Gran Turismo is one of those games that I’ve had a funny on and off relationship with since the series first debuted on the original PlayStation all the way back in 1997. A lot of the issue I had with the “Real Driving Simulator” series comes from the fact that deep down, I’m not much of a car fanatic… Shocking I know. However, it has never stopped me from picking the games up every now and again to drive around replications of some of the most famous race tracks from around the world with some of the best-looking car models that the generation’s graphics can replicate. With Gran Turismo 7, I think I’ve found the best of the best, something that really stands up to the phrase “Real Driving Simulator“.
Name: Gran Turismo 7 Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 Developer: Polyphony Digital Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Game Type: Sim racing Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer Release Date: March 4, 2022
Race the Uncanny Valley (Graphics)
Let’s get to the meat of the matter from the very beginning: Gran Turismo 7 is a BEAUTIFUL game. Even on the PlayStation 4 basic (Not the PlayStation 4 Pro, because I don’t have one of those, I have just the basic original launch editions) Gran Turismo 7 stands out as one beautiful game, a real testament to the effort that Polyphony Digital put into every inch of Gran Turismo 7 for everyone to enjoy.
It’s no surprise that Gran Turismo 7 is just an amazing game to look at, from the reflections that are made through the paintwork of the cars, the puddles on the ground after it rains, to the rear-vision mirror, everything that can display an image does just that… Hell, even the chrome in the wheels reflects the smallest detail of the world you are driving through. Through your adventures in the 3 regions of the world of Gran Turismo 7, you will see everything from amazing cities, to a tree and flower-filled countrysides, to some of the world’s best racing tracks, all recreated and created in such spectacular detail that you forget that you are playing a simple $70 video game and not spending time in some simulator rig worth ten thousand times that price.
It’s not just the outsides of the cars in Gran Turismo 7 that show amazing detail, it’s everything that the car has to offer and more. During some of the racer replays, it is worth taking a moment to pause some shots just to see things like the shine on the leather seats, the wood grain on the dashboard, and even the fibers on the racing suit your character is wearing has been created with such care and dedication that it is really hard to put all this into words. Then there are the world effects, which have things like beautiful sunny days, changing to rain and hail-soaked roads just moments later with puddles appearing on the ground, though not every track features this dynamic weather effect. Also, you have driven at night, something that will give you even more challenge in the races while making sure you have a really minimal vision while driving at night.
Gran Turismo 7 is a game that you HAVE to play and experience for yourself in order to appreciate the incredible graphical detail that has been put into the game.
The REAL Driving Simulator (Gameplay)
At its heart, Gran Turismo 7 boasts itself to be the “real racing simulator” and man it really lives up to that tag line. However, since this is Gran Turismo we’re talking about, a game that has set this standard for 25 years. So to say that Gran Turismo 7 is the best racing and overall car simulator I’ve played since Gran Turismo 2 is really saying something. I know a lot of Forza fans are going to get upset with that statement, so I’ll add this: Gran Turismo 7 is the best racing and car simulator for PlayStation that has come along in a long time. Forza does a lot of good things on the Xbox, and I play it often, but getting time with Gran Turismo 7 really shows that the two can be competitors while being worlds apart. Where Forza is all about fast cars and doing pretty much anything on the race track, Gran Turismo 7 is all about refinement, fine-tuning, and making the racing world everything YOU want it to be. The depth of the tuning and upgrades for cars in Forza can’t even touch the outline of what Gran Turismo 7 does with their game. If you want to tune anything, then you can. You want to buy a Subaru WRX and fine-tune the shit out of it so that only you can drive it, then you can do that.
Then there is the actual racing itself. Gran Turismo 7 has a total of 33 tracks, taking both from real-life tracks like Daytona, Mount Panorama, Nurburgring, and Red Bull Ring; to all new game-only tracks like Blue Moon Bay Speedway, Dragon Trail, and Special Stage Route X. Each track has been designed to push your controller driving skills to the limit. Speaking of controllers, you get 3 different ways to control your vehicle: Using the left control stick, the Right/Left control buttons, and using the whole controller like a steering wheel. You can also pick between 3 different styles of accelerator and brake combinations too, but why anyone would pick anything other than the L2/R2 combo is beyond me.
From here, you can take on the tracks as you unlock them through a sort of “story” mode which guides you through each mode of Gran Turismo 7 and mostly gives you challenges via the Cafe, which gives you special menu books that make you do things like pass license tests and collect series of cars. While collecting cars is a fun thing to do in Gran Turismo 7, I’ve come to find that once again, the licensing system that is used to unlock car classes is just frustrating. This licensing system, which has been the bane of my personal existence since the original Gran Turismo in 1997, once again appears to screw me and everyone else over with its super tight requirements and conditions. In an era where people are talking about accessibility in games, to see this holdover of a bygone era continue to exist is a pain in the ass… Especially when you actually have fun with it when you see your friend’s times on the Friends Leaderboard and you get competitive about it for hours on end… Damn you Gran Turismo 7 for actually making a shitty system fun!
