Gran Turismo 7 REVIEW(PS5)
''Race for the taste, but not for honey nut cheerios''
Developed: Polyphony Digital
Published: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: March 4th, 2022
*Review copy provided to me by SIE and Playstation*
''If you aint first, you're last''
Gran Turismo 7 is a racing and driving simulator that is developed by Polyphony Digital and published by SIE. With there being an almost ten year gap from GT6 to GT7, fans have been waiting in breath for the next big entry into the series. Now that it has finally arrived, does it live up to the high expectations everyone was expecting or does it peter out at the starting line before its engines are even revved?. Only one way to find out, so lets go!
So before we jump into this fully, I feel like I need to make a quick disclaimer here. I am not the biggest racing fan in the world or of even simulation. I don't hate them, and they aren't terrible by any means what so ever, however, I've been more inclined to play more arcade like racing games over the course of my many years. Now here with GT7, I will give my clear unbiased thoughts on the title and base it off its strengths and weakness as a racing simulator and what all it accomplishes or not, with it. It's not like I don't have any history with this series or racing simulators, that couldn't be further from the truth... the fact is, I'm just REALLY REALLY bad at them and well, bad at anything that includes driving of any kind. When starting your game, you're greeting to a beautiful montage showing the history of all things cars. From its creators, manufacturers, inventors, racing roots, its all here, year by year, it piles up the history for everyone to see. This is when you get the feeling that even before the game itself begins, this is clearly a project that goes beyond just racing and driving, and instead looks like a celebration and labor of love of anything and all things that has to do with cars, classic or modern. Perfect way to start off this 25th anniversary of this franchise. and me, not being a real car person per say, It definitely struck a cord with me in all the right ways. Doesn't make sense? well why not? I love seeing the history behind creators or inventions from tv shows like Modern Marvels and How Its Made, so anytime I can be educated and shown the ins and outs of something I may not be familiar with, it is a treat to me. But ok ok, enough about the nostalgia praising, how does this game fare in general, just as you know.. an actual game?
Before you even start the main game, as in getting to the main hub area where all your adventures will take place in this title, you have the option to play a mode named Music Rally. This is basically your relaxation mode. Nothing serious, nothing intense, just slow riding while listening to some copyright infringement goodness as you coast along various different tracks at your own pace. Strangely enough, this acts as a good tutorial for those that want to learn how specific cars feel when driving in regards to breaks, weight of the car, turning and acceleration. But it isn't until you pass one of these stages, that the real fun begins and the full meat and potatoes opens up to you. Opening up to your main menu for the first time, you see the beginning selectable modes of what the game has to offer you such as Cafe, Garage, Showcase, Used Cars and World Circuits, each having their own unique use and purpose. For example Garage is a little bit more self explanatory, as it serves as a means to house all your purchased or unlocked vehicles, up to 424 in fact. I know your first thought when learning that is '''holy crap, that's a lot fish'' wait no, I mean ''holy crap, that's a lot of cars'' and you wouldn't be wrong either. Its crazy that Polyphony has more cars in their game than we have in our National Dex. But while people go to that example, me, however, just can't help but thinking that with all my collected cars, that I'm going to end up on an episode of MTV Cribs or Pimp My Ride. Then there's modes like Used cars, that allows you to purchase new or old cars to use at your leisure when collecting enough currency, Showcase mode that allows you to view your selected car driving around empty roads as if its something straight out of a car commercial. Seriously, its the first thing you'll think of. But the real modes you are here for are definitely Cafe and World Circuits. But more on those in a second.
If you're wondering if there's a story mode to go along with this title since that was pretty much abandoned in GT Sport, then um, kind of and kind of not. Being a so called ''Car RPG'' you'd think right off the bat that there should be one right?. Well, overall you'll be happy, but new players, don't expect some large over arching story that might change your life, and instead dig into a fact that you're basically Ricky Bobby, always keeping in mind that if you aint first, you're last. I'm semi joking by the way, as while this is a racing simulator, it's more about rags to riches like previous iterations have told in the past. It worked then and it works now. Start off with the lowest car in the field, work your way up to become the ultimate champion. Simple. So how does this ''story mode'' or rather ''campaign mode'' work exactly you ask? hang on there speed racer, lets shift gears just for a quick itty bitty second and get back into the conversation I actually started previously in relation to Cafe mode first. With a brand new game, must come new features, right? well that holds true here with a brand new feature called GT Cafe, a mode that replaces the mundane and ugly looking race selection lists and instead inserts something that to me, is actually really cool and unique. Here in GT Cafe, you're basically in a Cafe style restaurant setting, with each menu acting like a base for your overall progression as you move forward.
Each menu containing a set amount of objectives to complete in exchange for some brand new cars to add to your collection, all of which will go straight to your garage so you can show off your super cool collection. Every menu you select from will also have their own individual theme, which may consist of setting a goal for you to collect a specific amount of BMW related cars, that once fully completed, will gain the attention of the Cafe owner, Luca, who will then give you a run down and history behind every car you just obtained. This was actually neat to see specific histories of companies and the cars themselves, because someone who's basic knowledge of cars ends at ''turn key, car goes vrooom'', its enlightening. Overall though for GT Cafe, I think the reason why this feature stands out to me and possibly other people just like me, is because it branches off into a territory that's beyond racing and instead of just being like ''go here, race, go here, race'', which don't get me wrong, isn't boring or anything, but adding to it the extra layer of a history lesson behind all these classic or modern cars to see where they came from, how they came to be, is a fascinating idea and freshens up the formula. ''Stop bleeding nostalgia, get back to the campaign mode, you loser''. Hey now, is that a mouth full of Nitrous, because you're speeding your engine up and flapping those gums off faster than usual this time. Relax buddy, were getting to it.
