Gran Turismo 7 is finally here, and it has been nearly a decade now since the release of the last numbered entry into the series, with GT6 being released for the PS3 back in 2013. Sure, there’s Gran Turismo Sport for the PS4 back in 2017, and while it’s still considered a mainline entry, it does lack the meatier singleplayer element that the numbered entries had. After all, GT Sport’s focus was on the multiplayer side with its Sport Mode.
With Gran Turismo 7, Polyphony Digital brings back the singleplayer system of the previous games, all while retaining the Sport Mode from GT Sport, on top of which are various technical enhancement for the PS5.
So, is Gran Turismo really back with GT7? Yes, it definitely is!
Singleplayer is back on the Menu
It would be unfair to say that Gran Turismo Sport did not have a lot of singleplayer modes. Sure, that might’ve been true at launch, but after several updates, the game did get various game modes for players who aren’t keen on multiplayer. But with GT7, a true singleplayer experience has returned.
While not a campaign per se, Gran Turismo 7 centers around the cafe, which you can see right in the middle of the game’s World Map (think of it like the menu from previous games). In this World Map which is themed like a car resort, the Cafe serves as the home base of sorts where you get menus.
Think of Menus as Missions in GT7. While some Menus simply prompt you to try out a part of the World Map, most Menus ask you to complete either a list of cars, or participate in certain races.
A majority of the Menus ask you to complete three cars in a series. For example, a Menu may require you to get three different Ford car models. You can get these cars by participating in select races where, if you get at least third place, you will be rewarded with one of the three cars in the menu. By completing the menu, you get a quick history lesson on the cars, and you unlock the next menu.
That’s basically how the game’s “campaign” works. You complete Car Menus by participating in races, all while being introduced to various game features. For example, a Menu may require you to get a certain license which you can get in the License Center (a place that long-time GT fans should be familiar with).
This Menu mechanic may not seem like a big deal at first, but when you actually play the game, it makes a big impact as it gives you a reason to keep playing. Not to mention that the car history that you get is interesting. Well, it is interesting for me at least as someone who has an interest in cars (you can thank BBC’s Top Gear for that).
One thing to note about the Menu system is that, you should be able to complete all the Menus in around 20-30 hours. By this point, you will have unlocked every circuit and every feature in the World Map. After you complete all Menus, you aren’t exactly given a goal, except maybe to complete all of the game’s 400+ cars.
Because the game’s features are unlocked throughout the duration of the campaign, the Menu system can feel a bit like an extended tutorial. Personally, I didn’t have any issues with this as completing the menus did give me a sense of accomplishment, and I can now enjoy the freedom of trying to either get gold in all the License Tests (which is sure to be incredibly difficult), or collect all of my favorite cars.
One thing I can say is that the game’s campaign is a bit on the easy side, both in terms of actual racing and in car collecting.
In terms of difficulty, the game’s AI racers aren’t the most formidable on the Normal difficulty. While I didn’t mind this as my racing skill level isn’t that high, better players will need to opt for Hard difficulty to give them a bigger challenge.
Aside from the fairly easy AI (at least on normal), collecting cars is much easier in GT7 compared to the likes of GT4. For many long-time fans, GT4 is their favorite game as it forces you to climb up the racing ladder starting from a standard and fairly slow car. It is definitely a grind, but it does feel rewarding when you finally scrounge up enough funds for a major car upgrade. But in Gran Turismo 7, you get lots of cars as prizes, and when you finish the menus, you will have over 50 cars, with some credits to spare.
For fans of the GT4-style grind, GT7 may feel a bit too easy. Personally though, I much prefer GT7’s style as I found the car rewards to be satisfying without being cheap. Sure, I was able to get a proper supercar (a Ford GT) around 10 hours in, but it’s not like I have enough credits to get whatever I want.
Something for Everyone
Once you clear all the menus, you are now free to do what you want, and boy are there a lot of things to do in this game.
First off, you can race at the wide range of circuits available in the game. Similar to previous GT games, GT7 circuits feature several kinds of races, each of which may require a certain type of car. For example, some only accept cars with a certain level of Performance Points, or they can only accept cars from the same brand.
If you want to enter a race but your favorite car may be lacking in Performance Points, you can customize your car’s tires, engine, and more, similar to past GT games. You get a lot of control over your car customization here so you can tune the performance to your needs. On top of this, the game also lets you customize how your car looks, from changing its paint job to adding a wide body kit.
