• Review update 21/03/22: Please be advised that microtransactions were not in the game pre-launch, therefore was not mentioned in the review. Furthermore, following a recent update, some rewards for in-game events have been reduced.

Gran Turismo 7 makes its highly anticipated arrival to the PlayStation 5 (as well as PS4) in what could be the best racing game in years. Honestly, the racing is purely sublime.

Gran Turismo 7 comes with a lot of new fancy bells and whistles, as well as some fan-favourite features too. Upon firing up GT7 for the first time, you’ll be thrown into the new Music Rally mode. Now when I first saw this mode, I rolled my eyes and thought it was a silly gimmick. Don’t get me wrong, it is a gimmick, and it is silly.

However, it’s also a lot of fun. Basically, Rally Music is a fancy checkpoint mode. Only here, you must reach a checkpoint before the timer runs out and you must essentially drive as far as you can until the music finishes. Honestly, I’d be surprised if you don’t enjoy this quirky new mode.

gran Turismo 7

Credit: Polyphony Digital

When the introduction sequence is over, you’ll be presented to the World Map. This is Gran Turismo 7s new hub which replaces the cluttered menu system of Gran Turismo Sport. Here you will find everything you need to enjoy and progress in your GT7 career. A section of the hub will be unlocked as you progress with the objectives provided by the GT Café. More on that later.

So, what do we have in the World Map? The World Circuits is where the vast majority of your career will take place. Races, tracks, and tournaments from across the world will eventually earn you a place in the prestigious Championship. The more you race and win, the more world circuits will become available to you. At launch, there are over 90 tracks to enjoy, each with an insane level of detail that can often be a near-perfect replication to the real-world counterparts. When in a race, GT7 also makes fantastic use of its “realistic weather and realistic scenery”. Going from day to night or dry weather to rain is a detailed and seamless transition.

However, upon starting your career you will be required to purchase a cheap used car to kick things off. The Used Car dealer will have a small(ish) selection of cars to choose from at a discounted price. Some will be temporarily out of stock before becoming available again. It’s kind of like an in-game Auto Trader magazine. You can of course buy brand new cars via Brand Central, but they will cost considerably more credits. So too will the Legend Cars, where you can even pick up James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 ’64, as long as it doesn’t become sold out that is. In total, there are over 420 cars at launch.

gran Turismo 7

Credit: Polyphony Digital

Naturally as with any Gran Turismo game, you can customise your favourite cars to your heart’s content. From cosmetics such as liveries and decals, adding custom parts such as side kits and spoilers, new wheels, a paint job or even giving your car a nice fresh clean. You can of course tune your cars too, not only with new parts for your car but there is also an incredible amount of depth when it comes to tuning. Like loads, more than I’ve ever seen in the series. Now I love cars, but I’m not a petrol head, and I haven’t got a scooby-do when it comes to the more technical aspects of car tuning. However, if you are a petrol head and you love tweaking your cars to perfection, then you are going to be in heaven with Gran Turismo 7.

Thankfully, for gamers like me who know little about cars (though I can parallel park), Gran Turismo 7 provides stories on not only each and every car such as performance and history, but also the purpose of every car part. Seriously, as great of a racing game Gran Turismo 7 is, it’s also a fantastic learning tool too. The level of detail and depth that the developers at Polyphony Digital have gone into here is simply outstanding.

In terms of other playable modes as well as the World Circuits, you also have the customary Licence Centre, which is required for later stages of the World Circuit. We also have Mission Challenge which gives you various missions with a variety of cars and scenarios. Complete the objective and unlock new cars. The more challenges you complete, the more cars you collect which all goes towards your in-game Car Collector rating.

In terms of multiplayer, you can create your own races for either online or local play. However, Sport mode returns, and this is where you’ll be getting most of your online activity. Here you will compete in Daily Challenges, Championships, Time Trials and more. The Driver and Sportsmanship rating also returns, so make sure you drive fairly and don’t go clattering into people.

