Gran Turismo 7 Review: A Celebration of 25 Years of Excellence
Polyphone Digital's 25 year racing sim journey has culminated with Gran Turismo 7, is this the best game in the storied franchise? My full review.
Get those engines revving its finally time to hit the track with Polyphone Digital’s latest installment in the legendary racing franchise with Gran Turismo 7. The series makes it return highlighting the rich culture of automobiles along with their historical significance in the 20thcentury. From the outset of the game, players are treated to a video montage that intertwines automotive advancements side-by-side with major events in human history. As a motorhead, I loved the walkdown memory lane straight to the driver’s seat of my new ride.
Your automotive journey begins in earnest, but as you capture more podiums the stunning world of Gran Turismo 7 really opens up. Whether you are looking for a deep sim racing experience, collecting, tuning, or photographing cars, you can find it all within GT7’s extensive offerings. Buckle up, it’s time to take a spin and explore the most comprehensive Gran Turismo yet.
Gran Turismo 7 Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
Become a racing legend
The core of the Gran Turismo 7 experience is a sandbox and car life simulator where players are encouraged to engage with all thing’s automobile related. I’ve been tearing up the series’ pixel tracks since the original released in 1997. In many ways it was a coming of age for the racing genre, tapping into a sim-obsessed, ride tinkering base. There was really nothing else like it, the detail in the cars, tuning options and track physics were impeccable.
"This “hardcore” racing experiencing has always been in the DNA of the franchise and Gran Turismo 7 is no different."
This “hardcore” racing experiencing has always been in the DNA of the franchise and Gran Turismo 7 is no different. To make the game more accessible for a new audience, Polyphone Digital introduced the brand new “Café” and “Menu Books” mode. This is the game’s “story mode” which serves up newcomers with a more accessible way to approach the dauntingly detailed world of GT7.
I really enjoyed this new mode, as it offered a more direct path into the game’s core experience. The variety of cars is great along with special guests that stop by to introduce deeper history of the manufacturers or specific vehicles. The one drawback is much of the sequences between characters are all text based, would have loved to see more live action scenes.
The real driving simulator
The original Gran Turismo debut in 1997 with 178 cars and 11 tracks, fast forward 25 years and GT7 boasts 400 car models with 90 track variations. The tracks also now include accurate weather and meteorological data. The effects are so accurate that the heavily driven race lines dry faster where cars pass over more frequently. Legendary tracks like the Le Mans and Nürburgring return as well as fantasy circuits from the GT like Trial Mountain.
In-depth car physics
The release of Gran Turismo 7 brings with it an extensive 25-years of automotive physics simulation history. In addition to this, Polyphone consulted with expert advisors like Lewis Hamilton, drivers of the FIA Gran Turismo Championships, and Michelin Tire's Motorsport Division. This offers one of the most accurate true-to-world racing sims out there and you can truly feel the road. To this day, I attribute the series with being able to help me get my real-world driver’s license, yes it was that accurate then and it’s the same now.
"To this day, I attribute the series with being able to help me get my real-world driver’s license, yes it was that accurate then and it’s the same now."
Feel the road with the DualSense controller
The PlayStation 5 boasts plenty of hardware features that make GT7 really shine. Far and away the biggest standout is the DualSense which allows you to truly feel the road via the controller. Polyphone did an excellent job utilizing the adaptive triggers and haptic vibrations, putting one of the most accurate feeling racing experiences in my hands. I could feel the vibrations of a tire that became locked while braking through my fingertips.
"I could feel the vibrations of a tire that became locked while braking through my fingertips."
You can really get a sense of the track and the state of your tires just through the controller feedback. It’s quite remarkable to feeling the weight of your vehicle shift through corners all through the DualSense, other racers simply don’t have this level of immersion.
