Gran Turismo, the racer’s RPG, returns with the seventh entry in this long-running series – as long as you at least stick to the numbers. Our Gran Turismo 7 review gave the game a 9, not least thanks to the stunning graphics. Polyphony has always strived for photorealism, and thanks to the power of the PlayStation 5 it’s taken another leap here – particularly when it comes to ray tracing, although this comes with some caveats that we’ll get to later. That’s not the only major innovation, however, as there’s now a fully dynamic weather and cloud simulation system in the engine, a welcome addition since the feature debuted in Driveclub many years ago. Doubly nice, it’s not exclusive to the PlayStation 5 version, meaning PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro players have nothing to be desired.
Ray tracing mode
The PlayStation 5’s ray tracing hardware allows Polyphony to increase the realism and accuracy of the car models and all materials. These were already compelling in GT Sport, and what we’re seeing here is an iteration or two up from that 2017 release. Building on that engine means there’s the same industry-leading HDR and lighting quality to deliver consistent and accurate cars and interiors to deliver, which convince, because they differ by excellent microfacet behavior and energy consumption properties. The physics-based materials used in Gran Turismo are some of the best in the business. These include Global Illumination for the bounce of light from one surface to another, as seen when a Honda Integra’s distinctive red bucket seats cast soft, diffused red hues onto the leather steering wheel or carbon fiber dashboard. The car’s various reflective surfaces reflect and absorb light differently, creating a realistic look that convinces us we’re dealing with chrome, leather, rubber, etc.
This is a strength of the Ray Traced Reflections used here, as they accentuate the micro facets of surfaces and allow highly uniform surfaces like a Mini’s chrome bumper to reflect objects around them. The improvements that Ray Traced Reflections bring can be transformative and are most easily seen in the garage view of cars, car interiors, and the scape movies. While they run in reps and can be beneficial in certain conditions, when cars are close together and reflecting each other, they can also go unnoticed in other sections, with road reflections, buildings, or even driver’s helmets, all based on dynamic cube-map reflection access or screen space reflections. As a testament to how good these methods are here, they do a convincing job of mimicking the same details for most players.
The PlayStation 5 also features other visual improvements over the PS4 and Pro versions. Self-shading is enhanced with far better and more accurate shadow filtering and ambient occlusion. This continues outdoors with much more shadow-casting objects, higher texture detail on grass, buildings and roads, and improved asset quality. Higher foliage is used with better shading and grounding within the world. All of these elements are cemented by the dynamic weather and cloud system, which allows the light to change drastically in all areas from sunny skies to overcast skies, rain and more. The volume of the clouds is better and, although a small boost over the last generation, the GPU is still taxed. The planar reflections used on car mirrors also have higher resolution, object density, and filtering. It adds up to a great looking game on PS4 and Pro, but one that can look significantly better on PlayStation 5 in certain sections, even in framerate mode thanks to these improvements.
All ray tracing is disabled in-game, regardless of the selection you make in the menu. Prioritize Ray Tracing ensures that car surface reflections are enabled in replays and track cuts, although this only includes the cars, and it reduces the frame rate to 30 fps when active. This changes dynamically during playback, with certain shots and interiors jumping between 30 and 60 fps. During the game itself, ray tracing is disabled, giving you the same performance as the second mode, Prioritize Framerate, which runs all sections – including replays – at 60fps with no ray tracing.
The other benefits of the PS5 improvements are all included in both modes, such as: B. the improved Ambient Occlusion, Foliage and Screen Space Reflections. It manages to keep both modes at a locked 3840 x 2160p output at all times, giving a very sharp and detailed picture even in action. This includes an additional per-pixel radial blur in gameplay, unique to PS5. The clean image greatly contributes to the strong impression the optics have, even though they resemble GT Sport.
The PS4 and PS4 Pro have a single mode that runs gameplay at 60 fps and all replays at 30 fps. The split between gameplay and replays makes sense as it allows them to maintain consistent image quality throughout and even makes the base PS4 look incredible. With a locked output of 1920 x 1080p, it’s really impressive considering the age of the hardware and the fidelity on offer. The Pro is a refined version of that, apart from a slight increase in foliage density and planar reflections, the biggest boost is in resolution. PS4 Pro offers an approximate output of 3200 x 1800p via a checkerboard pattern or reconstruction technique, just like GT Sport, which can show some shimmer and jitter in shadowing effects and highlights. The increase in pixel count is immediately apparent as it sharpens textures, thin elements and all high-frequency elements across the screen. Aside from those areas, however, the two PlayStation 4 consoles offer an identical and impressive package. That’s not to say the game doesn’t have weaker areas, though, as trackside detail, trees, and crowds can look flat and fall short upon closer inspection. This makes sense as these often fly by at over 150 mph and are covered in motion blur. But on some replay segments and track previews, these flaws can be noticeable and compared to the intricate details on the car models and interiors.
I’m happy to report that gameplay remains at 60 fps in all formats, as we saw in GT Sport 2017. The PlayStation 5 version delivers a solid 60fps across most of the game’s sections and tracks, allowing you to hone your racing skills with fast and consistent input response and a largely stable 60fps display. Dips into the mid-50s only occurred in intense scenarios, e.g. B. if you are in a rain-soaked field with 20 cars at the end of the field. This is still impressive considering how detailed the highly detailed cars are spread across millions of polygon layers, and it’s a worst-case scenario that doesn’t hint at most of the gameplay you’ll experience. The PS4 is similar, offering a fairly stable performance metric of 60 fps in most cases. There can be some rare 33ms frame jumps occasionally during races, and even those rain-soaked sections can also result in some mid-50s displays if you’re putting the machine under stress. Aside from those sections, however, it far more often delivers on target, which is equally, if not more, true for the pro. Again, dips can occur from time to time, with only the same load segments causing noticeable dips below that 60fps target power line.
Replays can be more problematic, with dips in all formats, be it 30 fps ray tracing or 60 fps in frame rate mode. These are worse at the start of a race, with a packed 20-car grid, depth of field, per-pixel motion blur, high-resolution particle fog, and other FX alongside more than 5000 auto-polygon models, each adding a heavy load on the GPU and CPU. Once these areas are clear, as the grid fans out, the power levels return to the target level. This is true across all formats, with each of the consoles having the most dips during replays, but the biggest cause is those crowded grid launches. However, since these are non-interactive elements of the game, the trade-off between visual fidelity and stable performance is probably the right choice here. When it comes to gameplay, I haven’t experienced poor performance in any format, and most of the time it hits that target. However, a fixed 30 or 60 fps should be the goal for a racing game, and I hope that at some point Polyphony can add a dynamic resolution scaling system that would solve most of these problems if and when they should arise. I doubt most would even notice the visual impact if they did.
Finally, load times. The PlayStation 5 really stretches its legs here, with races loading in under 4 seconds. The PS4 Pro is five times slower, with races loading in around 20 seconds. The distance to the PlayStation 4 is even greater – around 40 seconds loading time. Taking advantage of the PlayStation 5’s superior storage means you can be halfway through your first round before last-gen gamers even started their engines.
Gran Turismo 7 is a passionate, gas-powered show for Polyphony Digital that delivers a nostalgic return to the form of the Gran Turismo series. The technical tweaks and tweaks come in all the right places to deliver an incredible looking swan song for the PlayStation 4 generation, while improving and refining the new-gen experience thanks to ray tracing, near-instantaneous load times and other visual improvements that make it Gran Allowing Turismo 7 to shine as brightly as the team allows.
https://www.ign.com/articles/gran-turismo-7-ps5-vs-ps4-performance-review Gran Turismo 7: PS5 vs. PS4 performance review