Reviews

Gran Turismo 7 Review - Back On Track

Featured

8.5

Review

Gran Turismo 7

Developer

Polyphony Digital

Publisher

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Reviewed On

PS5

Genres

Racing

MSRP

$69.99

Review copy provided by the publisher

March 11, 2022

There are many racers out there to choose from, but the one most synonymous with the PlayStation brand is Gran Turismo and the critically acclaimed series is now back again with Gran Turismo 7.

Gran Turismo got its start on the original PlayStation back in 1997 and showcased what a simulation racing game could really do on home consoles.

The series seemed to drop a bit in quality during the PS3 generation and that continued into the contentious Gran Turismo Sport on PS4. It seems developer Polyphony Digital took past criticisms to heart and now the latest entry has arrived off the assembly line with the brand new Gran Turismo 7.

  • MORE: Find out what was fixed in the March 10 update for Gran Turismo 7.

Gran Turismo 7 is a very unique entry in the series, as it is the first multi-console outing for the franchise by releasing on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. For the purposes of our review, we played the superior PS5 version that really did not feel held back by making concessions due to the game also being released on PS4.

To start, Gran Turismo 7 on PS5 looks the best that the series has ever looked without question, as the cars look photorealistic and the environments are very beautiful, albeit typically only being seen at higher speeds as you race around the track. The lighting on the cars and tracks is superb and continually stands out throughout the game. One feature that feels like it should have been implemented though was that of car damage based on ramming into other vehicles as you see in the Forza games, but here the cars remain pristine no matter what you do with them.

One of the most important aspects of a racing game visually is how it handles weather effects and Gran Turismo 7 handles this expertly. This was already a standout in GT Sport and it carries over here as well, but it’s not just in the visual department.

The development team also did a fantastic job at taking real-life meteorological data from each area for the various tracks in the game to provide the most accurate weather for each location, even down to the placement of the sun at certain times of day and what parts of the track will puddle up versus others as a result of the sun when it has been raining. This is really next-level stuff when it comes to weather physics in a racer and it greatly elevates Gran Turismo 7 overall.

You can’t talk about a racing game without discussing the driving physics, which the Gran Turismo series has always been known for over the years. As you would expect, Gran Turismo 7 continues the grand tradition of stellar car handling and tight controls that make you feel like you are really driving the vehicles while also not getting in the way of you having a great time.

the haptic feedback takes things to the next level by making it actually feel like you are hitting the sides of the track.

The internal SSD within the PS5 also allows for incredibly fast load times, which is something that past entries have struggled with. This next-gen version also allows you to choose between prioritizing frame rate or Ray Tracing as well, with each being well worth trying out. The only semi-disappointing part here though is that Ray Tracing is only available outside of races themselves, but it does make sense that you would want to have the silky smooth 60fps frame rate during the actual races, which is possible in 4K on PS5.

Perhaps the best PS5 exclusive feature though is the haptic feedback provided by the DualSense controller. The vibration feature has always been very important in this series, but the haptic feedback takes things to the next level by making it actually feel like you are hitting the sides of the track. In addition, the haptic feedback also provides different feels when braking depending on the car you are using. This adds a lot to the overall experience and actually helps to distinguish between different cars in yet another way.

Gran Turismo 7’s main area is known as the World Map, which is filled with numerous locations that will be important on your journey. Outside of the World Circuits location that houses the races themselves, you will have to be connected online to access anything in the game, including the game’s campaign mode.

The Garage is your hub for most of your post-acquisition car needs in Gran Turismo 7, which is a place you will be visiting quite often. Car Settings have always been a major part of the Gran Turismo series, as tuning and making adjustments to your car can be the key to winning races. However, this is still very complicated and can be pretty daunting for the more casual players that are not used to options like this in their racing games.

The Car Collection is also housed here and lets you view your full roster of collected cars in the game compared to all of the ones that are available. This includes useful tools to sort by things like country, manufacturer, and even year. One cool aspect is that the cars you have not acquired yet are still included as silhouettes, so this can help you figure out what types of cars to aim to get even if they are mere silhouettes.

Collecting all of the cars in Gran Turismo 7 would probably feel a bit monotonous if there was no structure to it, but thankfully the game has its own campaign mode associated with collecting a number of them. This is done through the Cafe in the game, where you are given Menu Books that give you tasks such as obtaining a specific set of cars, tuning a specific type of car, finishing at the top of certain events, and much more.

That is not all though, as the Menu Books at the Cafe teach you a lot about the history of the automobile industry, which is something that fits right in with the Gran Turismo series. This will teach you about a variety of different cars that are based around the ones you collected for that Menu Book, which features a lot of interesting facts. The only downside here is that it is all text-based when this part could have definitely used some actual voiceover segments to add a little more life to it. Even so, the information is still interesting enough for auto enthusiasts.

In total, there are more than 400 cars to collect in Gran Turismo 7, which felt kind of lacking compared to a series like Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon that have featured over 700 and 500 in their last two entries respectively. It also can feel like a major grind to get a lot of them beyond the ones you can earn via Menu Books, as the pace you earn credits in-game is very slow.

Gran Turismo 7 is a welcome return for the series after the lackluster GT Sport, even though there are some flaws that are mostly associated with microtransactions.

This is made even worse by the inclusion of microtransactions in the form of being able to buy additional credits. This makes players feel like they need to spend real money due to the minimal credits earned while playing, especially when struggling in some of the tougher races in the game where you need better cars. The way it is handled in the game itself feels predatory by how quickly the game reminds you that you can “top-up on PlayStation Store” when you don’t have enough to purchase a car, which really should not be the case in a full-price game like this.

Completely new to the series in this iteration is a game mode known as Music Rally, which is a fun addition to the series. In this mode, music will start playing and the goal is to keep driving until the song ends, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. That’s because you have a counter that is counting down the entire time, which means you have to reach certain checkpoints to get additional time to be able to make it to the end. The music selection is limited to only six songs as of launch, but there are more promised to come in the future. This is definitely the most casual of game modes in the game, so your mileage may vary on how much you can get into it or not.

Gran Turismo 7 is a welcome return for the series after the lackluster GT Sport, even though there are some flaws that are mostly associated with microtransactions. The visuals and racing physics are top-notch as always and the game’s unique campaign that teaches you about the history of the automotive industry will keep car enthusiasts and newbies alike engaged for hours as they play through Gran Turismo 7.

Reviews
Dean James
@DJamesSC

Dean (He/Him) has been a lifelong gamer ever since he got a SNES as his first game system and has continued to stay passionate about gaming ever since. He has always had a soft spot for most anything Nintendo, especially related to The Legend of Zelda and Mario series. Beyond that, he loves a variety of different games across all platforms, ranging from RPGs like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts to sports titles like MLB The Show.

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