Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: PS5 + Thrustmaster T248
Also available on: PS4
Release date: March 4th 2022
Price: $99 PS5, $79 PS4
Gran Turismo 7 is the latest instalment in the GT series, developed by Polyphony Digital and published exclusively for Sony PlayStation consoles. With the reintroduction of the legendary GT Simulation Mode, “buy, tune, race and sell” your way through a rewarding solo campaign as you unlock new cars and challenges., If you love going head-to-head with others, you can hone your skills and compete in the “GT Sport” style online mode. With over 420 cars available at Brand Central and the Used Car Dealership from day one, Gran Turismo 7 recreates the look and feel of classic motors and bleeding-edge supercars alike in unparalleled detail. Each car handles differently and feels unique as you navigate over 90 track routes in dynamic weather conditions, including classic courses from GT history.
Firstly, let me say how Gran Turismo 7 feels much like the Gran Turismo games of old, yet is still the most realistic driving simulator yet. Described post launch by Polyphony Digital as “the best of Gran Turismo through the ages, designed to celebrate all aspects of car culture”. I'm here to tell you that that's exactly what it is. Its Classic Gran Turismo with state of the art visuals that take full advantage of the power of the PS5.
I have been playing Gran Turismo 7 mainly using my Thrustmaster T248 + Xrocker Chicane racing seat + XR Racing Rig and they are a match made in heaven. Unfortunately at the time of writing this review Gran Turismo 7 doesn't have any added support for the Thrustmaster T248’s LED telemetry, however I have reached out to both Thrustmaster and Sony to see if this is something that is planned for later down the road. EDIT: A day 0 patch was released at 9PM on 02/03/2022 which, among other things addressed this problem. GT7 is the perfect companion for use with a steering wheel, specifically the T248. Not only does it make driving high powered sports cars around some of the most famous race tracks in the world a whole lot more fun, but due to the force feedback of the T248, it somehow makes it easier. The ability to feel the road, to feel through the wheel when your car is starting to lose traction and therefore able to back off on the accelerator a little allows you to really push the car to the limits and shave every millisecond off your time. I highly recommend that if you're able to, Play this game with a racing wheel and if you don't already have one, I'd definitely recommend the Thrustmaster T248 as its hybrid drive technology really is taken advantage of in this game and allows you to really feel the road as you fly around the track.
Controls aside, the gameplay for GT7 is very satisfying, those legendary drivers license challenges that you'll do anything in your power to shave a few milliseconds off and go from bronze or silver to a gold. This is something that I spent a particularly long time doing. The races themselves are fantastic, they are some of the cleanest, most realistic racing experiences available. There is a particular race, and it is in fact part of a little “mini-game” called “Music Rally” that you can play while the game is installed. Named “Hooked on classic parts 1 and 2” this race whilst being a lot of fun as you race to beat the clock and get as far as you possibly can before the song finishes. It feels very much like a love letter to everything “classic cars”. The combination of driving a classic ‘56 model Porsche 356 Speedster (of which there were only ever 3676 made) and the powerful music played by the Philharmonic Orchestra gives this race a really epic yet relaxing feel to it. It really gives you the feeling of what it would be like to go for a leisurely “sunday drive” in your classic car listening to classic tunes. Of course there are many more examples of this throughout the game, but in the spirit of avoiding any real spoilers I won't go into any detail about them.
The sheer number of assists and difficulty settings etc you can toggle on or off means that there's a difficulty level for everyone. Your opponents, particularly early on, are super easy to beat in any difficulty. I was completing 2 minute races a whole 12 seconds ahead of my nearest opponent on the highest level. The further you get through the campaign though the more evened out this becomes and in some races I even had to switch down to medium to even stand a chance.