For me personally, I love that sportsmanship is encouraged because it not only makes the races more enjoyable, but you’re also less likely to get people trying to ram you off the road. Though if you do try underhand tactics to get an advantage, the game will penalise you. It’s also worth mentioning that your Driver and Sportsmanship rating will automatically carry over from GT Sport, the moment you sign in to the game with an online connection. So too will any liveries and decals you had in the previous game.

Scapes from 2017s GT Sport also make a return. If you don’t know what Scapes is, it’s kind of like a very advanced photo mode that offers incredibly realistic snapshots of your favourite cars. Only in GT7, unlike its predecessor, cars look even more gorgeous in your photos, now that we have ray-tracing. Granted, Scapes isn’t my cup of tea, but if you really like Photo Modes, then you’re going to love what’s on offer here.

Gran Turismo 7

Credit: Polyphony Digital

Now, let’s talk about the GT Café, which I briefly mentioned before. GT Café is a fantastic way to ease players into their career. Rather than just jumping into World Circuits and just passively going through each race. In GT Café you will be given a menu, which is basically a list of objectives. Completing each objective will either gift you a car or a raffle ticket that could win you a car, credits, and a snazzy car part.

The menu book might ask you to compete in a specific race with a specific car. In most cases, the menu will be themed to a particular brand of car or country of origin. Sometimes you might even be asked to take a fancy pic in Scapes or tune-up a certain car. When your menu is complete, you are given a reward and a brief history lesson on the cars you’ve just acquired. Overall, the GT Café makes your Gran Turismo career a little more enjoyable and rewarding.

Now that we’ve got more of the most important modes and features out of the way, how does Gran Turismo 7 play and look? Firstly, it plays amazingly. I know we can say in just about every racing game that each and every car feels unique to the last. But that really is the case here. The driving just feels so good, so smooth and ever so satisfying.

This is amplified further by the incredible haptic feedback and adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller. I swear, it’s also like I can feel every brake and clutch jolt, and every bump in the road. At this time, Gran Turismo 7 not only makes the best use of the DualSense controller, but it’s the best racing game I’ve ever played. Oh, and on PS5, the loading times are super quick too, which is always a bonus.

In terms of visuals, Gran Turismo 7 is an absolute stunner. It’s really a beauty to behold. The level of visual detail of each of the 420+ cars is beyond impressive. And that’s just not how they look on the outside, but we’re talking about the exterior too. The developers have left no stone unturned in what has to be one of the most detailed, deep, and immersive racers I’ve ever had the privilege of playing. The game also sounds amazing too, hearing a hiss, screech and roar of a powerful muscle car will never get tiresome. However, despite GT7 featuring Ray-Tracing and Performance modes, at this time these do not involve actual gameplay. They are both only implemented during replays and cut-scences.

Now, with all the positives to be said about Gran Turismo 7, I do have some criticisms. Gran Turismo 7 will pretty much require an always-online connection. Should you go offline or get disconnected, you will only be able to access some of the basic features and arcade mode. In an interview with Eurogamer, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi said that the online connection is to combat cheaters and hacking. However, during the last race of a championship, GT7 went down for maintenance. I was able to finish my race and during that time, I was unaware that the game was disconnected from online. Unfortunately, when I finished the race, my progress didn’t count.

gran turismo 7

Credit: Polyphony Digital

Thankfully, this was only a minor championship and a small race, and as annoying as it was, it wasn’t a major deal. That being said, I might have thought differently if I was racing in a more pivotal, demanding championship. Hopefully, the developers can find a way to save progress during a race to protect players for when servers might be suddenly down. Here’s hoping anyway.

I have been playing the Gran Turismo series since the very beginning. From its inception on the original PlayStation in 1997, the series has often shifted up a gear with each new console generation. I love the racing genre, and that includes the Forza series on Xbox. However, there’s always been something extra special with the Gran Turismo series. Something that we perhaps can’t quite pinpoint, but we can feel it when we’re playing. Could it be the simulation experience, the level of detail, the gorgeous visuals, or the purr of the DB9? In truth, it’s probably a bit of everything. That being said, GT7 is full of charm and charisma that only this series could hold. Gran Turismo 7 is simply a sublime experience and is as close to racing perfection as it’s going to get.