Pardon the pun, Grand Touring is a flagship among PlayStation franchises since its origins, way back in 1997, when the series debuted on PS1. At the time, its large number of cars and its commitment to recreating tracks and ensuring the most faithful simulation of the sport earned it many fans, establishing itself as the best-selling PlayStation franchise over the years!
Four generations later, the series remains committed to the mission that serves as a slogan for the brand: to be a “Real Driving Simulator”, or the most realistic racing simulator possible, in plain Portuguese. With versions for PlayStation 4 and PS5 (the one used in our review), Grand Touring 7 launches the most powerful machines on the market to show that it continues to reign supreme in this genre. Check out all the hits of this game in our full review below!
A celebration of motorsport
Under veteran CEO, producer, director and designer Kazunori Yamauchi, developer Polyphony Digital has tried to honor the franchise’s past, present and future at the same time, taking elements from all eras of the series, including the controversial online structure of Gran Turismo Sport, until then the most recent title. But here everything is more oiled and better balanced.
Even if you are passionate about the franchise, you can stop the review right here. Go there, it’s all right! After all, the formula you love is still very well preserved, so just run for the hug. As much as there is a necessary new look both in the visuals – which naturally takes advantage of the greater power of hardware to create the most realistic cars ever seen in video games – and in the menus, now better organized in an elegant main hub, after all. Grand Touring 7 still good old Grand Touring.
That’s great for fans, but it also means he’s likely not going to change the minds of those who weren’t very fond of his tone and pace back in the day, with all his varied license trials motivating him to repeat the same sectors of a track over and over again. until perfection and a gold trophy, or the evident focus on celebrating the history of motorsport, with a bunch of information about each of the cars, almost as if the game were an encyclopedia.
If you’re a car aficionado, the opening sequence can already be a little emotional, as it features a beautiful montage with technology evolving through the ages, intersecting shots of the vehicles with some of the biggest pop culture symbols of their respective years. of launch, which ranges from the Beatles to Charles Chaplin, culminating in the latest assembly lines and bolides taking to crowded lanes of fans.
Yamauchi himself had told us in an interview something similar to what he said on the State of Play program: he has the impression that society is slowly losing some of its passion and interest in cars. Then Grand Touring 7 exists not only to be a fun game, but also as a true love letter to technology to captivate a new generation that may not know the magic of history. And this mission is accomplished with many more hits than mistakes.
Welcome to the cafe. Help yourself!
In the new outfit Grand Touring 7, your experience is concentrated in a hub where all game modes, stores and establishments are available just a click away. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to navigate there, and you won’t spend any more time than you need to head through inconvenient windows, although the game’s progression system can cause some awkwardness and pacing issues, especially for veterans.
For the first few dozen hours of gameplay, the bulk of your experience, regardless of how you prefer to play, will be concentrated in the central Café. It’s a mix of tutorial and undercover campaign, where you’re given a literal menu of tasks to complete. They range from trying out a certain game mode, buying parts or participating in tests, to completing races and unlocking a certain number of cars from a certain manufacturer.
It’s a fun way to present all of the series’ content to newcomers while encouraging veterans to venture into fields they might otherwise ignore, but sometimes the system can be inconvenient in its didacticism and linearity, pushing you to participate in championships. when all you wanted to do was spend time racing online, or forcing you to progress on a license when you just wanted to get some 4×4 dirt racing (seriously, don’t expect to race one of these in less than 10 hours of campaign).
Advancing through the cafe slowly opens new stores on the central menu, from a dealership for brand new vehicles organized by automakers, to an establishment focused on old and cheaper cars, passing through a repair shop for your collection and another for tuning, where you can buy and equip new parts for your favorite vehicle.
The more cars you add to your collection that look more like a Pokédex, the more your collector level also increases, a separate metric that also unlocks more rewards, especially new tabs in the tuning shop to acquire even more valuable parts. Even if you’re new to cars, the visual indicators are always pretty clear on what each item does and doesn’t do, and initially you’ll do well even if you only invest in increasing PP, which basically summarizes the car’s overall performance.
