Gran Turismo 7 Review
What would you do if something you loved – something that was an intrinsic part of your being – began to lose itself to time and space? What would you do if your heart and soul wept, longing to feel what it means to share your passion with the world? For Kazunori Yamauchi, CEO of Polyphony Digital and lover of all things automobiles, the answer was simple. Take every lesson we’ve learned from over two decades of game development, and build Gran Turismo 7.
From the moment Gran Turismo 7 was announced, Yamauchi made it clear that this was to be his ultimate dedication to a time in our lives when cars were more than just a means to get from point A to B. A time when car culture had its hooks dug much deeper into the mainstream. Yamauchi notes that younger generations are paying less and less attention to the automobile industry. During the interviews given prior to launch, you could see it in his eyes that he yearns for an era long passed. So it’s an absolute pleasure to say that with Gran Turismo 7, he utterly smashes his dream of making a game that could re-ignite people’s love for cars, or simply bring them to the starting line for the first time.
Finding Your Line
While Gran Turismo 7 is stuffed to the gills with content, ultimately, it’ll be the superb driving physics that keeps folks coming back for more. If you thought Forza Horizon 5 handled well, just wait until you’re behind the wheel of your favorite vehicle in Gran Turismo 7. Polyphony Digital has wholeheartedly struck the perfect balance between simulation and arcade racing. Every car I’ve driven has been a blast to do so with. No two cars have felt the same, encouraging the player to explore vehicles that they’d otherwise never touch.
Aside from the near-perfect handling, though, Gran Turismo 7 will also sink its teeth into you with its excellent sense of progression. One of my biggest gripes with the Forza series (and Forza Horizon 5 was no stranger to this) is that you’ll most likely be rewarded with one of the fastest cars in the game within the first few minutes of hitting the road. It took me all of two wheelspins to find what was essentially a jet engine with tires on it. Gran Turismo 7, on the other hand, has returned to its roots in that it tasks the player with starting at the bottom, working their way through the slower vehicles, and eventually earning something that’ll give you goosebumps.
Speaking of goosebumps, I had them running up my arms as the intro FMV rolled across my screen for the first time. Every inch of Gran Turismo 7 is teeming with information and historical facts. From the instant the opening credits roll, you realize that you’ve just crossed over – Twilight Zone-style – into a thorough, detailed, magnificently realized world that’s eager to absorb you into the culture.
The cafe works as a hub in which you’ll choose a menu (or, if you prefer, missions) that will task you with a wide variety of objectives. Collecting cars, winning races, earning licenses, and more will be required to see Gran Turismo 7’s career mode through to the end. Along the way, you’ll be treated to easily digestible facts about the history of the vehicles you’re using. It’s a brilliantly beautiful way to teach a younger generation about the history of automobiles.
Gran Turismo 7 is a gorgeous game. Sure the cafe and the hub are fun to explore and are pretty to look at, but it’s all dressing for the stunning visuals while you’re on a track. Each location is masterfully crafted, each vehicle is designed with the utmost attention to detail. The dynamic weather effects are stunning, at times lighting up the sky in oranges, reds, and blues that you can almost feel. Transitions from dark areas to bright areas (like coming out of a tunnel) look like real life, and I have to give special props to the situations where it’s almost pitch black outside, and the piercing headlights of the car behind me cascade through my back windshield. All of this adds up to being one of the most graphically impressive games I’ve ever seen.
Equally as impressive is Polyphony Digital’s use of the DualSense to mimic the sensations of a car better than any other controller in history. Of course, the triggers are more effective than ever at conveying when your tires lock up or if you’re under/oversteering, but it’s the combination of the triggers and the haptic feedback that provides an unparalleled racing game + controller experience. I won’t ever forget the first time I went over a rumble strip and felt it in my left hand as if I was driving a real car.
The Wheel Deal
I understand there will be many folks who won’t ever touch the DualSense with Gran Turismo 7, instead opting to use a racing wheel. I get it. It’s my preferred way to play, too. And the good news is that Gran Turismo 7 is – by far – the best Gran Turismo to play with a wheel. The force feedback and torque options feel as if they’ve been given a complete overhaul, and everything reacts in a more natural, realistic way compared to Gran Turismo Sport. But, I implore you to play a bit of Gran Turismo 7 with the DualSense, if only to see – and feel – one of the best examples to date of the controller’s features.
Nothing is perfect, however, and Gran Turismo 7 does make a couple of mistakes. The most prominent is that for nearly every game mode, you’ll need an internet connection to play. Even the single-player stuff requires you to be online constantly. There’s been a few times during my testing that I lost connection in the middle of a long race, sending me back to the menu with no progress whatsoever. And while the music tracklist is massive, I can’t help but feel there’s way too much filler on it. I found myself opting to play Gran Turismo 7 with Spotify in the background, but I suppose this is entirely subjective.
What isn’t subjective is just how damned good the game is.
Gran Turismo 7 is the best driving game I’ve ever played. Period. It’s not a hardcore simulation of the likes of Assetto Corsa Competizione or iRacing, but for my money, I now prefer Gran Turismo. It’s the ultimate celebration of something that’s part of Kazunori Yamauchi’s very being and an incredible effort to bring his love for automobiles to the world. See you on the starting line.
***PS5 code provided by the publisher***
- Incredible driving physics
- Breathtaking visuals
- Genuine sense of progression
- Encapsulates car culture
- Always online required
- Music is somewhat lacking
- Too many rolling starts