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1997’s PlayStation Classic Gran Turismo was the revolutionary brainchild of Japanese programmer and car enthusiast Kazunori Yamauchi. Before the OG Gran Turismo came out, racing games were mostly boring sims that took themselves too seriously or looked like the cartoony Mario Kart type chaos. Grand Turismo’s advanced physics engine, cutting-edge graphics, and a huge selection of real-life cars changed everything. It was a smash-hit amongst car enthusiasts and nerds alike. It pushed the envelope of racing games as we know it and its later entries have continued to do so ever since.

25 years later, with the release of Gran Turismo 7, Polyphony Digital is aiming to recreate that trend-setting feel of the classic with a modern outlook. It’s the most ambitious entry the series has seen since its inception in the 90’s!

One Step At A Time

My humble beginnings with 2017’s GT Sport fell quite short of being humble. Its heavy focus on competitive racing felt like a souls-borne experience of track racing. I was barely able to pass my licensing exams, hardly won any races, and my overall progress was almost next to nothing.

Thankfully that’s not the case with GT 7. Under the tutelage of GT Café, I was able to pick up the basics quite easily through its menu books. GT Café features over 39 menu books, each one of them is dedicated to a specific task. You will be winning races, acquiring licenses, collecting cars, and winning championships. As you complete these menu books one by one, you would gradually unlock everything that GT 7 has to offer. It’s a perfect roadmap for GT 7’s campaign that not only celebrates the Automotive Industry but also celebrates the spirit of Gran Turismo itself.

Besides the campaign, GT 7 also features Sport racing, an Online/Split-Screen Multiplayer, and the ‘Music Rally’ mini-game. Sport racing’s official races and the Multiplayer bring in the competitive factor that GT sport is known for – it’s the perfect go-to place if you are looking for challenging races with high-risk and high-reward factors. Lastly, there’s the Music rally mini-game where you race to the music with checkpoints at the end of a specific beat – it’s definitely worth checking out, thanks to GT 7’s killer library of soundtracks.

On the downside of all things, GT 7 does require an active network connection like its predecessor. Only Arcade mode with a tiny selection of cars and the Music Rally mini-game is available offline. Even the split-screen mode cannot be played offline. Allowing that would be quite a welcoming change of pace for the game’s future roadmap.

Simulator that Strives

The most important aspect that Gran Turismo 7 has improved upon is the driving experience. It’s much easier to steer cars even with no-assists and it holds up well even when going off-road. Back in 2017’s GT sport, going off the tracks meant a death sentence. That’s not the case anymore. Not only the off-road maneuverability has been improved greatly, but with the proper set of tires you can also take on any terrain of your liking.

To get the hang of it, you can take on the licensing tests. This time around, the game features several license classes – National (B, A), International (B, A), and so on. Whether it’s doing the curves, shifting gears, or cutting tight corners, the licensing tests cover it all. There’s a good incentive in finishing these tests so they’re definitely worth your time and for some events, it is a must if you’re willing to participate.

Bumper View is the way to go.

If things get too hard to crack, you can always take your ride to the tuning shop to fish for better parts. In addition to that, you can manually tune your ride as per your liking which was lacking in 2017’s GT sport. However, some of the upgrade parts like the Nitrous system can cost twice as much as the car you are driving. Thankfully the game features Roulette tickets that you get by completing certain café missions. These tickets function like a lottery, where you can land a Ride, Upgrade parts, and In-game Credits.

Less of a Race, More of a Chase

Unlike its predecessors, GT7 does not feature a grid-start system. Cars start in Auto-Drive mode with a gap of 50 yards in between. You as the player will begin at the last spot chasing and moving past the cars to climb up the ranks. It can be a bit of a bummer for some enthusiasts. Thankfully the in-game Custom Race mode does give you the option to enable Grid-Start in the custom events.

Whether it’s a Race or a Chase, the dynamics of it all remain top-notch. After its unpleasant departure from GT Sport, the dynamic day-night cycle along with changing weather conditions make a return in GT 7. From blinding afternoons to the pink and purple hue of the evening sun, the dynamic lighting during GT7’s races is nothing short of remarkable. But it’s the in-game rain simulation that takes the cake when it comes to weather simulation.

From misty drizzle of light rain showers to downright nightmarish torrential rain, GT 7 pushes the envelope of modern simulators and it’s undoubtedly the best out there. It greatly affects how the grip plays the role in the game. Through TCS (Traction Control System) gauge and weather radar, you can see in real-time how the game plays its course. On long circuits like Nurburgring, which is 15.6 miles, it is quite noticeable. Also, bad rain conditions will not only affect you, it would also affect the AI racers that you’re racing against.

One of the best PS4 ports ever made

While the Gran Turismo 7 features Haptic Feedback, Ray-Tracing mode, and 3D audio on the PlayStation 5, the PS4 port also manages to hold up really well. During my play-through, I did not encounter any frame drops during races – it runs at a smooth 60 fps with native 1080p resolution on Base PS4 consoles. The game looks even more impressive during its 30 fps replay mode. On the downside, you may notice slight aliasing and lower quality reflections and shadows in comparison to the PS5 port, but it’s way more than one can bargain for the decade-old machine.

Real  Talk

Gran Turismo 7 marks a delightful return to the series’ roots and delivers a trendsetting campaign that we haven’t seen since the PS2 era! Despite its strong focus on the campaign, it almost retains every competitive aspect of 2017’s GT sport. Its photorealistic visuals and life-like animations are possibly one of the best yet. With almost 25 years in the making, Gran  Turismo 7 is not only the celebration of cars this time, but it is also the celebration of the legendary franchise itself.


Gran Turismo launched on the PS4 and PS5 platform on 4 March, 2022. Code provided by Sony India for review purposes with no riders.

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