If you were to ask me one word to describe the Gran Turismo franchise, it would never be “cool”. Big? Yes. Detailed? Definitely, but cool? Not really. If I want to play a “cool” racing game, I’ll go to the latest Forza Horizon, or maybe even an old copy of Need for Speed Underground (cheesy cool, OK?). I didn’t go to Gran Turismo 7 expecting to be so excited.
But then came Idris Elba.
Starting Gran Turismo 7 feels soulless. Wait for the game to download and tap a few options on different menus to customize the controls and how the game looks on your TV. Everything so necessary and yet completely flat. Imagine you’re a kid trying Gran Turismo for the first time with… that?
However, if you go in a bit, you can play Music Rally while you wait for the rest to finish. There’s a lot of fuss over the game’s opening FMV, which chronicles the history of the cars (and it’s great), so it’s easy to forget that the first taste of racing came from Music Rally. There are three racetracks to choose from with accompanying music. Iconic routes, but how not to choose the Tokyo Expressway? This is Gran Turismo, after all! It just feels right to start somewhere in Japan. And there it is – the song listing below. It’s called Vroom…really? I have no idea if I should know who The FanaTiX is (sorry I’m getting old), but I know Idris Elba. There is an inspired touch to the song that gives the whole thing an instantly likable quality.
Simply called Vroom, you can guess the theme of the song. Vroom has lyrics about driving Maseratis, Bugattis, Mustangs, you get the idea. Even before Elba starts rapping, it’s catchy. A chorus of “Vroom, vroom, vroom” might not be the smartest of lyrics, but it sticks in your head. Then Elba’s low notes emerge and rap off seeing him in a variety of cool high-end cars. You’ll end up smiling at how charming it is (not unlike the actor himself), but when you hit the track for the first time? It’s immediately wondrous.
There are relatively few moments in gaming where everything clicks perfectly and you feel pure bliss. This is one of them. With Idris Elba rapping away, you accelerate a little harder, try to take that curve more rhythmically than before, and just lose yourself in the moment. Whatever you think of the game’s neediness (which I love too), the people in the cafe who keep giving you new things to aim for, or the rather cold exterior of it all, the driving experience is breathtaking. Combined with this pleasant but ridiculous track? It’s a moment that will probably stay with you for a while. For me it definitely has. The moment I hear the track, a smile breaks out on my face and I want to pick up my PS5 again.
Download at: https://www.eurogamer.net/games-of-2022-gran-turismo-7-had-the-best-musical-interlude-from-idris-elba