Gran Turismo 7 Review
The Gran Turismo series celebrates its 25th anniversary with the long-awaited release of Gran Turismo 7. The self-described REAL driving simulator is back and more stacked than ever before. We have never seen such attention to detail in a racing game before, and this one delivers on all cylinders.
GT7 boasts over 400 car models, recreated with the highest quality and detail EVER seen in the history of the series. Racers will be able to drive on over 90 track variations with realistic weather and realistic scenery. It also features the return of ‘GT Mode’ for enjoying a life with cars, which has been much anticipated and hyped by fans of the series.
Recreating natural and realistic time and weather changes have been improved. Weather changes are actually simulated based on the annual meteorological data for each track location. Changes to road surfaces due to rain are included, and in spots that are more prone to piddles, the way the track dries is also recreated in a proper simulation, drying faster in the areas where cars pass over the most. The world circuit mode includes a total of over 90 layouts, including circuits from around the world such as Le Mans and Nurburgring, as well as the popular fantasy tracks from the GT Series such as Trial Mountain.
There are many special things unique to the PS5 that Gran Turismo takes advantage of here including of course super fast loading with little to no waiting time thanks to the SSD. Real time ray tracing in Scapes mode, replays, and demo scenes will provide an incredibly real level of detail in things like distortions of chrome surfaces, and any instance where light and shadows come into play on various surfaces. (Set your graphics setting to ‘Prioritize Ray Tracing’ to enjoy this feature).
This game is so incredible looking that literally my wife and kids in passing thought I was watching racing as opposed to playing it. Everything is incredibly detailed even viewing the interiors and such in the garage. So much care went into this. Thanks to my trusty 3D headphones I was able to take advantage of Tempest 3D Audio Tech: I could sense the position of other cars driving around me through sound.
There is also present clear 3D Audio positioning and spatial expression of depth and height in replays. The most impressive once again is the brilliant use of the haptic feedback, you can experience the feeling of tire contact with the road, and subtle bumps on the road surface. The weight of the brake pedals varies in different cars, and you will also be able to feel vibrations from the anti-lock brake system (ABS). The haptic feedback immersion will also allow you to feel vibrations from situations such as understeering, giving you a better feel for the movements of your car. It’s literally the same feeling you get from the vibrations in your steering wheel when driving over different surfaces in real life.
The game I will say is very welcoming to newcomers of simulation racing games, this is NOT Forza Horizon (not to knock it, it’s just a very different game) so it’s easy to expect a lot of first-time gamers expecting a similar experience. But GT7 does a great job of bringing you into this world, which has a lot of love for cars and racing, yes it’s a game but you will also learn a TON about the history of all of the vehicles and tracks and such.
The fact that they spent the time to run models and tests for aerodynamics on all of the cars to anticipate resistance, the way they studied the tracks, and such. The introduction of the Cafe gives newcomers a great place to start, with clearly laid out goals for you to obtain (that also provide rewards) once you complete the cafe books (task list) you are rewarded with new areas, cars, tracks, etc. But you are also treated to a history of the type of vehicles you were collecting and what makes them unique.
Of course, there is a ton to do in the world of customization at the garage where you can purchase, equip and tweak the performance of your favorite cars (to also give you a competitive edge in your races). You also need to take care of the cars you use frequently as well with routine maintenance, cleanings, etc to keep them running at optimal performance.
One of the minor issues for me was outside of the races when in the “overworld” selecting things like the cafe or garage, you are just treated with a static image of a person’s face of who is talking to you and some text. Honestly feels a little cheap in the stark contrast and beauty of the game. I would have liked to see at least a little effort put into the activities in between events as well to make it a perfect experience overall. I know it’s a little nitpicky….but I had to point out something I didn’t enjoy.
Overall Gran Turismo is a remarkable game that truly highlights the capability of next-gen consoles (specifically the power of the PS5). The varied nature, landscapes, and weather effects keep the game fresh and never dull. Based on a vast amount of meteorological data, temperatures, humidity, and air pressures specific to each region are set within Gran Turismo 7.
Based on this data a weather simulation is performed so that skies in Japan will change as they do in Japan and skies in California will change as they do in California. And the simulation does not end there. Starry skies seen in specific locations at certain dates and times will be drawn using a simulation that includes not just stars but even planets. The moon will rise and set in the same way as the sun rises and sets. The color of the stars will change depending on whether the atmosphere is clear or hazy.
Time and weather change simulations affect the scenery and changes in light, but more importantly, it doesn’t just affect the appearance of the scene, it also affects atmospheric and surface temperatures, and by doing so affects the tire grip, engine power, and strength of the slipstream effect.
These simulations are closely tied to the automotive physics simulation in this way. It rains and the surface becomes wet. Puddles form in locations that are prone to them. The rain ends, cars drive by, and the surface starts to dry from the areas that tend to dry first, and the areas with puddles will remain wet the longest. These kinds of changes will occur naturally in Gran Turismo 7.
Another really enjoyable mode I played frequently is Music Rally. The Music Rally is a casual game mode where the objective is not serious, stoic driving, but to enjoy the music. It enables beginners to simply enjoy driving cars on a track. As a system, it’s not that different from the classic time extension type of racing that has existed in the past, but the difference lies in the ‘Seconds’ being replaced with ‘Beats’, the faster the beat, the quicker your “clock” ticks away.
It also serves as a hint to enjoying the Music Replay. For launch, there will be 6 music tracks available, and more music tracks will be added in future updates.
The music replay automatically generates camera positions and creates replay footage to match the music and the replay data you created. It doesn’t just switch between pre-existing cameras according to the music, it automatically generates cameras that take into consideration the distance to the cars in front and rear of your car, the continuity of the cuts, the camera framing, and music tempo, and switches between them automatically.
Finding that right car for the event is always a thrill and just really FEELING the power thanks to the controllers. This game will absolutely delight hardcore racing enthusiasts as well as casuals just getting into it for the first time. There is more than enough meat on the bones thanks to the diverse gameplay opportunities as well as then the unlimited possibilities with the online racing world to keep you interested for a long time to come.