Getting back to the campaign mode before someone puts a potato in my exhaust pipe, here in GT7, your main campaign mode can be tailored made to anyone, pro level or novice level, with future GameNChick DLC coming because they needed time to figure out how they can adjust the game in order to make me actually good at it. I appreciate you, Polyphony, you the real MVP's. Ok no no, I won't have my own DLC, but I wasn't joking about the ease of access in regards to the racing. In GT7 you can choose from multiple modes to play from with each having their own pros and cons for every players skill level. For instance with Rookie, auto breaking for turns and lines in the road detailing the most efficient way to drive about the track, while more seasoned pros and veterans can choose to turn everything off and shake and bake your way to victory without any hand holding and just put to use your own individual skill. I really like the option of multiple play styles because it can bring in players of all skills, ages and experience, and allow them to also have fun racing to their hearts content without feeling like the game doesn't respect them or alienate them. As you race your way through the games World Circuit, which includes regions of the world such as Americas, Europe and Asia, you will be able to partake in tracks in 34 various locations stretched apart in each region, with categories ranging from real world tracks such as Brands Hatch and Daytona International Speedway and down to fiction tracks like Deep Forest Raceway and Broad Bean Raceway. That's a lot of content right at the start, but you can bet your bottom dollar more will come via DLC at a later date. Bet your bottom dollar... who the heck even talks like that anymore?. Anyways, those are just some of the great features offered here in GT7. So features are great and all, but what about the actual racing, how does it feel, how does it hold up compared to other racing simulators on the market and is it any good. Well, the good part is subjective at the end of the day, I mean there are people out there that actually think the driving mechanics in Grand Theft Auto 4 are actually good, shocking, I know. But luckily here, just like in previous Gran Turismo titles, the handling of the cars feels extra smooth and realistic in a certain sense. No not in a heavy and bogged down type of feel, but more so feels like you're the one in control of the car. There's enough weight to each car to make them all feel like a real object, so it doesn't break your overall immersion, but at the same time, they do not feel weightless and like feathers either, its perfectly aligned. Its a good thing too that the controls are balanced as the more you race, the harder the racer A.I. will become to thwart and beat, and on top of that, the elements of the weather will also play an impact on how you drive, how careful you are, and how much you've learned in your journey so far. Are you a Vin Diesel who's beating all the chumps on the block? or a crash dummy set for failure. Only you can decide that one. I'd suggest being the former though because you do not want to be like Ray Peterson after he pulls up to a race, goes around at a deadly pace, leaving the crowd wondering what happened that day, as his car overturned in flames and then as he's pulled from the twisted wreck, with his dying breath, they could hear him cry ''Tell Laura, I love her'', no no, you don't want to be THAT guy. Be Lightning McQueen, Ka-Chow!
When you're done with the core gameplay of the game via its world circuits, GT Cafe objectives and filling your garage, rest assured, you aren't quite done as of yet. To get even further use out your cars, to prep yourself for GT Sport and the online racing mechanics to race against the best of the world, you can feel free to stop by GT Auto and begin customizing your car to your hearts desire by adding in a sports computer, new tires for wet roads or rough roads ,depending on the terrain you'll be driving on, new suspension, break pads, etc, and based off whatever you buy, will raise the condition level of your car in the process. It can become pretty addicting. In relation to the tires I just talked about, there's one feature that goes along with that purchase, and it's the Dual sense haptic feedback. With every weather element that takes place, such as taking bumps in dirt or water or even just vibrations from the track itself, not only is it heard on the controller itself, but its felt. You feel every bit of the terrain beneath your car. Not since Astro's Playroom have I felt a title use the haptic feedback to such an advantage before. It adds so much to the feel and immersion of the game. We also have Roulette mini game mode, which is basically a slot machine style of mini game that offers you various rewards using a slot machine like pull. Honestly, I can see where they were going with this, but it seems far too much like a gacha scheme than anything overall beneficial. Chances of obtaining anything substantial are slim to none. In regards to the online functions here, multiplayer lobbies are now designed for everyone, not just the hardcore. Want to just casually have fun and race? find a race seeking entrants and then have your go at it, however, are you wanting to be a little bit more serious? enter the sport mode in order to race with others who are equally as enthusiastic about their cars. But beware, should you try to pull a fast one on someone and attempt to cause a massive wreck or grief, you will be penalized for it in game. So have fun, do your best and GET ER DONE. Why.. Why do I keep talking like this?
At the end of the day, Gran Turismo 7 is a breath of fresh air in the market that has been dominated by Forza as of late in this franchises absence. Sure, even with all my praises, its not without its faults, such as load times snagging and taking roughly 10 seconds to transition screens on menus, but in game itself, load times are virtually non existent, its really weird. Ray tracing mode also offers only a tiny tiny bit of upgrade compared to performance mode, nothing substantial, but its negative overall is that it allows for some further texture pop ins here and there. Other than that, its indistinguishable from performance mode. Even with all those few negatives, it still doesn't take away from the fact that Gran Turismo 7 is a really fun game, even for a player like me who doesn't traditionally play realistic driving simulators. With its smooth and responsive game play, large variety of tracks to play, plethora of cars to unlock and collect, new additions of GT Cafe that offers extra objectives for you to partake and the vast history of not only the racing industry, but the cars and companies themselves, GT7 is a game any racing fan should attempt to play at least once and one clearly made out of labor and love. So with all this having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW.