Gran Turismo 7 Review

Aaaaah Gran Turismo 2. Someone set it up for a lunch break at school on a projector and everyone was blown away by how realistic it all looked. From then on many old ass gamers like me came to expect the gold standard with the Gran Turismo series. Amazing graphics, amazing racing, and getting an overpowered car so you could blitz through courses without any skill. The series was peak racing.  

Then came Gran Turismo Sport. Our only PS4 Gran Turismo game and it was … underwhelming. It supposedly got better post launch but I had tried, enjoyed it a bit, and moved on. I mean Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon had blown me away from the get go. With that being the case, why go back in case an average game got good.

Well now we have a PS5, and with it a Gran Turismo 7. All the pressure was on to deliver here, and for the most part, Polyphony has done so.

Jumping into the game I was met by some clunky menus as I tried to figure out how to play the warm up game Music Rally. This has you making your way through some races where the car, the song and the track have been pre-defined. It is a nice way to relax, enjoy some music, and get stuck back into the series. It had some weird things where it refers to beats, and the music timer pulses to a beat so I tried to figure out if I was supposed to do something with that, maybe tap accelerate. Nah, turns out that is nothing but flashy and you need to get to the end of the course as quickly as you can.

This is an incredibly minor annoyance, but it was an annoyance, and my first intro to the game. So it wasn’t a great start. Fortunately it gets way better.

Gran Turismo games have normally thrown you in the deep end. There is the list of races, you need the right car and right licenses and then you can get stuck in. Here you are guided a bit more. There is kind of a campaign feel to it where you visit a cafe and they provide a menu of cars to earn by doing certain races. This is how you unlock new tracks to tackle.

I like this for a few reasons. First of all the menus are themed and it tells you little stories about the cars you have unlocked and their places in motoring history. What this does is it gives a purpose to all the racs you are doing, which previously the games lacked. You kept racing because you wanted to keep racing. This is awesome and I certainly enjoy it, but it would have also been cool if the option was there to go and do the races the way the old games did. That way you can bounce between the styles of learning about the history, and enjoying race progression.

One other annoyance I found was that most of the races have a rolling start. So this means that when you take over the cars have all been driving already. This is cool for variation but I enjoy races that start from a stop.  There is nothing more exciting than pinching those first couple of spots when a race starts because you have overpowered your car with mods. This is especially important when you have only focused on the power like I have and can’t steer the car for shit.

Give me more standing starts please.

Another annoyance is the credit system. You are going to need some serious money to buy some cars and so there will be grinding. This isn’t new, I have spent years doing boring endurance races over and over again to earn some cash. What is new is annoying quirks like not being able to sell duplicate cars. Instead you just remove them from your garage.

There is something inherently wrong about spending heaps of money to buy your cars but the system has you give them away as opposed to being bale to sell them. Like bang em down to half price since you are selling them after driving them off the lot. But nothing? That’s daft.

There is also a roulette system where it gives you bonuses which can net you some cash. The problem is that cash pales in comparison to the cost of some of these cars. The good news is you can spend some of your real world money to buy them … in this full priced game.

It’s an annoyance that will probably only hit the handful that really want to grind out a collection of cars. But still dumb.

One of Gran Turismo’s greatest aspects and most controller breaking ones is the license system. As you go you will need to make sure you complete your licenses or the races will be locked off. If you haven’t played a Gran Turismo before, each license has a series of short tests. This may involve hitting a certain corner or a couple of corners using predefined cars. You get graded based on time giving a bronze, silver or gold trophy. You only need bronze to continue, which is hard enough at times, but those silvers and golds get tempting. I spent a scary amount of time trying to knock .05 seconds off one of my times.  

Fundamentally if you enjoy Gran Turismo games then this will be for you.

The game is fun, and it feels like the real Gran Turismo game we have been waiting for. The history lessons are awesome, the racing is awesome, so much of the game is awesome. Sure it has some shortcomings, and I kept trying to reverse time (I have played a lot of Forza games since Gran Turismo 6 was released) but fundamentally it is a great game that fills an important slot in the PlayStation library.

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