Gran Turismo 7 by developers Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment marks the 8th instalment in the GT series. This title has been eagerly anticipated by PS5 gamers everywhere due to its advertised ray tracing and haptic feedback features.
Gran Turismo 7 – As Real as it Gets?
Does GT7 live up to the hype? Is this the best GT in the series? Read on to see what we made of it! If you enjoy my articles make sure to check out my others here.
The last iteration, GT Sport, looked and played amazingly well on the PS4 Pro that I had. I remember being so impressed with the level of detail that had been put into it. It’s funny how you move on to the next game, see ground breaking changes in graphics and controls, and get blown away once more.
GT7 introduces itself to you amazingly well. The intro alone has your hairs on end as it runs through the history of the automobile with iconic events highlighting the era. Once you have finished taking it all in you will be grateful to know that there is not a test, there is however a brief Music Rally track to participate in.
Straight into the seat of a very shiny 356 Speedster ’56, you navigate the Alsace track accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as they play a medley of upbeat classics. A bit like a highly refined Outrun, you extend your time on the track by going through checkpoints. Sadly there is no Splash Wave track.
Once you have gone as far as the timer allows you, you are given an award and you can enter the GT7 main world map. The tutorial is a very long but thorough affair that leaves you with no doubt of what you need to do and how to do it. I must say, for any newcomer the experience on offer is very welcoming.
Previous gamers to the franchise will recognise the License Centre where you compete in short lessons in order to unlock a prize car based on whether you obtain bronze or gold trophies. The skills that you learn are vital in making you a better racer. You will find that the licenses become more important to have as the game progresses, otherwise you will not be able to compete in certain races.
The single-player aspect of GT7 is a very lovable affair as you pickup “menus” to complete from the local café and then head off to compete in various races in order to win what is on the “menu”, i.e a car. For every menu that you complete you unlock new tracks as well as be rewarded by a spin on the roulette wheel. It’s your chance to win some cash, parts or even a new car.
The driving experience has you driving various slow and fast vehicles of all different calibres such as front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive in both dry and wet conditions. There is certainly something for everyone be it drifting, sprinting or taking corners with the precision of a needle. Each race only took a few minutes and consisted of around 2 to 3 laps, perfect if you don’t have too much time but fancy a quick race.
The tutorial introduces you to customising your vehicle, something I never really got into before however, it can be as technical as you want it to be. If you come from the Need for Speed style games then you will enjoy the simplicity of buying upgrades such as air filters, suspension and turbos while watching your BHP climb and Performance Points (PP) rise. The PP system, something that always makes us laugh at TC due to the fact we are very immature, is how the cars are ranked in performance. Simply put, the bigger your PP, the better the performance.
The customisation doesn’t stop at tweaking parts. You can download or create your own custom liveries and apply them to your car, unleashing your creativity is pretty fun. Once you have the hang of the controls it really doesn’t take too long to knock something up. There is a massive choice of paint styles to choose from so let your inner Bob Ross go wild!
Progression through the tutorial opens a fun feature called Missions. Slightly similar to the license races you are set a sequence of challenges, against AI vehicles. These tantalizing affairs are rated by spiciness, yes they really do have chillies on the screen. They serve to take you out of your comfort zone and into all types of vehicles, tracks and terrains. Your reward for completing them is a vehicle depending on whether you achieve bronze or gold.
As you accrue in-game credits you can spend your winnings on upgrades, used cars or new cars from Brand Central or Legend Cars. Here lies the issue of affording the cars. Where before you were gifted cars for completing your daily workout or other achievements, here you are not so lucky. After spending £70 on a game you are then almost forced to undertake microtransactions if you want to buy a luxury car. With races giving you around 20K of credits you can see that many people will shortcut the very long grind in order to have a car that will blitz the opposition in multiplayer. With 2 million credits costing £15.99 in the PS store and the Maclaren F1’94 costing 18.5 million, you would need to spend over £140 in order to own it! Now, not every car costs that, however an Aston Martin Vulcan ’16 will set you back 3.3 million while a LaFerrari ’13 is 1.6 million. It’s a bloody long grind!
The driving of the vehicles in GT7 is amazing. On the Dualsense controller, the haptics feels brilliant. Every knock, wheelspin and lockup is felt with surprising accuracy. Your immersion into the game is aided by the lush combination of surround sound, fantastic raytraced visuals and the feeling at your fingertips. It doesn’t stop there though. With a supported steering wheel, I have the Logitech G29, you can jump into your racing chair and really get behind the wheel of these extraordinary cars. I got so immersed by the visuals that at one point I all of a sudden panicked that I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt!
