Gran Turismo 7 (PS5) Review

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Elia Tabuenca GarcĂ­a

There are labors of love and then there is Gran Turismo 7 . From famed developer Polyphony Digital and series creator Kazunori Yamauchi, it's clear that every member of the studio has a passion for cars. In fact, we may even be selling short. Gran Turismo 7 is a game born out of love. 

It's as much about the engines under the hood as it is about the drivers behind the wheel and the minds that created the engines. If you didn't appreciate cars before Gran Turismo 7, you almost certainly will later.

The game goes the extra mile to put manufacturers big and small on a pedestal. Not only can you buy and compete with digital replicas of the vehicles they make in real life, you can also learn about their origins and what led them to where they are today. 

It's a deep dive into the history of the car, detailing the early days of the automobile with in-game timelines specific to each company. The whole experience feels like a celebration of culture and entrepreneurship that almost uses car racing simply as a front. Remember, this front just happens to be spectacular.

The real driving simulator returns with its biggest asset at launch: a single-player campaign. Implemented months after the fact in Gran Turismo Sport, the seventh entry in the mainline seems to have the best of both worlds. 

Longtime fans can begin their quest for vehicular greatness with the Sunday Cup, while online racers can pick up where they left off with the Sport multiplayer mode. No ifs or buts: Polyphony Digital was delivered to both sides of the track.

It's the single-player campaign, however, that will have the most hardcore fans eager for a copy of the PlayStation 5. Once again, you can rise from racing against the Toyota Yaris and Honda Civic to raising the checkered flag in a Bugatti Veyron. The CaRPG, as it's dubbed, successfully replicates the rags to riches story the series has told six times before.

New in this edition is the GT CafĂ©, which works as a kind of base for progression. Instead of buttoning down lists of tournaments you can join, Gran Turismo 7 revolves around menus. Not in the literal sense, but rather a small collection of objectives to complete in exchange for new sets of wheels. 

This is how you'll get the vast majority of your car collection early in the game, gaining access to a variety of vehicles that you can take for a spin at other events. It creates a natural sense of progression that lets you familiarize yourself with the game's driving and handling mechanics before moving on to faster cars and other types of tracks.

However, to its credit, the feature is more of a reminder of how the title is about more than racing to the finish line. Each Menu has a certain theme, and once you've completed all the listed tasks, GT Café owner Luca will give you the story of the cars you've just added to your garage and what makes them relevant. Sadly, none of this is voiced, but it further reinforces how Polyphony Digital has developed a game that is about more than just fighting for first place.

If that's what you want to focus on, Gran Turismo 7 will still serve you very, very well. The campaign can be tweaked to your needs, with adjustable difficulty levels to get just the right amount of simulation for your skill level. 

Race lines and auto-braking options can be enabled for newbies, while veterans can turn off all assists to reproduce the real thing. No matter where you are driving both in the game and in real life, the game has a setup for you. After all, everyone should be able to try the Laguna Seca Autodromo Corkscrew.

Gran Turismo titles have always hit that sweet spot with their controls and handling, and the same can be said here. Working within the parameters you set, your driving skills will be tested against the somewhat challenging AI and weather. It follows the tried and true then: an incredibly satisfying game in the driver's seat.

It's the PS5 DualSense controller that takes the experience above and beyond. Polyphony Digital's use of haptic feedback is absolutely superb, rivaling Astro's Playroom as the best use of the feature so far. It really feels like the steering wheel is right there in your hands as the bumps in the road and puddles play into the guts of the controller. 

The vibrations move quickly from the front to the back of the pad, making it feel like you're really on the floor. Moving at such high speeds, the game isn't afraid to make those bangs sound a little rough if you catch them at a bad angle. It's an incredible feeling in your hands that proves what haptic feedback can do to elevate gaming on the PS5 generation.

Adaptive triggers, on the other hand, are much less pronounced. They are designed to mimic braking, applying resistance when the car stops. 

However, this resistance disappears if the brakes lock up. This is accurate for real life, but it's a feature only enthusiasts are likely to appreciate. From a racing newcomer's perspective, it's hardly going to look like there's any adaptive trigger support.

However, there is no doubt about the PS5's SSD support. Extremely fast load times make retrying license tests a chore, getting you in and out of attempts faster than the three-second countdown to starting the challenge itself. 

The same can be said for starter races and navigation menus: loading screens are a thing of the past in Gran Turismo 7.

Interestingly, then, the main menu from which you access all the features that span the single-player campaign is surprisingly slow. Clicking on any of the icons brings the game to a crawl, almost like it's stuck on something. 

We thought this could have something to do with the required online connection, but when testing things offline, the main menu still seems to freeze for a second after exiting and returning to it. Maybe a post-launch patch will fix the problems.

The main menu will also be used a lot, as it houses so many options. You can sort your car collection in the Workshop and customize them in GT Auto before working on the under-the-hood parts in the Tuning Shop. 

Your vehicle portfolio can be expanded at the Used Cars auction, the Legendary Cars tab invites you to pick up some classics, and Brand Central is where the fastest drivers on the planet live. While it can be a little clunky at times, the main menu provides a number of clear and concise options that simplify progression and navigation.