Gran Turismo 7’s visual performance
The cars and environments have seen some incredible upgrades over the past 25 years and GT7 is quite a visual showcase. Like many other next-gen titles, players are given display options before beginning their racing experience. In GT7 you can pick either “Prioritize Frame Rate Mode” or “Prioritize Ray Tracing Mode.” I went with the latter; I didn’t want to miss out on the splendor of ray tracing on the cars and it didn’t disappoint.
"I didn’t want to miss out on the splendor of ray tracing on the cars and it didn’t disappoint."
The one drawback when selecting “Ray Tracing Mode” is that the technical effect only appears in select scenes. You can only see the effect in café demo scenes, your garage, during replays, Scapes and Race Photo Mode. It’s disappointing that it is so limited throughout the experience, because it looks stellar when its active.
Racing’s new vibe
Another new addition that I really enjoyed to the Gran Turismo formula is the Music Rally mode. It is an accessible way more casual drivers to enjoy a day at the track with some great tunes. This mode essentially replaces the “seconds” in time extension modes with “beats” in a song. Hit each of the checkpoints and the song will continue, miss them and you’ll need to restart. At launch there are only 6 songs to race through, with Polyphone promising more via DLC in the near future.
Music Replay adds more drama to your races
Music Replay is an automatically generated video sequence of your last race. The replay engine automatically generates camera positions and creates a replay montage to match music and the replay data created. It’s not just simple camera cuts, it generates whole new angles depending on positioning and music tempo. This, mixed with ray tracing is a real visual feast that I found myself constantly taking screenshots and video clips throughout.
Build your own car calendar with Scapes
Virtual photographers rejoice, Scapes is a bona fide champion when it comes to image capture tools, filters and overall creative options. It’s rare that a photo mode gets it very own dedicated space in a game, but Gran Turismo 7 has done just that, and Scapes is absolutely incredible. The mode allows you to travel the world with your favourite cars to over 2,500 different locations to snap your car in.
"You’ll be able to produce your very own car calendar with the professional results that come out of Scapes."
The GT7 graphical engine then combines these spots with their true-to-life light information and different photo effects. The level of creative freedom, filters and ray traced vehicles combine into something special. You’ll be able to produce your very own car calendar with the professional results that come out of Scapes. I am extremely excited to see what the community comes up with all these tools at their disposal.
Deep customization and social tools
The Tuning Shop has also made its return in Gran Turismo 7 and the extensive parts catalog is sure to put a smile on any gearhead’s face. According to Polyphone there are roughly 60 types of performance parts per car. By upgrading and swapping out these parts you’ll be able to change the performance and “feel” of your car on the road.
Once you are satisfied with the performance under the hood, you can customization the appearance of your car at GT Auto. This shop features over 650 aerodynamic parts, 130 types of wheels, and 1200 colours of paint data measured from real world samples. There are several dozen types of parts per car, totaling to several thousand customization parts.
"There are several dozen types of parts per car, totaling to several thousand customization parts."
In addition to this, the Livery Editor features more flexibility to place stickers and other visual customizations in more spots around your car. Customized cars, liveries, replays, photos and decals can be uploaded and shared by players in the Discover section of the Showcase.
Polyphone Digital has delivered a deep racing simulator experience with Gran Turismo 7. The car detail and customization options are mind-blowing, especially for the scenes and modes that support ray tracing. Unfortunately, the visuals are not always at their peak performance, leaving more to be desired especially in certain sections. The overall presentation is well organized, with plenty of nods to automotive tradition. Gran Turismo 7 reaches pole position with excellent gameplay, a plethora of game modes both old and new.
Gran Turismo 7 Pros
+ Stunning Ray Tracing segments
+ Superb, high intensity sim-based gameplay
+ “Music Rally” and “Scapes” are a welcome addition to the franchise
+ DualSense integration is excellent
Gran Turismo 7 Cons
-Certain race types get repetitive
-Licensing segments can be a slog
-Some modes are too text heavy
Overall Game Score
A copy of the game was provided by PlayStation for the purpose of this review.