The New Skid on the Block

Gran Turismo 7 is finally here after some delay in the making but was it worth it? I’d say so considering I’ve been somewhat absent from the series for a while. In the early days of PlayStation and PlayStation 2, I was a big fan of Gran Turismo sitting for hours grinding away at the Licence tests, doing the same races over and over to get enough credits to buy the Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak version just so I can obliterate any race henceforth. Back then I was too young to realise Gran Turismo is and always has been a driving simulator even though every time they released a new game they always made sure to let us know on the box with the words “The Real Driving Simulator” I had been playing Gran Turismo wrong all this time, I would literally use other cars as barricades around corners, trying to purposely knock them into the dirt, going over dirt shortcuts myself to think that I am saving time and then comes along these new fancy Gran Turismo games with a big red no on any of that.

Well this has been a feature in Gran Turismo quite recently but Gran Turismo 7 is the first I’ve come across it, now I am older I realise now that I must respect other drivers as should always be the case, the game starts with an unskippable 7-minute intro showing vintage footage of old cars, races and new ones also, while I can appreciate many will not enjoy being forced to watch or do something else while this plays out, I did appreciate the beauty of it and clearly Polyphony Digital are proud and quite rightly so of what they put in. This intro can be skipped or even turned off after the first watch and anything in-game can be also so be skipped so hardly a dealbreaker for me. After the game loads up you are presented with a world map layout, hardly surprising as this has always been the staple of Gran Turismo navigation, you are greeted by Luca, a car enthusiast who owns a cafe where you will spend most of your time reporting your achievements, Luca starts you off with a simple task of getting a car from the used dealership and then tasks you with competing in races and collect a tri of themed cars by winning and report back so they can be ticked off on the menu, doing all of this unlocks more features of Gran Turismo 7 and Veterans will know all too well these features, I really enjoy the fact they become unlocked in a quest-like system, it’s simple and tells you where you need to compete or go. You are rewarded with a Roulette ticket which gives you a chance at winning money, a new car or various Car parts, almost always it will reward you with the cheapest amount of credits although I have had some luck getting new cars.

The gameplay of Gran Turismo is where I felt transported back to 25 years ago, Gran Turismo 7 comes with a variety of Control options including the classic X to accelerate and Square to break which, to be honest, is my personal favourite. It also supports many Steering Wheels which can all be configured separately so you can have several of the wheels listed while changing how each one operates. The PS5 DualSense has motion support meaning you can even use it as a steering wheel should you wish and with haptic feedback in play and you will feel it on every brake and turn and it is done so masterfully.

Various challenges return in Gran Turismo 7 some of which feel like they have never disappeared while some of them are new but I had no issues getting stuck into them. The Licence Centre is mandatory as you will not be able to enter certain races without doing these first, I highly suggest doing so, you can even reward yourself with new motors with the better ones coming from the better scores even though these require a lot of skill and patience. Missions are a new aspect to the series for me and require you to do a certain task such as a short 30-second race in which you must finish overtaking all cars whilst not colliding or leaving the course, it’s essentially the Licence Centre without the force of needing to do it although Luca does send you as part of one of his Cafe Menu Books. Still, they do reward extra credits and are a great way to get that extra mileage for the daily workout which grants you an extra Roulette ticket once per day. From what I remember Gran Turismo always started with stationary cars at the start of the races but now we have rolling starts where for the most part you find yourself in the last position but as you start in an already driving position you get into the action much quicker and due to how fast the PS5 loads you will find yourself driving more than navigate different Menus. There is a considerable slowdown on the PS4 because of the nature of the hardware but it isn’t by much, also if you do have separate consoles with the same account there is no need to transfer saved data as it is all stored online so you can get straight into the game from where you left off. Gran Turismo 7 sadly can only be played while connected to the online servers as a deterrent to game cheats and save modding so if the servers are down for whatever reason you can’t even partake in a normal race or championship even without other players, also if you feel like you want to pay expensive and play around with a car just to see how it feels then change your mind then you might want to think carefully, every decision you make in Gran Turismo 7 is one that you can’t go back on. There are multiplayer races plus the Sport Mode where you can play with other players, this mode lets you race against drivers who are as skilled and fast as yourself making for a fair challenge and penalizing anyone who doesn’t follow the rules with a penalty during the race.

