Gran Turismo 7 review: Welcome to Racing Paradise 2022

Gran Turismo 7 is the latest and longest-running racing simulator series from developer Polyphony Digital. After a few moments of delay, the game has now finally arrived on the PS5 and PS4.

PRO: Breathtaking graphics, Almost no loading times on PS5, Different game modes
CON: Music rally still limited at launch, Some tests really challenging

Does that also mean the game is ready for the real thing? Fortunately, we can answer that with a resounding ‘yes’. Gran Turismo 7 is easily the best game in the series and sets the bar very high for all future racing sims, including Forza Motorsport.

Not only does Gran Turismo 7 address the biggest pain points of Gran Turismo Sport and Gran Turismo 6 by offering a lot of content at launch, but you also enjoy superb gameplay with more of a progression system. There are also plenty of interesting features to test, such as the License Center, Mission Mode and the brand new Music Rally.

World Famous Jobs

When you start up Gran Turismo 7 for the first time, the impressive main menu immediately stands out. It resembles a picturesque resort in the countryside, with labeled resorts with their own function. These pavilions also form the basis of all Gran Turismo 7 content.

You’ll spend most of your solo career on World Circuits , where you’ll find all the tracks, events, and championships across three continents: Europe, America, and Asia Pacific. There are plenty of tracks in each region, and each individual track can be completed in multiple ways. Even if you have the same destination in event, that doesn’t necessarily mean the track layout is the same.

Gran Turismo 7 review: Welcome to Racing Paradise 2022

The diversity in the types of circuits is a big plus. Renowned GT circuits such as Tokyo Expressway and Trial Mountain will be present as usual, and world-famous courses such as Monza, Laguna Seca and the infamous Nürburgring will also be on hand.

GT Café is the place that actually connects everything. It’s one of the best new features for solo players in our opinion. In the Café you are provided with menus with specific goals. Often it involves collecting a trio of related cars, such as a Porsche 911 or rally car collection. You achieve these goals by completing races, where you can earn these cars. Then you return to the Café when you have them all in your possession.

Gran Turismo 7 review: Welcome to Racing Paradise 2022

The Café also introduces you to all other aspects of Gran Turismo 7 through these menus, making it an excellent tool for anyone new to the series, or who wants to collect a wide fleet of vehicles in a unique way. The Café is also a lovely place to visit after achieving the goals of a menu. The owner of the Café can’t wait to give a short lecture about the history of the collected cars. It’s a brilliant way to get excited about collecting all kinds of cars.

As you complete the menus, you slowly unlock the rest of the modes GT7 has to offer. The pretty tricky License Center is obviously making a comeback. GT newcomers and veterans must once again try their best to get it all. The requirements for earning gold trophies are as strict as ever. However, it remains a great place to learn both the basics and the finer points of the driving. Additional rewards for achieving all gold trophies for a specific number of License Tests can make you return more often, just to cut those few milliseconds off your time.

A brilliant Mission Mode is also included, if you want to try events that differ from regular races and time trials. Ideal as a distraction from the GT7 standard, and they all come with their own rewards. 

Car collectors can go to three different dealers : Brand Central is the place where you buy new cars made in or after 2001. At the used dealer you buy used cars for a usually lower price. It can also happen that certain cars that are very popular now are even more expensive than at the time of their release. Finally, there is the dealer with legendary cars, where you will find rare and iconic cars with great historical value. With 400 cars to collect, you will never be bored.

Outside the menu, you’ll find the new Music Rally mode , a game mode where you drive a car while listening to music. The goal is to drive as far as possible, and you can only do that if you have ‘beats’. The ‘beats’ run back to the rhythm of the music. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of music tracks available at release, and you can’t add your own music library to the mode either. It’s a great distraction if you’re looking for a set of gold trophies to collect.

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Gran Turismo 7 review: Welcome to Racing Paradise 2022

Lifelike driving experience

Racing in Gran Turismo 7 is simply sublime. The game offers one of the most granular and accurate simulations to date. Developer Polyphony Digital has done an excellent job of recreating the unique feeling that comes with every car. Whether you drive a Honda Civic, a pimped Nissan GT-R or a Ford Mustang; they look and ride lifelike.

When playing on the PS5, you can enjoy a true workout using the DualSense controller. The excellent haptic feedback is beautifully implemented. You feel resistance in the triggers when you brake or change gears. Every bump in the road, the squeaking of your tires and even the use of the windshield wipers are registered and transmitted via the vibrations of DualSense. It adds an extra layer of experience to the game.

