Each vehicle in the original Gran Turismo, which debuted in 1997 on the first Sony PlayStation, was made up of 300 polygons. The automobiles in the latest racing simulator, Gran Turismo 7, are made out of almost 500,000 small triangular shapes. The culmination of 25 years of research, processing power, and advancements are nothing short of spectacular.
Smaller details among the many polygons make GT7 more gorgeous than previous Gran Turismo games and, possibly, any other video game before it. It’s the photo mode of a static chassis slump from an automobile parked with its front wheels inclined. Standing water on the racing track pulls you off course. And, after an event, the sound metallic clinking of fresh-off-the-circuit steamy brakes. That only scratches the surface of what Gran Turismo has become today, but when Kazunori Yamauchi, the CEO of gaming studio Polyphony Digital, declared this is the most full Gran Turismo game ever, he wasn’t kidding.
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The Realest Driving Simulator
Some of our favorite features of GT7 are highlighted in today’s gaming hardware. Sure, it’s on PS4, but the more powerful PS5 platform coupled with a 4K display is the only way to properly appreciate what GT7 has to offer. We were window shopping the auto dealership menus just to admire the aesthetics, thanks to HDR visuals during normal gameplay and ray-tracing technology that’s only available during replay, photo, and demo modes. Racing aficionados cheered when GT7 announced adaptive trigger and haptic feedback capability for Sony’s PlayStation 5 Dual Sense controller—those without an amateur NASA spaceship simulator in their homerooms, that is. Although the adaptive triggers simulate an electronically aided accelerator or brake like those found in most modern cars, they are no substitute for a direct-drive steering wheel and pedals.
The resistance in both triggers, on the other hand, creates the most dynamic sense of driving we’ve ever felt from a controller. Like real foot pedals, the acceleration and braking triggers feel distinct. The haptic feedback accurately adds vibration to specified regions of the controller, rather than shaking like an agitated rattlesnake. Only the right side of the controller rumbles when the car is parked on the curb. Although it isn’t as remarkable as the adaptive triggers, feeling even the tiniest amount of feedback from the drivetrain or tire movement in your hands is worth the increased energy usage.
The driving physics in Gran Turismo 7 is noticeably different from those in the series’ previous iteration, Gran Turismo Sport. It all boils down to a more accurate suspension travel and vehicle control representation. Cars don’t seem to cling to a horizontal plane atop a flat surface any longer. The chassis moves independently of the tires, twisting and bending. This is notably noticeable in the cockpit camera, where your driver’s head bobbles and shakes as he sees at the wheel. This is amplified by wet surfaces. After lapping, the racetrack’s best line will begin to dry, restoring grip and driving qualities to that section of the track. It rained harder in some areas than others during a race on the Tokyo Expressway.
The 3D spatial audio was a little more difficult to grasp. This could be because we chose to fully crank the engine noise early in our evaluation period, which is a setting among the many menu options. The loudness of the tire squeal, transmission, and opponent’s car sound can also be adjusted. Although none of the cars we tested from GT7 had deep burbles or dramatic backfires, the added directional audio, surface, and wind sounds helped to approximate something authentic. As the camera pans across many vehicles, all shifting and accelerating at different points, the 3D soundtrack is more noticeable on replays. It doesn’t sound like a herd of automobiles as much as it sounds like different cars traveling at different speeds in different parts of the country.
Gran Turismo 7 Review: The final verdict
Despite these throwaway modes and some tedious grinding, Gran Turismo 7 is nonetheless a true comeback for the series following the dismal reaction of Gran Turismo Sport. There’s enough to do here for both auto enthusiasts and beginners to the GT, so much so that I’m betting it’ll inspire a new generation of petrol heads. Gran Turismo 7 is another first-party PS5 triumph and a new milestone for performance and visuals on the platform, thanks to its photo-realism, pinpoint handling, and a large number of added features.