Gran Turismo 7 is easily and not surprisingly the best it has ever looked. The cars themselves are the most photorealistic even on PlayStation 4. Other than the HDR settings on PlayStation 5 you can choose to prioritise Ray Tracing or Frame Rate with Ray Tracing looking gorgeous during the cinematics and without any loss of frame rates from what I noticed but this is all down to personal preference. Everything else looks incredible from the tall buildings surrounding the Tokyo Expressway and the lush forests surrounding the Deep Forest Raceway, all races take place with a dynamic weather system in place that creates an extra boundary, while it is nothing new the added pressure of finishing a race where the easy corners of dry asphalt are now a dangerously slippery accident that can cost you and you may very find yourself in last place. The sound design is something that for me feels like it hasn’t changed and from my perspective this is great. I still feel like I’m playing the same games of 20-25 years ago, especially with the menu sounds and ambience of the menus themselves. Music ranges from Rock, Electronica and Classical with some catchy remixes such as The Entertainer and the Beautiful Blue Danube both remixed by Lenny Ibizarre who also worked on the Gran Turismo Sport game. The Music of Gran Turismo 7 is both relaxing and energising and is reflected in what you currently are doing.

Gran Turismo 7 has 420 cars available as of launch which is a hefty amount and the attention to detail in every single one is incredible, while you can’t sell cars in Gran Turismo 7 I believe the reason for it is that every time you buy or acquire a new car you are given collection points and this, in turn, increases your Collector Level which grants you access to better tuning parts for your cars and plus unlocks new missions, with the generous amount of credits that races offer even early on negates the need to sell cars, plus buying and selling to get that Collectors level up would be easy abuse of the system. You can discard cars once you get them but this won’t affect the Collectors level. The customization options available are pretty hefty, you can customize the wheel design, colour and several aspects of the car itself such as the bonnet, hood separately as well as add various shaped designs all over, there are various number plate and windshield options also. These can all be saved and loaded easily within the Livery Editor. Maintaining your cars is always important too, such as the Car Wash, Oil Change and Rigidity Restore options, while you may not use these often, I would make the most out of them when you do especially if you want your car to look the best during replays. Gran Turismo also has a huge emphasis on design and photo mode and caters to allow some really creative photos to be taken by the player and even shared online in the Showcase Theatre. There are a total of 2571 spots currently which is huge and allows for photos from all around the world from the Bamboo forests of Japan to the Sunny Caribbean atmosphere of Miami Florida. The game delves deep into the lore and history of cars, famous racers all with photos and descriptions so if this is your thing you will certainly find Gran Turismo 7 an educational experience, even if car culture isn’t your thing you will find a timeline off vast real-life events from around the world in a timeline so you can look to remember how Donald Trump became President of the United States in 2017 or that the Coronavirus pandemic started in 2020.

There is nothing in terms of DLC right now except the option to buy Credits which are the common source of currency, hardly difficult to rack up but time-consuming if you wish for a lot of them. 100000 Credits will cost you £1.99. Hardly expensive but this amount of credits is the cost of a nitro booster for one car and this amount of credits can be gained in a 5 to 10-minute race late game or in a championship with clean driving early on, I guess if you really want one of the really expensive motors then it is an option but this will cost you £15.99 for one car. I will say that buying these solely depends on how you value real money to your time spent in Gran Turismo 7 but if you end up restoring your custom-tuned cars to how they were before a lot you may end up wasting a lot of actual time and money.

Overall I’ve had a fantastic experience so far with Gran Turismo 7, I really enjoyed the fact I never felt like I was tied to using one car throughout the career campaign, this is due to special requirements needing to be met on the type of cars and tires that need to be used, experimenting and fine-tuning different cars is something you will need to get used to and while not everything in terms of car-tuning is explained perfectly it will give you enough to get used to how things work. If you do find yourself overwhelmed with some of the more difficult aspects of Gran Turismo 7 there are beginner options available and you can use the assist options to help alleviate some of the pressure, don’t like knowing when to break or how to steer what seems like an incredibly awkward hairpin? no problem, Gran Turismo 7 will do it for you, you won’t receive anything less either, Gran Turismo 7 really does allow a balanced approach to its player base so if you’re a new player or are a long time veteran you will definitely find something here.

A PlayStation 5 Review Code was provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment