Racing fans rejoice, today marks the release of Gran Turismo 7 from Polyphony Digital. This is the first release since 2017’s Gran Turismo Sport and while GTSport felt more like a tech demo, GT7 is a full-featured release that’s sure to satisfy even the most critical racing fan. It looks gorgeous, controls as you would expect a Gran Turismo game to handle and features more customization that I think I’ve ever seen in any game. Seriously. There’s a calculator that you can use to re-assess your cars’ performance rating after you add some height-adjustable sports suspension to help adjust your car’s negative camber angle. If any of that means anything to you, then let me tell you, you’re in for a treat!
Intricate customization options aside, the biggest part of GT7 is car collection. You do this by visiting the café and receiving menus that feature different styles of cars from various countries. You win these cars in races by meeting requirements like placing in the top 3 for example. When you’ve collected all of the cars in the menu, you can complete the menu and receive an award, usually a roulette token which almost always rewards you (read: me) with the lowest value item on the list – similar to the real lottery I suppose. There are larger items like big credit stashes and even new cars though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
You can also earn cars by completing the licensing challenges, which are so much fun. You race against the clock to complete various feats on the track such as cornering, braking and other maneuvers. Going for gold in every challenge is somehow both maddeningly frustrating and intensely addictive, as they put the ghost of your car running its best time on the track with you, so you always know if you’re on pace to beat your previous record. You’ll turn a corner at the end of a trial and see your ghost car inch ahead of you and you know you have to restart, because he’s beaten you. It’s a constant loop of “If I just take this corner a little more smoothly I can shave off .02 seconds from my time and get that gold medal!”. It’s something I never though I’d like, but I found myself repeating trials upwards of 20-30 times to get the gold. It is a ton of fun.
Winning cars also shows off one — for me — of the coolest parts of this game, the visual history of the cars. In fact, car history is everywhere in this game. The opening cinematic gives you a cinematic history of the automobile from its creation to modern day racing and each car has a long description teaching you practically everything about it. I felt like a car historian playing this game, and every time I raced, I felt like I really knew the car I was driving, inside and out. For car fans, this is going to be a nice feature.
And, of course, there are micro-transactions in GT7. In GT Sport, you could use real-world money to purchase cars under $2M through the PlayStation store. In GT7, you can use real-world money to add credits to your in-game wallet – which is used to purchase everything from cars to parts and upgrades. I have no idea if there is a limit as to what cars or upgrades you can or can’t buy with credits, but hopefully there are some restrictions. While I don’t know how this will affect the game – as I haven’t spent any money on credits – it looks as though you’ll be able to spend real-world money to buy the fastest cars and the best upgrades, making GT7 a pay-to-win game. While I assume that you can make enough money to buy the cars to complete your collection, I am vehemently opposed to micro-transactions in any game that costs $89 CAD. Especially in a game that relies so heavily on the specs and build of your cars to win.
The game also requires a constant internet connection, even if you’re just in single-player racing the AI. Why this has to be a thing is beyond me. Always-connected, single player experiences make zero sense and are especially bad if you’ve got a lacklustre internet connection, or live in an area where the connection is spotty. It’s a deal-breaker in those cases and can alienate a potential customer who otherwise would have bought the game.
Those issues aside, GT7 is an incredible racing experience. Visually, it is stunning, with the cities and countries you race through looking nearly photo-realistic. There are enough car customization options to keep even the most mechanically inclined player happy, while a newbie like me can simply pick it up and race. If you’re looking for a beautiful racing sim, check out Gran Turismo 7, you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve played it, let us know what you think in the comments!