Gran Turismo 7 on PlayStation 5
Nearly four and a half years ago, Gran Turismo Sport came onto the racing game scene to focus more on online multiplayer and esports instead of the classic single-player modes in past Gran Turismo titles. Speed up to the current day, and Gran Turismo 7 has taken the franchise around another hairpin turn back in the direction of single-player gameplay. This title features multiple single-player modes and numerous cars to choose from, all while being one of the most realistic and best-looking sim racers around.
A fantastic example of the revamped single-player in Gran Turismo 7 and arguably the best part of the game is the Cafe mode. The Cafe itself is a chill location that is the main hub for a single-player mode that’s focused on teaching you everything you need to know about enjoying the game to the fullest and car culture history, all while letting you collect some of the most iconic vehicles of all time.
Each group of tasks in Cafe mode is referred to as a Menu. There are specific menus that focus on teaching you how to tune cars with the multitude of different parts available in the game or how to do more mundane tasks like getting a car wash.
The car-specific menus feature a wide range of vehicles, from speedy Japanese sports cars to classic American muscle cars. As you win the races that the menu tells you to complete, more cars and more tracks unlock. Then when you return to the Cafe, your guide, Luca, treats you to a history lesson on the set of cars that you just unlocked. It’s a fantastic history lesson for car buffs and newbies alike.
The only gate to making it through the Cafe in Gran Turismo 7 is the License Center. Sharp turns, precise braking, efficient cornering, and more are all required to earn all five levels of licenses. Each license has 10 tests, each with its own Bronze, Silver, and Gold times. Bronze is good enough to pass each license test, but you won’t unlock the special car that you would get for hitting all of the gold times.
While the License Center can sometimes feel like a hurdle to getting through the enjoyable single-player content in the Cafe, it’s a fantastic tool to help new and experienced racers hone their skills. This mode pounds the fundamentals into your brain and gives you very little room for error.
If those tests and races are getting you too wound up, then you can unwind with bite-size tasks in Mission mode. The missions you can take on in Gran Turismo 7 range from fun and wacky like a short race with all 1960s Fiat 500s that can barely accelerate uphill to more intense, like trying to overtake three cars in the final turn of the classic Deep Forest course.
But one of the most enjoyable game modes in Gran Turismo 7 is, without a doubt, Music Rally. In this mode, you race against time by driving around specific courses as far as you can before a song ends. You also have a timer that is replenished by hitting certain checkpoints on each track.
You can think of this mode as a leisurely Sunday drive. The timer is just there to make sure you don’t make any massive mistakes. Music Rally is an extremely enjoyable break from more intense races in the game. Plus, it lets you sit back and enjoy the absolutely stellar soundtrack in Gran Turismo 7.
Even with enjoyable single-player modes, a racing game is only as good as its lineup of cars. Fortunately, Gran Turismo 7 has a large lineup of over 400 different models from multiple different years that will surely satisfy any collector’s desire to own the best and most iconic cars in history.
If you’re looking to instantly grow your collection, then the Used Car shop is the first place you’ll want to check out. This is where you’ll find classic cars dating back to the 60s at a highly discounted rate. The Used Car shop can be a crapshoot since the 15 cars you can view at any time are picked randomly. Yet, it’s still the best place to start looking for cars to add to your collection.
If you’re more into new cars, then Brand Central features 56 manufacturers from eight countries. Despite the large selection, there are some odd omissions that would have been fun to try out, like the very popular Mazda 3 or the all-electric Nissan Leaf, just to name a few.
The last place you can buy cars from in Gran Turismo 7 is the Legend Cars shop. This is similar to the Used Car Shop, where it gives you a list of just a few (five) classic used cars to choose from. The biggest difference is that the Legend Cars shop features some of the most popular vehicles in history, like the 90s Toyota Supras and 60s Aston Martins with less than 10 thousand miles on them.
The one piece of equipment that ties everything together is the DualSense controller. The game’s implementation of haptic feedback and use of the adaptive triggers are game-changers. For the first time, you can truly feel sensations like your tires slipping or your anti-lock brakes kicking in that used to only be present on force feedback racing wheels.
Unfortunately, that praise comes with a few caveats. The game controls exceptionally well with the control stick and not so much with the other control options. The d-pad’s digital inputs are too jerky to be accurate, and the gyro controls also feel too imprecise. I could see the gyro controls being a good alternative with enough practice, but using the left stick is the option that felt the most natural.
What Gran Turismo 7 does with the DualSense is magical, but what happens when you put your controller down at the end of a race is also impressive. If you just sit at a results screen after finishing a race, you’ll be treated to the sounds of your engine pinging as it cools down. On top of that, the audio of your engine and surrounding cars mid-race makes you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.
Gran Turismo 7 just keeps the realism coming with its wildly stunning visuals. This is the first time that a game in the franchise features ray-traced lighting effects. It’s incredibly easy to see the difference that ray-tracing makes when you look at still images.
Some people may be disappointed to learn that the mode which focuses on ray-tracing only applies the full effect in replays, before races, and in still images. What’s even worse is that the ray-traced portion before a race is running at a much slower frame rate, then it cuts to your view of the track, and suddenly the game is back to running at a stable 60fps. It’s extremely jarring and just doesn’t look good at all.
While I suggest turning off ray-tracing to avoid those choppy transitions, you’ll undoubtedly want to have it cranked up for Scapes mode. This photography mode lets you choose from over 2,000 real-world locations to shoot stunning pictures of your vehicles.
The number of options you have in Scapes mode is mind-boggling. Besides your standard color filters, you can also adjust the speed of the car to get a blur effect, change the camera aperture to let in more or less light, and so many other options that it would double the length of this review. That might sound intimidating, but even an inexperienced photographer can enjoy this mode and take some truly remarkable photos.
The same photo options are fully available to use on race replays as well. It lets you pause the action and create one-of-a-kind action shots of your best racing moments.
The track selection isn’t anywhere near the over 2000 locations in Scapes mode, but there’s still a solid selection of 34 tracks across North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Each track has multiple configurations, so if you love the scenery of a certain area, you can play it without getting tired of the same configuration each time.
Last but not least are the multiplayer modes. In Gran Turismo 7, you can set up or join public and private lobbies for racing against other players online. There’s also a local multiplayer option which is an unfortunately rare mode in games these days.
The other online mode is the return of Sport from the last GT title. This online mode is essentially the main competitive option for players who want to test their skills against other people in daily races.
For fans of GT Sport, the great news is that all of your ratings and user-created content will transfer to Gran Turismo 7. The bad news is that not much has changed from one title to the next with this mode. Your driver and sportsmanship ratings will still get knocked for completely incidental accidents that you didn’t even cause.
All in all, Gran Turismo 7 is looking like it could be the best racing game of 2022. There are so many other superlatives you can go with for this game like it’s the best-looking PS5 game or it’s one of the best PlayStation exclusives of this generation so far, but the important thing is that the game is just straight-up fun. Despite a few stumbles here and there, the shine of Gran Turismo 7 greatly exceeds the negatives and makes it a must-have for anyone that’s looking for their next PS5 title.
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- Beautiful graphics.
- Incredible audio & soundtrack.
- Tight controls.
- Cafe mode is a triumphant return for single-player.
- Jarring framerate change from ray-traced scenes to non-ray-traced races.
- Few changes made to improve online.
- Missing popular cars.
Mar. 3, 2022
Sony Interactive Entertainment
PS4 & PS5
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