Graphically, there's certainly another level of detail that has gone into GT7, each car meticulously crafted in a way that it's hard to tell them apart from real life. Every single aspect of the design from the body, to the buttons on the dash even to the way they handle and behave as you drive them, these cars truly have been given a life of their own in GT7 and its a real testament to Polyphony Digital. A lot of the time developers talk about how a game is a celebration of this, that, or the other, and a lot of the time they're just words. Polyphony did this with GT7, “Designed to celebrate all aspects of car culture” is what they told us, and you can tell that they truly meant it. The pride, care and the attention to detail in these car designs is like something I've never seen before. Sure, games like Forza Horizon 5 look phenomenal, even more so when you consider that they're open world and have a lot more to cram in. But this allows Gran Turismo to truly become the best driving simulator to date. Feeling like you are truly inside the car your racing is a big part of feeling the realism of a driving simulator, so when GT7 has put such care into things like switch positioning on the dash of your car or the little things like reflectiveness of the windscreen under different lighting conditions, it actually goes a long way to making you feel as though you're there. I’d say it's the closest you're ever going to get to feeling like you're in the car without the help of technology such as VR. The attention to detail doesn't stop there however. Each track is perfectly designed to reflect their real world counterparts, Mount Panorama for example is a perfect recreation of Bathurst , even down to the Supercheap Auto signage among other things. Another cool thing about GT7 is that the tracks evolve as you drive on them. Instead, what I mean is that as each lap goes on there is more and more tyre debris left on the road and things like leaves start to accumulate along the way. Another example of this is the realism during weather events, when it rains the road surface changes considerably, puddles form and the parts of the track that are driven on the most dry quicker than areas with little traffic. This only adds to the immersion you feel and when combined with everything else really does make for quite a special racing experience.
The livery designer is upgraded slightly from previous versions and allows both more sticker placements and more sticker placement locations, scapes is as brilliant as ever with the new addition of “scapes video” which allows you to see your cars driving through equally beautiful locations. Anyone that knows me though, knows that I'm a sucker for a photo mode, and the photo mode in GT7 is probably the most unique photo mode I've used. With full photoshop level editing, you can really capture some stunning shots. Adding things like layers and masks, being able to adjust colour tones and focus etc really is a powerful photo editing tool. Most games limit you to catching photos in the moment, GT7 allows you to create these photos within the race replay meaning you don't need to break your immersion in race to capture the amazing sights. Simply find it in the replay after the race and you're away. With the added bonus of ray tracing etc in these replays you really do get to capture some stunning shots. For me, photo mode alone gets a 10/10.
As stated I played the PS5 version so got to take advantage of a whole raft of features thanks to the power of the PS5. These features include (but not limited to) extremely fast load times of between 2-4 seconds depending on the activity. It has a “prioritise framerate” and “prioritise Ray tracing” modes. Let's be clear though, With “prioritise Ray tracing” mode enabled, you still don't get ray tracing in race, simply in race replays and 3D scenes. Honestly I don't see any reason why anyone would choose ray tracing mode unless you're really into watching the replays etc. The game does look phenomenal though in frame rate mode, unlike other games there seems to be no loss of resolution or image quality outside of ray tracing that I have been able to spot and you get a really solid 60FPS when using this mode. I would however have liked some sort of 120FPS mode, I’m not sure how they achieve this without losing too much quality, but it just would have been a nice option. The last real noticeable PS5 feature is the haptics and adaptive triggers, this does a really good job of simulating a sort of force feedback feel in a way, without really having anything close to force feedback of course. By this I mean, if you mount the kerb on your right hand side for instance, the haptics only vibrate the right hand side of the controller and vice versa. And well adaptive triggers are quite self explanatory by now but very immersive.
Last but definitely not least I want to mention the absolutely stellar audio design. Taking advantage of Sony’s Tempest 3D Audio you truly can sense the positioning of every opponent as they breathe down your neck. It really does spotlight just how good Sony’s Tempest audio can be. Aside from this positional audio, the general audio itself is great. The engines sound full, the tyre screeching etc is spot on and the game's music really gives off those old school Gran Turismo 4 vibes. The music in this one really is one of the stars of the show, When you play the game you will experience this for yourself
We know that there's one thing that Polyphony does well, and that's make their driving games feel like proper driving simulators. There's no surprises here then in me telling you that once again they've nailed the gameplay. Gran Turismo 7 is absolutely the best, most realistic driving simulator to date, packed full of content and features. There’s really nothing to fault with this game other than the nit picky no 120FPS mode. The perfect companion to any steering wheel set up. Of course, if you're not a fan of cars then maybe steer clear, if you are, Gran Turismo 7 is an absolute must buy!
If you are going to buy this one, make sure to check out our Bargain guide for all the information you need to get the cheapest release day price.