We as gamers head into enhanced or destroyed worlds to form a persona that we can’t live out in our daily lives. But who said that we couldn’t just simulate a daily experience? With crystal clear blue skies on a new generation console with photo-realistic graphics no less?
I’ll tell you who said we could do that, Sony. All through the latest racing sim, Gran Turismo 7 aimed to provide an experience unlike any other and I’m here to see if they delivered.
Just to add a bit of perspective, I am currently learning to drive. After having some practice playing Forza Horizon 4 I wondered what this experience would gift me, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The Gran Turismo series has always been a staple as both a racing game and a driving simulator. Although some would argue it leans more to the former in earlier entries, GT7 is without a doubt a simulative driving experience. Before I jump into the breakdown, I must give credit to Polyphony Digital, the developers who under Sony have crafted an amazing experience. As they developed all the other titles in the series it shows not only that the team is up to the task but that they have excelled within the playground that is the PS5’s specs. The amount of detail that has gone into various aspects of this experience was not only a great time but had me in awe at how realistic it was.
Realism is something many video games strive for, often a challenge when the subject matters are usually fantastical. Due to the focus of the GT series being real-world vehicles and the driving experience, Polyphony had a strong advantage to create something truly immersive. Coupled with the power and features housed within the PS5 and its accessories, I was left gobsmacked with how incredibly well it all came together. I’d also be silly if I didn’t mention how drop-dead gorgeous some of the tracks are, complete with day and night cycles and dynamic weather. Rain makes tracks slippery and requires you to be more careful, dirt tracks require earlier action to be navigated properly. Realism in both beauty and terrain is present here and serves to enhance the experience.
The haptic feedback compliments the rumble and car control, simulating holding a wheel and feeling every bump in the road. Additionally, the vehicle you control is incredibly responsive to acceleration and breaking via the adaptive triggers, which almost mimic the corresponding pedals.
I remember in my first few driving lessons I learned about judging the pressure you place on the pedals and that absolutely applies here. The simulation provided by the PS5 controller is the best experience you can get without buying a steering wheel, even including a motion option.
Aside from the actual driving simulation which is nailed, we also have car collecting and customisation. GT7’s main aim is to collect all the available cars and win any circuits and championships that you are asked to enter. This is dictated fairly well by the in-game companions who serve as guides on where to go, what to do and in some cases to serve as history lessons for specific cars. You are given missions that slowly add cars to your collection, earn you money and supply you with gifts that work in a loot box fashion. It will pain some players to know that microtransactions are available in this game, however, they are not required and there are plenty of opportunities to farm credits to buy and upgrade.
To wrap up, this game was more than just a game in my opinion. This was a full-blown driving simulator that is enhanced in every way by the Duelsense features. What could be called story progression wasn’t jaw-dropping by any means but allowed you to get into what you probably want the game for, driving and racing. There was enough guidance and support through licence exams and difficulty settings to teach anyone to play, enough that I started on easy and moved on to expert.
This game has a hefty price tag, and if you’re hoping for Mario kart or Crash team racing then you’ll be wasting your money. I enjoyed every second of Gran Turismo 7 and have plenty to still do and perfect before I’ll leave it alone. So, if what you’re looking for is true driving realism, you will absolutely get your money's worth here.
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