It’s been a while since Gran Turismo fans got to dive into a traditional mainline entry in Polyphony Digital’s renowned racing sim series. Sure, we got Gran Turismo Sport in 2017, and that was solid enough game in its own right- at least later on in its life, if not at launch. But it was much more experimentational than what most series fans would have wanted, and the fact that it was directly responsible for there having been no new mainline entry in the series throughout almost the entirety of the PS4 era stung more than a few people as well.
Of course, I saw “almost”, because the PS4 is ultimately going to end up getting a numbered, traditional Gran Turismo game after all. GT 7 is out imminently, coming to both PS5 and PS4, and it’s promising to deliver a Gran Turismo experience that’s much more in line with fans’ expectations, and not only builds on and includes a vast array of ideas from past games, but is also bringing some new and interesting ones of its own as well. And for all of these reasons and more, the upcoming racer has the potential to be one of 2022’s standout hits- which is saying quite a lot, given how packed this year is going to be.
One of the most obvious reasons for that is, of course, the plain and simple fact that this is a new GT game. Since the PS1 era, Gran Turismo has always been one of Sony’s biggest and most successful franchises, both critically and commercially, and though its important may have diminished in recent years, especially with the emergence and growth of the likes of Horizon and more, there’s no denying that Polyphony Digital’s racing series is still one of the genre’s most prominent heavyweights. When a new Gran Turismo game comes out, if you have even a shred of interesting in racing games, you can’t help but sit up and take notice.
It helps, of course, that there’s quite a bit to take note of when it comes to Gran Turismo 7. GT Sport was panned by many upon launch due to its lack of content, and it looks like Polyphony Digital took that criticism to heart- because it seems there’s going to be no shortage of content to dive into when Gran Turismo 7 launches. It’ll feature over 400 vehicles at launch representing a wide variety of brands, including the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen, and many more. Of course, there will also be a used car dealership in the game that will have a fresh selection of cheaper vehicles on offer each day, with prices varying based on current trends- which is something that players can potentially get thoroughly invested in.
Where tracks are concerned, the game will feature over 90 tracks across 34 locations across the world, and in addition to a healthy amount of brand new layouts, some returning favourites will be included as well, like Trial Mountain, Deep Forest, and High Speed Ring. On the customization front, too, Gan Turismo 7 is going all in, though that it’s a surprise, given the pedigree of the series and the nature of this genre. The game boasts several thousand customization parts and tuning options across a vast number of categories, so those who like to dive into the nitty gritties and really finetune their vehicles down to the minutia will have plenty to keep them busy.
In addition to all of that there are all the modes that Gran Turismo 7 will have. Some will be familiar to series fans- Scapes is one of those, returning from GT Sport, and it’s got plenty of people excited (for good reason). It’s essentially the most elaborate photo mode you’ll ever see. It will allow players to use over 2500 locations as backdrops for images where you can insert any of the in-game vehicle models, and then mess around with a number of different settings. Given how popular photo modes are these days, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gran Turismo 7’s Scapes quickly becoming a fan favourite.
There’s also GT Cafe, which is an interesting spin on the basic idea of a career mode. Taking players to an actual cafe, players will browse menus pick up and complete a variety of different tasks, progressing further and unlocking new things. This will also include learning about the history of the vehicles you’ve unlocked, or even having a conversation with that vehicle’s designer within the game. And if you’re interested in learning more about the history of certain vehicle brands, you’ll also be able to head to the Museum for detailed archives. Above all else, GT Cafe and the Museum are emblematic of how heavily Gran Turismo 7 is emphasizing and celebrating car culture.
On top of that there’s the Replay Mode, the Showcase, the competitive multiplayer-focused Sport mode, two-player split-screen, custom races, Mission Races, the return of License Tests, and even Music Rally, a more casual experience that’ll see players racing through courses to the beat of a music track. Clearly, Polyphony Digital is looking to deliver a feature- and content-rich experience with Gran Turismo 7 right off the bat, which in and of itself is enough reason to be excited about the game’s imminent launch. Of course, Polyphony Digital is also likely going to continue supporting Gran Turismo 7 with additional content following release, which means players will hopefully have stuff to look forward to following the game’s launch as well.
Another area where Gran Turismo 7 is almost guaranteed to impress is with its authenticity. Sony bills Gran Turismo as “the real racing simulator”, and Polyphony Digital clearly takes that tagline very seriously. Gran Turismo is known for its mechanically tight simulation, its breadth of customization and tuning options, its emphasis on realism, and its attention to detail, and Gran Turismo 7 is very much cut from the same mould, to no one’s surprise. Even so, it’s still startling to learn that for GT 7, Polyphony Digital went to some great lengths, such as accurately mapping out the positions of all the stars and planets in the sky in each track in the game, because that affects the weather, which affects the temperature and atmosphere, which in turn affects the driving itself. Racing sim fans can’t help but be excited about a detail like that.
There’s also the fact that based on everything that we’ve seen of the game so far, Gran Turismo 7 looks drop dead gorgeous. That’s always been the way for new Gran Turismo games, and even though GT 7 is going to be a cross-gen release, it doesn’t look like fans are going to be left disappointed with what the game offers up on the visual and technical fronts. Which is just emblematic of how the game as a whole seems to be shaping up, really- Gran Turismo 7 is looking like a love letter to anything and everything to do with cars, a dense and authentic racing simulation experience, and above all, a return to form for a legendary series. It may very well end up being a bright highlight in a year that could potentially be brimming with several.
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