Release Date: March 3, 2022
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Series: Gran Turismo
Mode: Multiplayer video game
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Designer: Kazunori Yamauchi
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genres: Sim racing, Sports video game, Vehicle simulation game
"Review Copy Provided By PlayStation"
When it comes to racing simulation, there are two titles that come to mind and these two are also the kings of the genre that have not been dethroned: Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo. Both are exclusive to the Xbox and PlayStation platforms respectively and both offer you the best in racing simulation that you’re likely to find, and while there are similarities between the two; there are also substantial differences that give them both their own unique feels and personalities. Forza has had nonstop releases for the last decade and a half (not including its original series’ being Project Gotham Racing) with it alternating between the Motorsport and Horizon subseries while Gran Turismo stopped it’s level of frequent releases in 2013 when it released Gran Turismo 6 on the PlayStation 3 and only released one GT entry on the PlayStation 4 being Gran Turismo Sport which released in 2017 and focused more on competitive online and esports which was either a hit or miss depending on who you talk to. Here we are in 2022 with the release of another entry in the GT franchise with Gran Turismo 7; is it the return of the king or is it a divisive title the likes of GT Sport? Let’s find out!
To say Gran Turismo 7 feels like a complete breath of fresh air for the series is an understatement as this is the first game to truly build upon the foundations built in GT 6 and the eSports feel of GT Sport while crafting it all into its own unique identity. Starting off with the controls, it’s the absolute smoothest I’ve ever felt for the franchise with the game taking full advantage of the Dual Sense’s Haptic Triggers providing a deep level of immersion unlike any racing game out there and the Haptic Feedback allowing you to feel every aspect of the terrain that you are driving over be it a paved track, off-road with rocks and rubble, and slippery water filled tracks and more.
The Dual Sense also allows you to play the game using motion controls by tilting your controller if that’s more your flavor. You can also utilize the directional pad on the Dual Sense if you wanted a more rigid feeling to your controls. By default, your controls are set to movement being the left stick with acceleration being R2 and reverse being Triangle. The camera perspective shift is controlled by pressing R1 which lefts you shift between 3rd person outside the car, in the driver’s seat complete with seeing your arms and the interior of the car you’re in, and finally to a full-on first-person perspective (which is my personal favorite viewpoint). If you have a racing wheel or setup such as the Logitech G923 or the Thrustmaster T248 then you can get further immersed and feel almost 1-1 what its like to drive each vehicle.
Upon starting up the game, you’re given the option of diving into World Map or Music Rally. Music Rally has you selecting one of several music tracks from artists like Idris Elba and daiki kasho with you needing to reach the finish line by passing through music check points which add to your timer which continues to countdown. It’s quite the arcade feeling mode with the music being affected based on how close the timer is to 0.
World Map has you creating a Nickname and is basically the campaign or career mode of the game. You’ll need to select your Race Difficulty with the options being Easy, Normal, and Hard. If this is your first GT or you’re getting into racing sims then I’d recommend you dive into Easy difficulty whereas Normal is a good starting point if you’re used to racing games but still not the most comfortable with racing sims, and finally there’s Hard Difficulty which turns this into a pure simulation racer with no assistance.
Once you’ve finished your settings, then you’re off to select a starting car and will be tasked with finishing races within the top 3 spots will earn you a new car to add to your collection. The Café is your central hub for talking to Luca and getting new races to collect cars and compete in various races and open more aspects of the game and win Roulette Tickets which can land you some nifty bonuses and new and rare cars. Entering the Showcase allows you to watch various replays and look at photos taken from other drivers the world over while World Circuits allows you to compete in various tracks from the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Oceania as well as Championships. GT Sport Mode also returns from Gran Turismo Sport with a similar setup as that game.
Tuning shop allows you to use your Credits to purchase various parts for your car such as new tires, suspension, muffler, weight reduction, and more. Brand Central is your one stop shop for purchasing newer cars while you can head over to used cars to get a car at a decent price. There are well over 420 cars in this game with over 90 tracks, so you’ll never get bored with this game.
Per series tradition, you can go to the License section to get more licenses and earn some credits which helps to unlock more to the game.
Graphically, Gran Turismo 7 incorporates dynamic weather and lighting which was missing from GT Sport along with offering some of the best graphics in not just a racing title but also any game out there with the game running at 4K 60FPS with High Dynamic Range and Raytracing which is just jaw dropping. My starting car was a 2014 Honda Fit Hybrid which is a car I actually own in real life and with how detailed everything in the game is from the cars to their interiors and the environments and more just make you feel like you’re actually there in the world of Gran Turismo. The game takes full advantage of the PS5’s hardware by giving you access to 3D spatial audio and takes full advantage of that fast hard drive.
So, what are the downsides of this entry? None. This is a true return to form for this fabled franchise and Polyphony Digital and Kazunori Yamauchi have delivered in every way shape and form.
If you are looking for a definitive simulation racer to sink your teeth into then Gran Turismo 7 is the game for you. Gran Turismo 7 offers you everything you could ask for in a racer with an insanely large number of cars, limitless customization, a largely diverse set of tracks to choose from, a compelling single player campaign and engaging arcade mode, and one of the absolute best online racing experiences you’re likely to have this side of Forza. If you own a PS5 or PS4 and are a racing gear head, then Gran Turismo 7 is a must own title and a celebration of the series that changed the racing simulation world over the last 25 years.