Aside from standard races, the game also has other game modes, including time trials, drift challenges, drag races, and even a Music Rally mode.
The Music Rally mode is a small addition, but it’s a surprisingly fun one. In this mode, you race while a song is playing, and your goal is to reach checkpoints to extend your timer so that you can finish the song and not run out of time. It’s a fairly casual game mode, but it’s a cute bonus, especially for players who are just starting out in racing games.
Though to get credits for buying cars, you will need to either participate in races or in the game’s missions. This might seem daunting for newer players, but it isn’t, especially as the game features a wealth of driver aids (including auto brake and steering) that help racing more accessible. But you will need to master racing without these aids if you want to tackle the game’s multiplayer mode.
In Gran Turismo 7, there is also a Sport Mode, and it functions similarly to the one in GT Sport. There’s also a lobby feature where you can play with friends. Plus, the game also has a couch co-op mode. During my review time, I wasn’t able to explore the Sport Mode much since only a limited number of reviewers were playing the game, but in my short time in online races, I had no issues with latency, with the online races being smooth overall.
What I did try out extensively is Scapes Mode, GT7’s Photo Mode. Scapes Mode in 7 works similarly to the one in GT Sport, meaning you have an extensive amount of options for both the cars, camera controls. If you haven’t tried GT Sport’s Scapes Mode, you’ll be in for a treat as GT7’s photo mode lets you capture incredible photos that can often look like real-life shots.
One thing to note is that you can only take photos of cars that you own in Scapes Mode. I found that this gave me extra motivation in racing and earning credits to get my favorite cars. What’s even better is that, aside from getting to take photos and race with purchased cars, each model also features an extensive description that delves into its technology and history. More than just a driving simulator, Gran Turismo 7 is the ultimate car showcase museum as well.
A DualSense Showcase
When the DualSense was first highlighted before the PS5 was released, a lot of people speculated about how great the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers would be for racing games. And it turns out, they were right!
PlayStation exclusives usually have a great implementation of the DualSense’s features, but Gran Turismo 7 might just take the cake as the best. While driving, you get a feel of the surface that you’re racing on thanks to haptic feedback. For instance, you can accurately feel when you’re riding on the curbs on track; this is helpful for close racing so that you don’t go off track and potentially spin, especially when using the cockpit view mode where you might not be able to see the whole track clearly.
Aside from this, the DualSense also gave me a sense of the grip of the front tires on the car. Because of this, I feel when I’m going over the limit of grip, so I can adjust much quicker compared to simply relying on visual cues.
Another great implementation is with the Adaptive Triggers. The L2 button has a good amount of resistance, meaning you have more braking options. You can slam the brakes when going to a slow corner, or you can lightly tap it more easily if you went on the gas a bit too much. The R2 button also has some resistance to it, especially in dirt tracks. This helped me out a lot in dirt track races where throttle control is key in not losing control.
While I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the DualSense is on par with racing wheel accessories, the enhanced haptic feedback is a massive improvement over a standard controller. Other games may use DualSense features to enhance immersion, but in GT7, the DualSense is used not just to make racing more immersive, they are also used to enhance gameplay.
DualSense features aside, Gran Turismo 7 is also a strong technical showcase for the PS5. The game looks great, especially when played on a high resolution display. GT7 also runs well on Sony’s latest console, holding a steady 60FPS even on the Ray Tracing graphics mode. Though do take note that Ray Tracing is not on constantly; it only gets turned on during certain times like in replays. Still, I recommend using the Ray Tracing setting as the reflections on the cars make them look incredibly lifelike.
One small nitpick I do have in terms of visuals are the spectators and trees in circuits. As I usually play in chase view (where you can see the whole car), the trees and people that populate the tracks look noticeably fake at times. Though you would only notice them at slower points in tracks. Plus, this isn’t an issue when playing the game in the cockpit view.
Final Verdict – 9/10
Yes, Gran Turismo is indeed back in this latest installment! Technically, Polyphony Digital hit it out of the park with Gran Turismo 7 as it features impressive graphics along with probably the best DualSense features implementation yet. These aside, the game also brings back a meatier campaign mode that was missing from GT Sport, all while making it more streamlined and less grindy.
Finally, GT7 has lots of game modes to choose from after you complete the campaign. Thanks to this, the latest Gran Turismo game is well worth getting for car lovers and racing enthusiasts. And yes, it’s even a good game to pick up for players who are new to racing games thanks to its accessibility features.
This review was made using a game code for PS5 provided by the publisher.