Oversteer, understeer, drifting, braking and acceleration all feel different in every one of the cars that you race in. It takes a while to go from one type of vehicle to another but it is very rewarding when you start to build up the confidence to brake that little bit later into a corner and know how the car will react.
Those of you wishing to jump straight into multiplayer will be in for a shock. You need to play for around 3 hours in order to unlock that aspect of the game. Now while this can seem like a long time, it flies by and your car collection will be nice and healthy by the time you are ready to join your friends. I found the time to go quite quickly once you have your head down going through the tutorial.
Sadly the multiplayer element is where GT7 falls down. Although here you can either race split-screen locally against a friend or join/host an online lobby, the latter has issues. Unlike GT Sport where you can create lobbies and merrily edit the track, settings and classes on the fly, here you have to set up the race prior to launching the room. Your options are very limited once you are live. This causes issues as your lobby fills up as well as when a race has finished. You cannot simply get a new track-ready while your new lobby friends sit and wait. The room has to be closed and a new one created. There is also no set class for road cars, it is anything. GT Sport had road cars filtered down to A, B and C cars based on performance. Here you cant do any of that. So your mini can be up against a Lambo. While you can set the maximum PP of the cars, the class system was a better way to do it. Another aspect that you will discover while online racing is some form of latency. This causes the opponent cars to seemingly jitter around the track, on occasion this makes it hard to get a clean pass as they are flitting from side to side. Sadly after after 3 weeks it still hasn’t been fixed.
Finally, there is of course the Scapes mode. I was really surprised by the sheer number of locations that you can shoot your photographic cars at! Even the most basic photographer can take a picture that will really turn heads thanks to the incredible fidelity of the graphics. For the more advanced you can filter down through all of the camera elements as well as apply filters and motion to get that action shot. Either way, the end product is very realistic.
Graphics & Audio
GT7 looks amazing. It is truly an eyeopener to the world of PS5. Running in 4K at 60fps the light bounces from your shiny bodywork while the cars in front serve to dazzle you as the sun reflects into your eyes. The level of detail is really something else. Not only are the cars looking beautiful but the tracks and serene landscapes that you are careering through look just as brilliant.
When the dynamic weather and day cycling occurs it really is seamless. You hardly notice that it is getting dark until you realise that your headlights have come on. As it begins to rain the road surface begins to get a little greasy as your wiper blades spring into life. Slowly you see the track get damper whilst the spray coming from the tyres begins to increase.
The sound quality of each of the cars is unique and identifiable at an instant. From the iconic rumbling of the flat 4 Subaru engine to the rasp of the Ferrari, you will know exactly what is chasing you down the track!
A huge playlist of tracks accompanies you during the menus and on the racing screens. Ranging from alternate jazz and trance to progressive r&b there is something for everyone. Thankfully it doesn’t sound too much like lift music as it did in GT Sport.
You can see that just unlocking all of the areas on the world map takes some time. The menus will certainly keep your lust going in order to obtain more cars into your growing library. With the License Centre and Missions to also keep you going there is a lot to do in single player. Multiplayer certainly opens another world up and yes we have all had some fun here. It’s just a shame that it isn’t running as smoothly as I would like.
GT7 is a must-have for anyone who loves racing games. It looks amazing and plays beautifully well. You can make it as easy or challenging as you would like it to make it enjoyable. Yes, I have brake zones and corner points showing but I haven’t learned the tracks very well yet!
It’s a shame that there seems to be a massive emphasis on microtransactions. I am very anti these as I would prefer winning cars through races or at least having a shot at gaining the in-game currency through hard work. For me, it has ruined what should be a rewarding moment when you finally get that car of your dreams.
Here’s what some of the other Thumb Culture writers had to say about GT7:
“Gran Turismo 7 is the first Gran Turismo I have picked up in a long time. I was sceptical due to a lot of the AAA releases flopping so I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. It contained all the elements that make a Gran Turismo feel like a Gran Turismo. The only thing that falls a bit flat for me, was multiplayer. However, this could potentially be fixed at a later date with patching.
The one thing that did wow me about GT7 is the graphics, with ray tracing on, sit back and enjoy the cut scenes in their most glorious ways. Gran Turismo has never looked as good. Every little detail from the exterior to the interior has been meticulously developed and you can certainly see the amazing effort put into the assets.” Dan
“GT7 returns back to the standard Gran Turismo formula, Gone is the focus on online racing but staying is your car collection drug. Yes, that’s right, from manufacturers all over the world, cars upon cars are here! Added though is the ability to customise these cars with a slightly new look. Each car handles itself totally differently which you would expect from a title with the long traditions of Polyphony. Yes, it’s not perfect, there are a few bits and pieces that could do with being added or changed, but it’s a great return to greatness with Gran Turismo 7” Stu
Gran Turismo 7 scores an impressive Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.