wanted to remap all of the buttons to different one the software itself is not very difficult to use. More than a single page of useless instructions in the box would be have been helpful but the product itself works as advertised.

As I had heard and not quite believed, Killer Instinct is pretty good. Street Fighter instincts will get you started as almost everyone is far to eager to jump at you from unsafe distances. They won't get you much further than that because single hit punishes do almost no damage. After one night of play I think the trick will be to find short, difficult to break combos, no fifty hit monstrosities. I have gone a bit against type for my starting character and chosen Thunder. He is a bit slow but has a command throw that can be used as an ender and does good damage. If there was a shenanigans character it would be Sabrewulf but I am going to save that silliness for a game that I am less terrible at.

Glacius is Dhalsim, right down to the floaty jump. I played ranked for about two hours last night and never ran into one so he may have to be my other project. Full screen combos just look so cool.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Forget it Blanka, it's Oni town

I said I wasn't going to skip days but I also said it was going to be difficult coming with interesting topics when I have nothing to play for another few weeks. Last night saw me sit down for the longest set of Street Fighter ranked matches that I have had in quite a while. It was a good night. I won more than I lost. I also fought a lot of Oni's and only one Cammy, which was confusing.

Just about to install the software for my ChronusMAX controller adapter. All I am going to use it for is my Qanba stick but it still feels a bit dirty. There will be a full report tomorrow on how well it works.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Still walking

I, like just about everyone else who played them, thought that The Walking Dead was one of the best things that I played last year. It brought a marginalized genre front and center to the masses by cutting out the fat and bolstering it with quality writing and relatable characters. All of the good made it easy to let little things like the game running like ass for no good reason slide. It didn't detract from anything. A year has gone by and chapter 1 of season two still runs like ass for no good reason. This time around  it is more noticeable, it does impact the game's more frequent quick time events, and there is less distracting quality to keep my jaded eyes at bay.

The Walking Dead worked because of its characters. To be specific, it worked because of Lee and his relationship with Clementine. The player was not an observer, the player was Lee. As he became more attached to Clementine so did the player. His sacrifices and tragedies were personal because, in a world of zombies, they were believable. The character of Clementine was required but was not the focus until the very end. One would not have worked without the other.

Thirty minutes into Season 2 and Clementine is on her own. The player is no longer a participant, he is an observer. And what the player sees is an impossibly badass little girl who can fight off angry dogs, hungry zombies and stitch her own arm up with stolen thread and a dull needle. There is a new 'Clem' character in a sheltered little girl who has no idea how bad things really are and I already see where the story arc is going to go. Clem will end up mentoring this girl after her father dies. There will be some bit about honoring Lee's memory, and at the end of four more chapters the two of them will wonder off into the sunset. The student will have become the master.

Booooooorrrrring.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe Season 2 will be just as devastating as Season 1, where no character was safe. I hope so and I am not looking forward to waiting an undetermined amount of time to find out.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A time machine, if you please

It is going to be very difficult to find things to talk about for the next two weeks. Battlefield 4 has already been shipped off. Shoot Many Robots was free and is just amusing enough to fill the hours. There is a difficulty spike coming that will force me to either farm previous levels for bolts or spend actual money on pretend currency for a game that I did not pay for. Neither of those are going to happen.

Out of boredom I have gone back on two previous statements.

1. I decided when season 2 of The Walking Dead came out that I was not going to touch it until all of the episodes were available. That will be broken tonight.

2. It has been many, many years since I have played a Need for Speed game. So long that I do not remember why it was added to my shit list in the first place. It is one of the only non-sports retail launch titles that I have not played so on to the list it goes.

When my free month of Playstation Plus expired I did not renew it. The only thing I lost was access to Resogun. As good as that game is I decided that it could wait until there were more reasons to pony up the cash for two premium online services. This month's free PS4 game is Don't Starve. I have no interest in Don't Starve for the same reason that I couldn't get into Minecraft and hated Little Big Planet. There is not enough game present in these sandboxes to keep me interested. Including building tools as a bonus is one thing but making the player completely responsible for the game's content is another. Imagine buying Unreal Tournament and all that came in the box was the dev tools. This is not my idea of a good time.

In two more weeks when I still have nothing to play I will most likely cave, renew my subscription, play Don't Starve for an hour and then immediately regret my decision.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Expectations drop

So much for not taking weekends off.

Battlefield 4 took almost exactly the same amount of time to play through as Call of Duty: Ghosts. By coming in relatively late I managed to avoid all of the game breaking bugs that plagued the game at launch. While I appreciate not crashing to the home screen as was widely reported this does not at all make up for the game not being very good.

There is no way to have this discussion without comparing Battlefield 4 to Ghosts. Unlike my previous and unfair efforts to compare Gran Turismo 6 and Forza 5 this comparison is completely equitable. Both are cross gen sequels by companies with plenty of money to throw around. Neither take full advantage of the new shiny hardware. Here is where they split. Ghosts is a self aware rollercoaster. It is linear and still exciting. Battlefield 4 is a rollercoaster that the player is expected to both ride and repair while on the move. Missing a fix means that the player will die, over and over, and not know exactly who is killing him.

For example: around the midpoint of the game our voiceless and transparent protagonist takes over as a tank commander. All of the other tanks are quickly destroyed to make way for the one man/team against an army fantasy that is expected - the track goes up. The good guys pull into a field - the track levels off. Three tanks appear out of nowhere and kill the good guys because the player had no way of knowing this ahead of time - hand go up, tracks goes down, and oh shit, the whole train grinds to a stop and is towed backwards.

