Is GT Sport a True Gran Turismo Game?
Throughout the years, Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo series has had a clear-cut identity: a visually stunning PlayStation exclusive series with an authentic racing simulator experience. In addition to the eventual inclusion of dynamic weather, car damage, online support, and premium vehicles, each entry generally received improvements with more cars and tracks as well as improved visuals—from the photo-realistic recreation of the cars to the accurate depiction of real-life race tracks.
Gran Turismo is beloved by many due to various factors such as having hundreds of cars to collect, offline championship races, authentic racing simulator experience, cutting-edge graphics, and competitive multiplayer races. However, Gran Turismo Sport trudges to a multiplayer-centric direction, scaling back on content and changing some aspects. This has sparked concerns whether it’s still a worthwhile purchase and retains the heart of the series. Due to this, it’s best to analyze some of the biggest elements that have been changed or tweaked, starting with the game progression and single-player content.
Change in Progression and Single-Player Content
Gran Turismo Sport’s single-player aspect is one of the biggest concerns of fans. Unlike previous entries, it does not have a traditional career mode where progression is felt by advancing through the various offline championship races. In place are tutorial-like missions aimed to teach players the basics of car handling, challenge missions where you get specific requirements to win each race, and a Circuit Experience mode aimed to familiarize players with the sectors of each track.
Despite the lack of offline championship cups, players can engage in single-player matches through the Arcade mode, which has single races, drifting, split-screen multiplayer, and even custom races. Completing any race—regardless if done online or single-player—rewards players with enough money and points to unlock new vehicles.
In essence, Gran Turismo Sport adopted a freeform approach to game progression and is now vastly non-linear than before. In a way, instead of advancing through the championship cups to gauge one’s progress, Gran Turismo Sport dauntingly tasks players to become better drivers. Ultimately, the career modes aim to groom players for the game’s multiplayer modes, including FIA approved championships.
One way of looking at the single-player and multiplayer modes of Gran Turismo Sport is that the competitive aspects are end-game content. While inexperienced drivers can jump straight in the multiplayer aspect, those who have honed their driving skills through the campaign have a competitive advantage. In addition, the campaign is the best place to unlock new vehicles fast, thus highlighting its importance in the game.
In a way, Gran Turismo Sport addresses the repetitiveness of championship cups. Before, each match formulaically starts you near the last place, racing past each opponent one by one until you win. The AI also leaves much to be desired as they mostly stick to a set driving lane, but is understandable considering you have to run past several other drivers to win the match. We can only speculate that Polyphony Digital has scrapped championship cups in favor of a more robust multiplayer aspect.