Taking advantage of the new generation
If you can play on PlayStation 5 with a DualSense controller, it’s well worth doing! Among all console games, Grand Touring 7 is, along with Astro’s Playroom, which best takes advantage of the joystick’s functionality. Adaptive triggers are perfect for accelerating or braking as hard as you want, while haptic feedback lets you feel it on your fingers from the asphalt and each wheel to the passing wind!
You also have the option to play in performance or graphics mode, with ray tracing effects making the cars even more stunning, which is especially noticeable in replays. While artificial intelligence always tries to generate the best broadcast angle, the lighting effects put on a show and make it easier than ever to mistake video game scenes for a real race for the occasional casual viewer.
And if you have good sound accessories at home, the 3D sound is also a spectacle, as even with your eyes closed you could easily locate where the cars around you are, and even feel your distance to the wall if you are running. somewhere more closed like a tunnel. The development team has spared no expense in the technical field and it is impeccable, offering absolutely delicious gameplay in what is perhaps the best graphics game of the entire new generation!
Although the game was uploaded to Voxel well before its release, the online trial periods were quite limited and we were only able to play online for just over an hour between the different press-only sessions. It was enough to explore one more of the establishments in the central hub, a building focused on Sport mode, obviously a direct heritage of Gran Turismo Sport.
Love or hate that decision, the fact is that races continue to run by appointment (at twenty minute intervals, at least within our test), and you need to sign up and schedule your day well if you want to compete more seriously online. Polyphony has continued to polish its systems to detect player fair play, and etiquette and avoiding taking shortcuts and hitting others is almost as important as stepping up and winning matches, with its own behavior meter to dictate matchmaking. .
Alternatively, there is also an option in the hub for more casual multiplayer, where you can invite your friends to play and set up lobbies with very specific rules and conditions, ensuring good freedom of choice. The only regret is the studio’s exaggerated focus on requiring the console to be permanently connected to the internet, which can be terrible.
If you decide to run a little while the servers are undergoing maintenance or when you have no internet signal at home, more than 90% of the game modes will not be available to you, and it’s not even worth dignifying to run in these conditions, which turns the game almost into a paperweight. Although this measure was taken to prevent cheaters, the price is too high, it detracts from the experience, and it should rightfully be reconsidered by Yamauchi.
A few more modes for all tastes
veterans of Grand Touring certainly have fond memories of lapping around classic tracks like Brands Hatch and Big Willow, and it’s still great to race them, as the circuits have never been as polished as they are now, but it’s strange how much Café mode forces you to revisit the same tracks. multiple times, unlocking new turtle-paced competitions.
By the seventh or eighth hour of gameplay it starts to get too repetitive if you follow the linear campaign, so it’s a good idea to force yourself to take a break to explore other little attractions, like the debut Music Rally mode, which comically ended up getting prominently in the home menu, even if it’s not the most innovative and profound thing in the world.
In practice, its gameplay is very similar to the old SEGA racing arcades, forcing the player to complete the laps within a certain time limit with a countdown, which is renewed and adding more seconds as we pass through checkpoints. The catch here is that this counter is not necessarily based on seconds, but rather on each beat of the race’s theme song (hence the name of the mode).
It’s a nice distraction, but nothing that will blow your mind. More fun is the missions mode, which brings creative challenges such as managing your fuel and, ignoring any time limits, simply trying to get your car as far as possible through a clever use of physics, putting the machine in neutral. at the right times, in addition to evidence based on cones.
For those who know photography, which is certainly not even remotely my case, the Scapes mode is so rich and complex that it seems more like a game on its own. You can take your cars to hundreds of different scenarios based on real locations and then apply countless image filtering and lens calibration variables. It even makes you want to learn the basics and become a real photographer!
Grand Touring 7 is a game tailored for anyone who loves any of the previous installments in the franchise. While it preserves the old and dear traditional ways, it packs everything in a sleek and modern guise, with very welcome occasional additions and excellent use of the resources coming from the new generation of consoles. From the 3D audio to the DualSense immersion and its haptic feedback, it’s a literal motorsport lesson, and it only suffers from its misguided demand for constant online connection. Still, it’s one of the great titles of the generation and essential for racing fans!
Nota Voxel: 96
Gran Turismo 7 is a beautiful love letter to automobiles and a very fun video game for new and old fans