Gran Turismo 7 comes with a variety of control options. You can get started with the standard controller, but there is also support for a lot of racing wheels. Looking for something unique? You can also use the motion controls of the DualSense. Turning your controller to steer takes some practice, but we’re impressed with the accuracy of this feature. It is a worthy alternative to the regular check option.

In many other simulation games it’s tempting to put your heart and soul into just a handful of cars, but GT7 solves this by offering a hefty variety of car rewards and racing requirements throughout the solo career. Not only will this bring you into contact with many cars, it will also encourage you to get behind the wheel of as many different cars as possible to better fulfill the requirements for a particular race.

These requirements may include, for example, driving certain car models, using specific tires, or keeping Performance Points (PP) below a certain number. Performance points indicate the level of the car and are now simulation based. Previously, this was calculated by an equation containing data such as weight, power and grip. In Gran Turismo 7, however, a simulation is run in the background to provide a detailed assessment of the car’s performance. 

Players can manage the PP themselves. For example, you increase the number of points by tuning via the Tuning Garage, a place where you will probably be found often.

Buying new parts can become a pricey task as PP thresholds can steadily rise. However, you always earn enough points to be able to compete against this on paper. Tuning is easier to understand and master than ever before.

Online: The Heart of Gran Turismo 7

It’s not just the AI ​​you’ll be battling against in Gran Turismo 7. You can test your skills against other players online. Race lobbies are supported, meaning players can create spaces, add criteria of their own and then compete against friends and strangers alike.

However, the most important online mode is definitely Sport, which we know from Gran Turismo Sport. This online mode lets players race against each other in predetermined events, with set criteria and start times. 

Progression in Sport mode is largely dependent on two criteria: your Performance Rating (DR) and your Sportsmanship Level (SR). The former depends on how well you race, and the latter depends on how cleanly you drive.

Constantly ramming opponents will negatively affect your SR level. If you dodge all the fuss, you get a race bonus and your SR level increases.

The system is not perfect. We have been given a penalty several times in incidents where the other clearly collided with us. The two levels do provide a reasonable indication of your qualities as an online driver. A lower SR level also means that you will be stabled with more aggressive drivers. 

Graphics Splendor on PS5

Gran Turismo 7 is simply one of the most beautiful games on the PS5 yet. The cars and tracks look incredibly photo-realistic most of the time. Environmental images such as audiences, track markings and backgrounds are more detailed than ever before.

The power of the PS5 allows for an optional ray-tracing mode. Besides the reduced frame rate, we did not encounter any negatives when enabling this option. This is mainly because ray-tracing is not active during races, but only during replays and segments before and after a race. As a result, you get to see beautiful replays, with realistic reflections on cars, pools of water and light sources.

Dynamic Weather is also new and features an active day/night cycle, adding an extra layer of realism and unpredictability in races. You can experience the transition from sunset to night in a single race, and weather conditions can change dramatically when you least expect it. All of this drastically changes how the cars behave on the track.

Each car comes with its own unique cockpit camera. The images inside are rendered based on the real car. A truckload of detail has been incorporated, from the shape of the racing wheel and the dashboard logos, to the on-board computers. The dashboard is also reflected in the windshield in certain lighting conditions, which is a beautiful accent.

Gran Turismo 7 manages to maintain a smooth frame rate of 60 frames per second most of the time. We noticed the occasional dip during Sport, but no frame drops negatively impacting a race.

The presentation of GT7 is of course not complete without the excellent music list. The mix of original tracks, contemporary licensed tracks and fun remixes of classical music makes for a diverse selection that certainly doesn’t get in the way of the racing experience. It also goes well with the equally superb sound design.

The Return of Scapes is a  must  for anyone wanting to see their cars at their best. Gran Turismo 7’s photo mode allows you to place your cars in more than 2,500 recreated landscapes. Thanks to the photorealism, you are able to let your cars blend seamlessly into the environment.

Gran Turismo 7: To Buy Or Not?

Gran Turismo 7 isn’t just the best GT game yet. The game is a racing sim masterclass that is full of interesting modes and plenty of cars to collect. The high quality of the solo content makes Gran Turismo 7 an essential buy for all PS5 owners in our view. The game is accessible enough for newcomers to the racing simulation genre to enjoy the racing without any problems.

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