Gran Turismo 7 review: PS heaven


A quarter of a century ago, Gran Turismo set a new benchmark for visual fidelity on PlayStation. Even then, a casual observer – standing a few feet away and admittedly not looking closely – could mistake the replays for live footage of an actual race.

Now, 25 years later, the latest installment of Kazunori Yamauchi’s acclaimed series redoubles the mission he set for himself in 1997 – “to convey the fascination and culture of cars”.

Yamauchi structures GT7 in a similar way to the very first installment of its long-running game. Giving you the motor equivalent of a golf buggy, he forces you to learn the basics of racing – acceleration, braking, cornering and overtaking – while he drips ever-faster machines into your garage.

Along the way, you’ll learn how to beef up the innards of any engine until, say, this golf buggy becomes a fire-breathing, road-burning rocket.

All the usual pesky GT tropes return here: the patience-testing license attempts, the reliably awful jazz and soft rock soundtrack, the obstinate refusal to damage model cars (blame the license terms set by the automakers). GT7 isn’t about fun per se. If you want crazy stunts, crazy minigames or fantasy vehicles, try Forza Horizon, try Rocket League. But if you crave a realistic, challenging, and authentic driving experience, Yamauchi is your man.

Gran Turismo has oscillated between overcrowded and underserved over the years (GT6 from 2013 and GT Sport from 2017 respectively). In GT7, Yamauchi offers a compelling 400 cars and 90 track layouts in the highest fidelity ever seen on PlayStation, presented as an undying declaration of love for the automobile. On track during the race, 4K graphics may not be best-in-class on all platforms. Still, Californian sunlight bounces beguilingly off the hoods as you speed across Laguna Seca Raceway, or a misty wall veils the tarmac as you nervously drive through Brands Hatch in the rain. But in those static moments in the garage or during replays with ray tracing enabled, the level of detail really jumps between your eyes.

Audio plays a big part, the squeal of your tires conveying just how little rubber there is between your 150 mph car and an encounter with a concrete barrier. Each engine sounds subtly different, from a growling V8 Mustang to a whispering electric Tesla.

Because Yamauchi is a professional racer himself, the driving model shows all the nuances we’ve come to expect and more. Surface, speed, tires, weight and aggression all affect how the car reacts when you throw it around the track. Front-wheel drives feel different than rear-wheel machines. Best of all, the PS5’s DualSense controller communicates all this information better via its vibration and trigger sensitivity.

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Gran Turismo always takes itself too seriously, but GT7 gives it a touch of personality with its campaign mode, in which café owner Luca tasks you with winning a tranche of cars in specific races. Luca radiates enthusiasm and is happy to tell you snippets about the history of the machines and their makers. But other characters – like the rival racers based on real-life esports competitors – come out with pathetic dialogue that lacks passion or imagination.

GT7 feels like a natural extension of everything Yamauchi has been doing since 1997. Yes, it’s too butt-faced for its own good (though less so than before). Yes, it sucks that without damage modeling you can still use cars other than tracks to cheat your way around corners (however, this will affect your rating in multiplayer). And no, this jazzy menu music is annoying again and again.

Your mileage will vary wildly on PS4 and many players used to the indulgent ferocity of racers like DiRT will find this a little dry.

But at least on PS5, the technological improvements put GT7 into higher gear. There are almost no load times, controller feedback says a lot more about the road-to-car connection, and visual fidelity can be stunning even at warp speeds.

Petrolheads, car nerds and simulation fans will find what they are looking for in PS heaven.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/games/gran-turismo-7-review-horsepower-heaven-41407575.html Gran Turismo 7 review: PS heaven

Fry Electronics Team

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