But what is Gran Turismo 7 without the cars? Nothing. This is why you have something like over 400 different cars to unlock, upgrade, tune, and race in Gran Turismo 7. There are over 60 real-life car brands represented in the game, giving you a wide choice of cars from Minis, sports, concept, and more to choose from and race. As you’ve read above, all of these are represented in the best graphics a car game can offer in this new generation, pushing the limits of the PlayStation 5 from the outset.
Hear that Engine Purr (Sound)
It’s not often that we look, or more listen, to the sound of a game, but with Gran Turismo 7, you really need to listen to the game in order to appreciate the overall experience.
Gran Turismo 7 takes a lot of care in how each car sounds while you drive it around the track. From the revving of the engine from a stopped start, to how the tires screech as you turn a corner, to hear the difference in gears as they change as you accelerate and decelerate. Sound plays a bigger role in Gran Turismo 7 than you would think, as hearing the difference in the performance of your car is the difference between knowing if you tuned your car correctly or having some more work to do in the workshop.
Then there is the music. Gran Turismo 7 has a lot of music ranging from Rock, Electronica, Classical, and much more. This is highlighted in the very interesting “Music Rally” mode, where you race other cars through checkpoints and increase the amount of time you get to drive (Think Arcade-style like Daytona USA) to a music track. You start out Gran Turismo 7 in “Music Rally” mode where you get to drive to a mixture of Electronica remixes of Classical music, with the timer increasing till the song finishes playing. It’s a great way to introduce players to Gran Turismo 7 and also show off something that a lot of games have forgotten about: the sound.
Drive Me All Day and Night Long (Replayability)
Gran Turismo 7 is a game that has been designed to be played many times over, with most of the tracks, cars, and credits being unlocked through multiple playthroughs of the races. Sure, there are variations of each race, with more opening up as you progress through both the “story” and through the license mechanics. The depth that is available for car tuning fanatics is something that no other racing game even attempts to do. However, this comes at a cost, a push to a real-life cost. Unfortunately, Gran Turismo 7 has made the dreaded move to overpriced microtransactions using the credits system. Yes, you can grind the living hell out of Gran Turismo 7 and buy every car in the game, but the rate at which those credits get given to you is at such a small drip-feed, and most of the cars costing in the millions, if not tens-of-millions of credits just to unlock, but then all the performance and parts that increase your car and help you fine-tune the machines to god-like levels also costs a lot of credits, so the temptation to buy a few million credits at $20 looks really good instead of grinding a race for 15,000 credits at a time.
Gran Turismo 7 plays like a dream game, with the best of past Gran Turismo titles and Gran Turismo Sports being brought together to create the perfect racing simulator. Given how detailed you can get in the workshop, tuning everything from timing belts, to gear shifts, and everything else inside and under every car. Gran Turismo 7 comes off as a car buff’s dream no matter if you’re a racing fan, a mechanic, or just someone who wants to pass all those license tests with gold trophies. Gran Turismo 7 provides a little something for everyone.
A Game for the Real Car Fanatic (Closing)
Gran Turismo 7, as I’ve mentioned a few times in this review, is a car fanatic’s dream game. From doing everything under the bonnet to racings on some of the most beautiful recreations of real race tracks ever made for a video game, Gran Turismo 7 is what car fans need in their lives. Competition in Gran Turismo 7 goes from both local racing against the computer, to beating your friend’s times on the leaderboard of the license tests, making things get more addicting and competitive from all over the world and in your own lounge room. Gran Turismo 7 is such a good game that I’ll end it with this: If my partner, who rarely PLAYS video games, is wanting to spend hours racing not only the computer to unlock some of the cars she will never own, but also pushing her time in the license tests in order to beat the times that Keith and I have set via our friends’ list, then Gran Turismo 7 is a must-own game.
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Gran Turismo 7 is probably the best racing simulation game on the market right now, something that every car fanatic needs to own. Gran Turismo 7 allows you to fine-tune everything from the motor, to the circuits, to the paint, and more. Everything can be made just the way you want it to be. Gran Turismo 7 is also the BEST looking game on the PlayStation 5… PERIOD. Everything is reflective, from the paint to the chrome on the wheel covers… It’s AMAZING. If you’re a racing fanatic, then this is the game for you.
The BEST graphics on PlayStation 5
A huge selection of cars and tracks
The deepest customization options ever
Slow unlocks and credit accumulation
Car and car parts price increase to push microtransactions