A new generation of Gran Turismo games is upon us. Find out what we if the newest game can do justice to the franchise in our Gran Turismo Sport Review.
|Release Date||October 17, 2017|
Th Gran Turismo series has been around for a long time and has been one of the premier staples of the PlayStation brand. In recent years, the Gran Turismo series has lost a lot of ground to the Forza Motorsport series on Xbox. The series has also been criticized for long development times that don’t pay off. Now, Gran Turismo makes its debut on the PlayStation 4 with Gran Turismo Sport with a solid driving experience that’s lacking in a few areas.
There’s something different about Gran Turismo. It’s a very elegant brand and that elegance shines through in Gran Turismo Sport. From the menus to the cars to the general feel of the game, everything just feels polished. The tagline for this series is “The Real Driving Simulator” and it definitely is. The cars control wonderfully and it feels like you’re at the wheel of a real vehicle. The cars grip the tracks better than cars in Forza do. It feels like they have more weight to them. There’s enough push and pull where you can’t just barrel through the grass on your way to the finish line, but you can ride the curb just a bit without fear of spinning out. There’s a good balance there and although it’s a punishing game at times, it’s very fair.
The weird thing about this game is the single-player mode is really more about driving than it is about racing. The main part of the game takes you through a driving school where one wrong move could mean the difference between a gold trophy or having to do the task over again. It’ll certainly make you question your skills when you fail a simple turning the steering wheel exercise. There’s something gratifying about it, though. Gran Turismo Sport really helps you understand the impact of every tiny action you make on the track.
The single-player mode also includes a selection of scenarios to play out like trying to save fuel while still passing enough cars to get the win and things of that nature. There’s even a track mastery section where you’re graded on individual parts of a track. You’re also asked to perform a perfect lap to get a gold trophy. To be honest, it’s not much and you won’t be entertained for very long if you’re only looking to play single-player. The whole experience is more tedious than it is fun and I’m perplexed as to why they wouldn’t have included a more fleshed out career mode.
The online mode is the one that takes center-stage in Gran Turismo Sport and for good reason. Gran Turismo has never been a series that has been known for its online capabilities, but they may change with this game. You can still play however you want to in the game’s lobby mode, however, you won’t get any reputation points for that. For that, you’ll need to enter championships in the Sport Mode that the game is named after. The mode is an FIA-recognised online racing league unlike we’ve ever seen before. The cool thing about this is that it doesn’t sit you in a lobby, you keep playing and trying to post faster qualifying time while you wait for a race to start. You can even practice in the minutes prior to the green light. It’s all about improving.
Sport Mode works best if you have a bunch of people that respect the rules (and most racers that I’ve encountered online do). You can get into some pretty tight races with a lot of defensive driving and slip-streaming and the vignettes shown on-screen when someone is near your car help to make sure you’re not smashing into someone. The calendar is full of real-time events and it really feels like Gran Turismo Sport is going to be a living, breathing racing league. It’s ambitious, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a lot of fun and gives racing fans something to really test their skills against the best of the best from around the world.
I can’t help but mention that, while Sport Mode is great, the consistent online connection required to play the game in any meaningful way is a big negative. You can’t do anything, but play Arcade Mode until the server is connected again. I know that Polyphony likely did this to keep tabs on cheating in some way, but it really soured me when I couldn’t even play Driving School challenges when the servers were down this past weekend.
I will say that Gran Turismo Sport looks really good. The cars and the environments look about as good as they possibly can. There are some bad textures here and there, but nothing too noticeable. I do wish they would have added better damage modeling, though, as it doesn’t come close to other games in the genre. I mean, tire-barriers should move a little bit when they’re hit but they’re completely stationary in GT Sport. It’s just little nuances, but in 2017, stuff like that should be expected in a racing game.
Gran Turismo Sport is a great driving game. It focuses on driving physics and does that very well. I also really enjoyed Sport Mode and I think that mode is only going to grow as the game ages. With that being said, I think that GT Sport really lags behind the competition in terms of single-player gameplay and I don’t really think that being basically always-online is necessary. Taking everything into account, Gran Turismo Sport is indeed the best driving simulator on PS4, it’s just not always as fun as other racing games on the market.