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Perhaps its only downside is how it starts to introduce some random elements into the experience. By completing the Menus in the GT CafĂ© and winning specific races, you'll have the chance to spin a sort of roulette wheel full of prizes. You will always be rewarded with something, but it made us feel a little uncomfortable at times. 

Another variation features three cars that you can win, and you must select a random card with the vehicles behind. Of course, it almost always felt like we were getting the least amount of credits or the worst performing car. 

With the 'PlayStation Store Recharge' icon forever stamped below your credit balance, it's clear that you'll be able to pay your way to the best cars in the game right away.

second opinion

I am fortunate to have a Logitech G29 and Playseat Evolution setup at home and Gran Turismo Sport has been my constant driving game for almost five years and was one of the first games installed on my PS5. GT Sport was my first Gran Turismo since the original PlayStation titles and it was this steering wheel/seat setup that completely changed the game for me, finally making the GT simulator approach really fun to play. So like many I've been looking forward to Gran Turismo 7 for years and it's finally here.

Coming from GT Sport, Gran Turismo 7 is similar to when you get a major OS version upgrade on your phone or laptop: everything is still there before, but it's been completely reorganized and some elements have been redesigned. At first I was a little disappointed, the gameplay on the run looked identical, the visuals looked very similar and the menus a little disorienting. But just like getting to know a new version of the operating system, with a little time you start to notice and appreciate all the small improvements, you get used to where things have changed, and you quickly start to feel comfortable again in your new normal.

The Cafe campaign structure means that overall progress towards better cars feels slower and given the substantial price to buy the game you will also need to invest a substantial amount of time to earn enough credits to acquire the really fun cars to drive. unless underpowered cars, terrible handling with horrible brakes is your kind of thing. It's great to see that every PS4 compatible wheel/pedal feels present and correct with this latest entry and serves as a perfect example of how the GT7 is clearly a natural evolution of GT Sport, refined, polished and improved rather than overloaded - and something I look forward to spending countless hours with him for years to come.

Anthony Dickens
Managing Director

Back on track and weather effects are other important details that can affect your finish location. From puddles that raise water as you pass through them to the fog generated by the cars in front of you, it's incredibly impressive how drastically the dynamics of a race can change as it starts to rain.

 If you get caught with the wrong tires, rain could spell the end of your on-track performance as you skid in the fight for grip.

The game also shifts subtly from day to night, meaning two laps can be wildly different from each other as the headlights are turned on and your vision dims. In sync with any gusts of bad weather and the driving experience genuinely changes, challenging you to keep all four wheels on track.

Your most difficult tests, however, will be played online. Gran Turismo is literally an Olympic sport now, so Polyphony Digital was always going to excel in multiplayer for its seventh mainline entry. 

However, the developer has come up with a smart approach that should appeal to all types of gamers. Multiplayer lobbies are designed for the more casual user: here you can browse the races looking for participants and choose the one you want to participate in.

There is then an entirely separate Sport mode where devotees can race in earnest, following guidelines to keep the race fair for everyone. While you no longer have to agree to a set of rules just to start racing, the concepts behind Gran Turismo Sport remain, treat other drivers with respect. 

If you break this code of conduct on the track, you will be penalized. Its driver rating and sportiness rating are inherited from the PS4 title, so there's no getting around those careless mistakes made a few years ago.

As such, it looks like Gran Turismo 7 strikes the perfect balance between its single player and multiplayer offerings, and then accommodates both casual and hardcore drivers. There's something for everyone here, no matter how much experience you have behind the wheel.

Two visual modes dictate how the game looks and, to be perfectly honest, it's almost impossible to tell the differences between them. One prioritizes frame rate while the other enables ray tracing during replays, scapes and the like. 

As a result, you get a super smooth frame rate, no matter which one you choose, 60 frames per second is used as a base, and the option to optimize for performance smoothes the title even further. Ray tracing seems to introduce a bit of texture pop-in, but the actual image quality remains the same.

That is to say, the game looks fantastic – for the most part – no matter which mode you select. The car models are bright and realistic, the tracks leave skid marks and crash residue, and the menus are clean and sophisticated. 

Some of that quality is lost if you look beyond the track and its immediate surroundings to the surroundings of the venue. You'll see some blocky textures and poor design work, but that's been part of the problem with racing games for what feels like a decade now.

It's exactly that kind of history that Gran Turismo 7 wants to celebrate, though. With a collector level linked to your profile, the game is as much about racing cars as it is accumulating them. 

By visiting the showrooms of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and all the other manufacturers that produce the best vehicles in the world, you gain an appreciation beyond what happens on the track. This is a game in honor of designers, factory workers. 

Gran Turismo 7 is about car culture, history and respect for how we got to this point today. Polyphony Digital stands out and much more.


Gran Turismo 7 is a game for everyone: racing enthusiasts, newbies and anyone in between. It celebrates the culture and history of the car within the confines of a driving experience, explaining how the cars you pass by the checkered flag fit into the wider world. There's never been a game like this before: Gran Turismo 7 is about more than just racing. It is something that matters; something that deserves appreciation and respect as much as it gives it away for itself.

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