What’s the weirdest thing that got you excited about a video game reveal or announcement? Because people on Twitter lost their collective sanity when Gran Turismo 7 showed off a rather unspectacular-looking map screen when it was first unveiled, because die-hard GT fans thought it might mark the return of the ‘classic’ gran turismo after the competitive, esports-centric one Gran Turismo Sports. Moments later there was more celebration with some street shots featuring a much-loved classic Gran Turismo track. Then confirmation! Gran Turismo 7 – the real sequel fans have been waiting for for years – was on its way. Racing game Twitter was, as the saying goes, absolute limbs.
Gran Turismo 7 carries itself like an important, stylish affair. It’s a far cry from Forza Horizon’s Fortnite-esque noise and constant barrage of unlocks. The introductory sequence includes nods to things like reaching the South Pole, the birth of cinema, and even the gory Beatles, subtly suggesting that – perhaps – Gran Turismo is as important a cultural touchpoint as those things. Some would say confident, others might say it has its own bum well and truly. And Gran Turismo 7 is good, fair enough, but come on.
Once you’ve passed that self-indulgent intro, this classic GT map screen now acts as the hub for all the different elements of the game itself. Whether you’re buying new or used cars, fitting parts, tuning them up, or setting up single or multiplayer races, it all begins with the map screen. However – in what is probably the most controversial part of GT7 – before you get started you need to visit the GT Cafe. Here you get a menu of three cars linked by a make or type. For example, there are three Japanese FW cars racing and you need to compete in races to win them. Complete the menu, go back to the cafe and you’ll get your reward: a car, some money or maybe a token for the GT Roulette wheel. A quick history lesson on the cars you just won and you’re on to the next one.
The car has always been the star of the show in Gran Turismo and the collectible aspect has been given a bit of a ‘pokedex’ style touch – I found this quite compelling to fill in and while I’m not really into cars the encyclopedia offered here found it really worth a look for the information and history. The divisive aspect of this structure is that almost all content in Gran Turismo 7 is behind this progression. If you’re one of the people coming from GT Sport on this subject, you’ll have to invest a few hours to even unlock the ability to play online. This is an odd choice and will almost certainly frustrate hardcore sim racers looking for their next-gen solution to multiplayer competitive racing.
For those approaching GT7 from a more casual place, this allows for a very dense game to slowly feed you the content, gradually giving you access to more modes and features and explaining them without overwhelming you right away . There’s definitely a certain series reset vibe here, where beginners are taken by the hand and taken from racing a used street car, through customization, to those challenging license tests, with the end goal of getting you racing online for the aspects of the game that reflect GT Sport and this successful foray into the world of esports.
It’s a gorgeous looking game with replays that use ray tracing (albeit at 30fps). Actual racing prioritizes framerate and therefore doesn’t have ray tracing, but honestly it’s not something you’ll notice when you’re blasting along the Nordschleife at 200mph.
During the single track races and championships you’ll find that the AI drivers are all real Gran Turismo eSports competitors, so get used to the game, which was a big part of the GT focus in the last generation of consoles – and perhaps one that fans of the series who skipped GT Sport might not be aware of. Polyphony Digital’s end goal is to keep people playing long after they’re done with GT Cafe.
Of course, sim racing is pretty intimidating. People who got good at sim racing kept going Real life car racing, that’s the authenticity that’s on offer these days. There’s a fairly extensive range of support options, allowing gamers of all skill levels to enjoy what’s on offer here, but there are also some other smart features to help bridge the gap between the hardcore petrolhead and your average gamer. For example, no player is expected to understand what the parts that can be bought for the cars actually are or what they do, so Polyphony added a PP number to serve as a means of summarizing a car’s performance . Think of it as the power number in Destiny or the armor rating in an MMORPG.
Slap some pieces on the car and watch the number go up. Races have “Recommended PP Ratings” and you have the option of either buying a car that fits the bill or tweaking one you currently have until it gets a chance. For those who balked at how simple this all seems, fear not – you can always go into more detail on each part and hyper-tweak things until the setup is exactly how you want it, allowing you to squeeze out that extra bit of horsepower can from your chosen vehicle.
Outside of the campaign run by the cafe, there are many other things to do. The return scapes mode lets you photograph your engine against photogenic backgrounds. Sport mode returns too, with daily races and – eventually – proper GT league competitions. The multiplayer aspect was fairly limited prior to release, but the sessions that took place seemed very stable and followed the same plan as sports; Pick a race time, jump into the qualifying laps until the action begins. Visit the showrooms and buy a new car or keep an eye on the used car section for bargains. There’s even a legendary cars section where some famous pop culture cars are available at amazing prices. All of this will help you tick off entries on that car list and increase your Collector Rating, which in turn unlocks more content and more modes.
Even if you don’t feel like racing, everything you do feeds into this core car collection. If you want, just go to the cafe and talk to some regulars and learn about the history of some of the cars in your garage. There’s also the “Music Rally” where you try to cover as much distance as possible before the end of a song, which sounds strange but ties into Gran Turismo’s legacy of having fairly famous soundtracks. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t have any. In fact, the entire OST is pretty awful – can I legitimately deduct a score for a 2022 game not having a feeder in the soundtrack? It’s a bit of a shame that this aspect of GT history wasn’t given a little more love, but hey, those are licensing rights for you!
The use of Sony’s DualSense controller is particularly noteworthy. Aside from a few first-party efforts, the controller’s more extravagant features have been a bit overwhelming, but Gran Turismo 7 more than makes up for the past year – it’s relentless! Every dent in the road, every gear change, even the sensation of a sponge running across the bonnet is felt in the brake pads or the triggers. The off-road rally tracks are absolutely ridiculous!
This also goes well with the new weather system. A rainy day can affect a race massively and on one occasion (where I got a little cocky at Brands Hatch and tried to do an extra lap on hard race tires in the wet), I did felt The car’s handle slipped from under me as I slipped into oblivion. That feeling, impossible to describe until you feel it, actually helps improve your racing because it conveys what’s actually going on with your car so much more effectively than anything visual. It’s not a substitute for a decent wheel setup, but given that’s how most players play GT7, the DualSense integration is actually quite impressive and definitely enhances the experience.
After the now-accustomed delays, Gran Turismo 7 is here in time for the celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary, and celebrating is a fair way to look at it – it feels like a true “best of” of all things Gran Turismo. From the apparent shift back to a more single-player (sorry) campaign, the series’ standard graphics, and the incorporation of the competitive edge of sports, this blend of the distant and recent history of one of the greatest racing series games should once again climb to the pinnacle of the genre .
One can perhaps describe Gran Turismo 7 simplistically as “GT Sport with a single player component”. But since that was all it took for GT Sport to be an absolutely stellar racing game, this is a must-read for hardcore racing fans and the kind of game that’s so good it could actually turn a few casual gamers into true petrolheads of their own .
https://www.vg247.com/gran-turismo-7-review Gran Turismo 7 Review: The Birth of a New Generation of Petrolheads