It gets worse. When I respawned for some reason I only had 40% health. The tank magically repairs itself but it does so very slowly. Each restart, and there were a lot of them, started out with me waiting for almost a minute. This was not the only example of this. The whole game was rife with these fits and starts, so much so that it never built any momentum. The rollercoaster never got going which defeats the entire purpose of the big budget shooter.

Maybe it was trying to be more of a simulation than Call of Duty but if that was the case then when why does health regenerate at all? Why does bullet drop only affect sniper rifles? I don't really understand what Battlefield 4 was trying to do but it wasn't as much fun as this year's competition.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I snapped

Last night at approximately 10:30 PM local time I reached the limits of my ability in Gran Turismo 6. Over the course of two tracks, the second of which was the Nurburgring, I went from having a pleasant drive to seething with impotent rage. The Nurburgring is hard. Miss a turn by a few feet and one of your rear wheels falls off the edge of the track and you spin out hard. This example highlights the one conceit made by almost all other modern racing games that Gran Turismo has not acquiesced to:  rewind.

Forza 5 handles it perfectly. Every time you rewind a mistake you lose ten percent of your winnings, assuming that you finish the race. I prefer this to a limited number because it treats it as a learning tool. You can blow a turn, rewind it, blow it again, and keep doing that until you understand what mistake you made and fix it. Gran Turismo is a much harsher mistress. Mistakes are punished without hesitation. It does not care if it the first turn or the last, you are screwed.

I admit it, I have up, which is not good because I have precious little else to play. Battlefield 4 will be started tonight and finished by Monday. Shoot Many Robots was free on XBLA last month and worth playing. Don't Starve will get a night's work and I can guarantee it will annoy the hell out of me.

Welcome to the doldrums.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Left a few things out

I am still quite pleased with Gran Turismo 6 but there are a few items that I left out of yesterday's post that need to be talked about to keep things fair. Forza 5 has one huge leg up that cannot be replicated on the previous generation's hardware: opposing driver AI. Racing against drivatars whose behaviour is based on the way your friends drive adds life to the game. It makes offline races feel like online races. The other cars just feel like there are people in them, right down to missing the entrance to a corner and sliding off into a retaining wall.

Gran Turismo 6 is nothing but time trials even when there are other cars on the track. They stick to their racing line so strictly that they might as well be on rails. I do not think that the complicated AI from Forza would be possible without the vaunted 'cloud computing' that Microsoft lists as a bullet point on their Xbox One achievements list. Point for them and delivering on at least one promise.

What Forza 5 doesn't do is let me drive on the mother fucking moon with a moon rover. Take that.

To make this comparison complete I plan on finding a track and car that exist in both games and running them one after the other. I predict that I will be struck by how much better Forza 5 looks that I remember and how much better the Dual Shock 3's analog stick and analog buttons are for driving. Stay tuned for more.

...

I do plan on writing up just a bit on my worst of the year over the weekend. It was a pretty good year  for games which makes picking the worst more difficult. Aside from the obvious choice of Ride to Hell, that is.

...

Blogging New Year's Resolutions:


  1. Post most often. No more weekends off.
  2. Proof read my posts. Good god I sounds like an idiot sometimes.
  3. Go back to writing honest to goodness longer form reviews. It has been several years and is going to be painful but I think it will be worth it.
  4. Stream. This will have to wait until it is available on the Xbox One as I don't use the PS4 much.
  5. Stop using the term Xbone. Xbox Juan is still fine.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Kicking things off right

First off, Happy New Year.

When Gran Turismo 6 arrived I assumed that I would play it for an hour or two, realize that I should be playing Forza 5 instead, and that would be the end of it. Gran Turismo has always struck me as very sterile in both presentation and execution. The career mode is little more than a series of races, there is no car damage and the physics engine handles collisions by pretending they didn't happen. It's like the hospital of racing games: it has everything you need but you still don't want to spend much time there.

One night passed and I kept playing it. Two nights passed and I am still playing it. I think that maybe, just maybe, Gran Turismo 6 is a better simulation style racing game than Forza 5. Had it come out at any time other than a few weeks after the start of a new generation people would be all over this. Instead it came out and no one noticed.

First the dry facts. Forza 5 has, out of the box, 200 cars and 14 tracks. There is no weather, no night driving. There are no rally courses, no point to point races. It is a the very definition of a launch racing title: stunning to look at but lacking in content. Gran Turismo 6 has 1197 cars. It has 37 completely different venues (not tracks) with 71 layouts. It just has more of everything. It does not look as good as Forza 5, in fact it still has the everything is too clean, this doesn't look real thing going, but being able to drive at night or in the rain makes up for it.

I was repeating tracks in Forza 5 within thirty minutes of starting. Gran Turismo 6 could go on for days before I have to run the same event for a second time. If I get bored there are license tests or coffee break challenges or an almost impossible hill climb course in which the road is about two feet wider than the monster of a car you are given to drive. Last night just as I was about to shut it down I unlocked a mini go-kart race. Exactly the change of pace required to keep me playing for just one more event.

It may not be fair to compare these two directly. Gran Turismo 6 is the culmination of 15 years of Gran Turismo. It has all the tracks and all the cars and all the experience built up going back to the PS1 condensed on to one disc that happened to land at the very end of its systems life. Forza 5 is starting over from scratch. It chose flash over substance, a requirement for it place at the forefront of moving new hardware, but not something that will keep this jaded old gamer coming back for more.

Gran Turismo 6 is a better simulation style racing game than Forza 5. Age before beauty indeed.