Gran Turismo 7 Review: Passion Without Flair

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Gran Turismo 7 Review: Passion Without Flair

Posted By Sebion Wabi     July 17, 2022    

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Gran Turismo 7, out Friday on PS4 and PS5, is a little staid. There's nothing wrong with its cars, how they drive, or how the game looks. You would expect that from the veterans at Polyphony Digital — the Sony-owned developer has made every entry in the 25-year-old Gran Turismo simulation racing game series, with the franchise present on every mainline PlayStation console generation — who spent roughly three years actively developing Gran Turismo 7. But it feels antiquated in some ways, lacking the flair and personality of modern racing titles.

Gran Turismo 7's biggest problem is that it doesn't do anything new. Sure, the game's roster of cars is larger than ever, with over 300 models to choose from, but they all feel similar. Each car has a handful of different paint jobs and decals, but no two cars feel substantially different from one another. Cars have more performance-enhancing parts than ever before, but the way you get them is pretty much the same. There are more than 30 tracks to race on, with some new ones added along the way — but they're all narrow and twisty tracks that don't deviate from the series' traditional formula.

The game's career mode offers standard modes like Championships and Time Trials, which are both fun enough to enjoy if you're already an avid Gran Turismo fan. The career mode also features a full suite of social features including a "Free Play" mode where you can just go out on the road by yourself with no pressure or objectives — this is great for anyone who wants to get better at navigating around a track or simply enjoy a solitary drive without having to worry about passing someone or trying for top-10 finishes in any given race. You can also hop in your car and challenge friends online; I didn't see any issues connecting online so long as both players were using PS4s (and not Xbox Ones).

For all intents and purposes Gran Turismo 7 is an entirely serviceable racing game that doesn't break any new ground or try to reinvent the wheel. It's a title that caters to existing fans, and if you're not one, then you'll probably find it incredibly dull — but it's still fun enough to pass the time while you're waiting for the next big title to be released. Gran Turismo 7 is available now on PS4.

Gran Turismo 7 is lacking all that. Most of its chosen tracks are boring or uninspired, Polyphony Digital doesn't do anything to spice things up, and there is no voiceover here. Everything is communicated via written text in Gran Turismo 7 — which means you have to do a lot of reading. (Gran Turismo 7 is also full of white people as NPCs, despite being made by a Tokyo-headquartered studio. It tells you who the game is targeted towards, but it feels weird to mask the developers like this.) Music is also part of Gran Turismo 7's newest game mode, Music Rally, where you drive to the beat of music — but I didn't enjoy it at all.

It's completely optional, and I don't really see the point of it.

Gran Turismo 7 is not a bad game, but it's also not great. The DLC has been pretty good this time around, with a decent selection of tracks and cars that are fun to drive — but it doesn't feel like the Gran Turismo series has changed much since this game came out in 2013. Gran Turismo 7 is an important game for Polyphony Digital, as it was an important title for Sony — but I'm sure there are many more titles in the pipeline that will make it onto my list of favourite games of all time.

Gran Turismo 7 review: gameplay and campaign

On the racetrack, Gran Turismo 7 delivers as a serious racer. It demands you to pay attention to the basics — racing line, timely braking, the right tyres, and most efficient turning — if you are going to become good. But you can't control every variable, it's unpredictable at times. Dynamic weather can really upend your race in Gran Turismo 7. Having started with stock tires once, I was smooth sailing for two-thirds of the race before a quick shower ground the race to a halt. From being very close to 1st, I eventually ended up outside the podium, which in turn lost me the championship by a lone point. This is a good example of how Gran Turismo 7 can be fun, but you can't take it for granted.

The campaign is also a very good one, and I had a lot of fun playing through it. The story itself isn't anything special, but the way Polyphony Digital presents it is. It's not just about racing — there are some very enjoyable cutscenes and voice-overs that make you want to keep playing. I love the way the game allows you to control the camera angles and gives you insight into what's happening on the track. Gran Turismo 7 allows you to choose who your rivals are in each race, as well as how they approach each race. This makes for more interesting races — if you have an aggressive rival in front of you who wants to overtake every lap, you will want to put up with them just so that they don't win against your friend who prefers racing cleanly. With all this in mind, my favourite part of Gran Turismo 7's campaign was when I was racing against my friend on his car with an aggressive rival in front of us both — we were both going quicker than him but he was driving far too aggressively and was causing us both problems by getting stuck behind other cars — yet we were still able to catch him up by doing clean races on gbwhatsapp (and later overtake him).

Gran Turismo 7 review: graphics

Gran Turismo 7 has good-looking cars and tracks; however, this game is also well known for its graphics, and I'm happy to report that it delivers again. The cars look realistic and the tracks look great — as if they were produced in real life. The only problem that I have with the graphics are the reflections on the car's bodywork — they look a little too cartoonish, especially when you see them up close. There are loads of different camera angles to choose from, which make races more interesting than just racing in a straight line.

Gran Turismo 7 review: music

This is one of my favourite features of Gran Turismo 7: when you're just driving along and you hear some nice music in the background. In fact, even when you're racing against another player in a race, you can hear their car's engine being played over your own as if it was being played on an imaginary speaker system attached to your car! It's quite an impressive achievement that Polyphony Digital has managed to produce such realistic sounds for all its vehicles — even though they're all virtual! Getting into a car is no easy task because there are so many options available; I'd recommend looking at this YouTube video if you want to learn how to get into any vehicle quickly.

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