By Jay Khan, March 29, 2022
There is a driving game for the Playstation console that has always been able to mix it with the best of the best desktop PC. At least graphically. And that game is Gran Turismo 7, out now for the PS4 and PS5. This review is somewhat belated due to reasons beyond my personal brainpower. Nevertheless, we here at DCB, even with our media privileges [we have very few] can not get hold of a PS5, just a little over a year since the next generation console launched.
So I had to make do with the PS4 I won when I entered the Playstation UK Media Cup back in the day. The main difference between the PS4 and PS5 versions of Gran Turismo is the former renders in 1080p while the latter renders in native 4K resolution. So the PS5 version is pushing more pixels and sports Ray Tracing, which makes the digital world look that much more realistic.
The PS4 hardware is nearing 10 years old, which is equivalent to a fossiled specimen in terms of computing technology. When comparing the PS4 and PS5 versions side-by-side, the differences appear marginal. In reality, on closer inspection, they are significant. More power is always better. That being said Gran Turismo 7 for the PS4 is equally as good a proposition as it is for the PS5. Minus the 4k resolution and Ray Tracing.
OK, so what is Gran Turismo 7 like to play? Visually it still looks spectacular and no other driving game or sim comes close to the slick presentation. But to play the game in its entirety and gain access to all the features you are going to have to unlock it. And if you are a veteran Gran Turismo player this is going to frustrate you.
Upon reaching the homescreen I immediately spent my time getting all the driving licenses in the hope it would unlock all features. By gaining the licenses you unlock cars and win money. But to unlock the entire game, all the features, cars and tracks you have to do it through the Cafe and Menu Books process. Basically a series of challenges.
You interact with Cafe owner Luca, whom I am sure is a former Mafiosi boss. Where does he get all the money from to afford all these cars? I initially ignored Luca and concentrated on gaining the licenses. After a while I wasn’t unlocking anything, it took me a week of going nowhere before I realised Luca and his magic Cafe was the key to unlocking Gran Turismo 7.
If I could knock Luca’s Cafe down and build high-rise flats and concrete the entire area it would be revenge worth savoring cold or hot. The Cafe feature is deliberately built into the GT 7 to allow newer younger audiences to experience a more educated car culture progression in a series of baby steps.
When you do finally unlock the game you get access to over 400 cars, 90 tracks, and all the features from the previous Gran Turismo series. Buying and selling cars, tuning and race returns, as well as GT Campaign, Arcade, Driving School and much more. But my real interest was to get racing online. I am pleased to say Lord Moron of the Daily Car Blog has already got his first Pole Position and race win. LIKE A BOSS!
Gran Turismo 7 feels a lot different from the previous version. It has always been an expertly engineered game in terms of software coding. And it has and always will be accessible to all skill levels. But to compete online and to set fast time you are going to have to turn off 95 percent of the driving assists.
When you do that Gran Turismo 7 is a razor-sharp pure hardcore simulator that is able to compete with the very best sims out there. To achieve that on a console speaks volumes of the quality of the software engineering achieved by Kazunori Yamauchi and his team over at Polyphony Digital.
However, the new dynamic weather modeling pushes the PS4’s fossilized hardware to its limits and beyond. The new dynamic weather modeling really stretches the limits of the PS4. As a result, the console will get glitchy. For example, switching from menu to menu becomes slower and almost unresponsive as hot CPU air is audibly exhausted out of the vents.
So, in conclusion, Gran Turismo 7 is better than ever. To experience its full potential, best upgrade to the PS5 as soon as they become readily available. That being said you will not be short-changed whichever generation of the console you play it on.