After 25 years of PlayStation Gran Turismo games, and some 85 million sales, you might think that the gamemakers at Polyphony Digital know how to build a car-racing simulation game. And you would be correct. Gran Turismo 7 is the latest Sony Interactive Entertainment offering for gamers who love the idea of visiting exotic locales, sliding behind the wheel of a virtual car and hitting the gas.
Besides the stunningly beautiful graphics, one of the first things virtual drivers will notice—especially if they’re motoring along on a PS5—is the haptic feedback of the PlayStation’s DualSense controllers. The controllers deliver lots of constantly changing vibration feedback–you feel road imperfections, sense a loss of tire grip in a rainstorm and experience the tremor of slipping over into the grassy edge when misjudging a turn.
Each of the 400-plus cars in the game—from the Honda Fit to the Ferrari Testarossa—has its own feel. But the real fun is feeling the resistance in the PS5 controller triggers when you brake or shift gears. All that haptic joy makes the driving challenges more immersive. (The game also supports optional racing wheels if you want to spend the extra cash to kick things up a notch.)
The next bit gamers will likely notice is how easily Gran Turismo 7 introduces everyone, from beginners to pros, to its control systems. The initial small cars, such as a Mazda Demio or a Fiat 500 may feel a bit slow, but they give players a sense of what’s coming while driving-markers pop up to help the less experienced manage life on a track. Those markers (which can be turned off) are designed to enable players to gauge where the apex of a turn will be and how to brake through a sharp corner.
The single-player campaign sets budding racers off on a World Circuit tour filled with tracks, events and championships in America, Europe and Asia-Oceania. Challenges range from mountain trials and stints on a Tokyo expressway to real-world tracks such as Monza and Nurburgring. And a series of tasks called “menu book” challenges help players gain new and better cars that they can add to their garage.
In fact, GT7’s solo campaign actually nudges players to experience a wide variety of cars through its many different race-entry requirements. In any given contest, gamers may be required to learn to drive a specific model or choose a vehicle with a certain level of performance points (PP) or a particular grade of tires. And on that front, gamers can also choose some of their favorite cars in the garage and improve the vehicle’s PP by using race winnings to purchase parts and tune things up.
To top it all off, racers will have to earn new “Licenses” for more advanced cars and tracks as they progress through the campaign. Getting good enough to earn a trophy and make that next license mark can take some time and repetition, but it’s a great way to learn the fundamentals of shaving time off your laps and getting prepared for the intricate difficulties of high-speed races.
There is a multiplayer option in GT7 but players should note that it’s one of the last options offered after playing through the campaign and unlocking other World Circuit features. And even though this game has both the single-player campaign and multiplayer races available, an internet connection is always required.
Graphics are simply amazing. Every car—from the Abarth 500 to the IsoRivolta Zagato—is gorgeous to look at and drive. And the World Circuit tracks and locales are vivid and colorful. (You can drive from a third-person perspective behind the car or inside, behind the wheel.) The races are fun and challenging. And as you collect cars, GT7 also narrates some light details and background information about the models and their history.
Content-wise, there are some alcohol ads to be seen and an old photo that includes the image of a man smoking.
In terms of gameplay difficulties, the License Center challenges could be a little difficult for some drivers (though difficulty levels can be adjusted).
If you have a PS5 and any interest in simulated racing games in the least, this is a title to have. It’s beautiful to see, the haptic feedback is loads of fun, and the racing does not disappoint.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.