Gran Turismo 7 review

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Gran Turismo 7 will make you fall in love. At the apex of every turn you take in the game, there is a reminder of the sheer joy of cars, racing, and the world surrounding them that will make you keep your foot on the accelerator. Make no mistake, there is no room for anything that doesn't correlate with something real or tangible in Polyphony Digital's latest entry into the long-running franchise. While seemingly unwelcome to those who just want to take a car for a spin, if you can find grip on GT7's occasionally slippy surface then you are in for lap after lap of the best track racing you can experience on a PlayStation console. From exhaust pipe to manufacturers badge, this game backs up its love for motorsport with a variety and depth of gameplay that will take you right into the garage, hand you the tools, and get you working on engines and camshafts until your fingers hurt. Every moment is worth it though, because you come out of the garage enamoured with cars and ready for every sim-racing facet of this feature-rich experience. You see, Gran Turismo 7 is back in first place and is here to stay.

We haven't played enough online in populated servers to cast a strict verdict on that particular aspect. Reviews are done in a limited environment, so treat this as a comprehensive look at the single-player experience that dabbles in multiplayer. If there are major changes to the game after release, they will be covered in a separate article in a week.

gran Turismo 7

Let's just dive straight into the driving and stop tempering the throttle. It's perfect. Listen, just to be upfront with you, I don't really play sim-racers that often. I've messed around with past Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport games, and had a single stab at Assetto Corsa, but mostly I spend my time in sim-cades or arcade racers. Normally, sim stuff can be too po-faced for me. Take this how you may, but it means I came into Gran Turismo needing to be impressed and convinced. Within a single race on the PS5 version I used for review — I was gawking.

First, it's the feel of each car. Uniqueness in each make and model of a car come as a by-product of Polyphony making them more than one object with a brake and a go button. Instead, it feels like lots of little real mechanical bits working in an unfathomably complex dance. There is the acceleration from the engine to get you going, followed by the clenching of the brakes, which slow the tyres spinning on the gritty tarmac, and then a slow release of the brake and a turn of the wheel to get the pinion twisting across the rack and get that tie rod moving and the wheels turning. All of this complexity should feel like you are juggling one too many wrenches as a player, but instead, it all harmonises into one great and sensational whole.

gran Turismo 7

The second immediate attention grabber is the looks. Holy Ayrton Senna. On the track, everything is immaculate. The sheen of the cars, the way light can fill your cabin in a night race, the reflection on your front window of the dials... just beautiful. Even the sky turning from evening to dusk is more glorious than anything else I've seen from a racer. The cockpit view is simply the best I've ever seen — it's so detailed and rich. Away from the track, it can get ugly. The trees sometimes look like they came straight out of the PS3 era at certain locations, but you can barely notice because it is immersed in some surreally accurate track detailing. You can choose between performance and ray tracing, and we would recommend keeping ray tracing on for single-player content. The frames don't tank too much and it makes the game look marvellous.

The reward for all of this complex design work and good looks is natural variety and player engagement. Every car will take a corner differently, accelerate with changes in traction, roll over a bump and regain grip with unique effect. In an old Ferrari, for example, I just couldn't get the four wheels straightened into a good racing line. It would flick out from me in a squirrelly fashion with each wheel seemingly trying to do its own thing. In a Nissan R92CP — an endurance car — I was praying the rickety thing would slow down as though my real life was dependent on it, even though it handled immaculately. This is all backed up by superb 3D audio and DualSense usage — the best in any game bar none. Rain on the roof of your car is mesmerising, as is the rumbling "whump, whump, whump" of streetlights whizzing by in the controller, and the tightening or loosening of triggers as you brake and accelerate. It genuinely adds an extra dimension to gameplay and is a perfect showcase of your new PS5 kit.

gran turismo 7

To help guide you around every track, there are a variety of assists: from literal auto-drive features to driving lines, braking zones, and corner indicators. Then you have all the traction control, ABS, stability management, and counter steering assists. Again, the amount you switch on and off will dramatically affect your experience. I spent my time in the middle of three difficulties before moving it up to the hardest and then slowly switching off the various amounts of countersteering, ABS, and traction control automatically applied by the driving angels. With every toggle off, I found myself unsteady before regaining traction and getting better and better. It isn't a shiny reward, but is the most fulfilling experience a racer could offer.

The braking zone and the driving line also are smartly implemented. They don't tell you inch-by-inch what you should be doing around a corner, but instead offer more general guidance. That gives you the freedom to open up the puzzle box of cornering hairpins, chicanes, banked carousels, and other nefariously complex bends without being helplessly lost or in a wall.

gran Turismo 7

It's not like the variety on the track comes at the cost of a limited car list, either. There are 424 cars available, from go-karts to trucks, from little electric hatchbacks to fuel-guzzling Grade 1 track cars. There is an emphasis on collecting them all: I genuinely think that is going to take hundreds of hours. With over thirty tracks in play, you aren't exactly being short-changed in location either. There are the twisting mountain climbs, Daytona loops, fictional circuits, F1 layouts, the Nürburgring, so on and so forth.

Game modes-wise, you are going to be helplessly outmatched. There are addictive Circuit challenges that will teach you the ropes of the tracks stage by stage. Dirt rallies are infrequent, but surprisingly deep and will require a totally different driving style. Then you have the time trials, drifting modes, custom races, and preset GT races. Oh, and of course, the passing challenges and speed challenges. On top of that, GT favourite Licenses return — from Beginner Licence B to a Super Licence — that will test your driving skills and techniques in different useful ways. Each one is set up like an arcade game score challenge, so it will tempt you into getting a gold trophy in each one — it is moreish enough to be categorised as a Class A of a very different kind.

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On the track, the variety in conditions is endless. Gran Turismo 7 literally simulates the atmosphere, and the results show. The conditions chop and change from race-to-race, lap-to-lap, with major effect. If the rain comes in, you will not be able to control a car with slick racing tyres on. If you try, I'm afraid you are going to be in a wall or knee-deep in a gravel trap. I am still stunned at the fact that the racing line dries out as players pass over it. The interacting weather systems, complex car mechanics, and graining racing lines mean you will have to adjust how you race every time to a greater effect than in other games. It is excellent, superb, majestic.

Guiding you through each bit of the game are the missions you will collect from the Café. Basically, you will get given a series of races to complete in a restaurant-like 'menu.' The races will require a certain car. Winning races will unlock cars in a certain category — normally by country or brand — which will give you access to all the different modes and tracks in the game while putting you in the driving seat of vehicles capable of higher and higher speeds. It is very intuitive and lasts for a surprisingly long period — at least 15 hours.


There are two multiplayer offerings that will take up hundreds of hours for many players. In fact, that is where a majority of the pros go to play, so if you really are looking for a more comprehensive perspective on multiplayer it might be worth looking elsewhere. There is the highly competitive Sport Mode which I gave a shot. It gives players a specific class of car, a time trial entry for the grid lineup, and then a really intense race with seriously good players. It was fun, looked to be full of variety with the limited-time modes on offer, and rightfully punishes track limit violations and huge player-on-player tangles.

We haven't played enough in a public environment to tell you how it is with road-ragers, but we had a blast in our limited time with it — it looks perfectly set for long-term player engagement. Plus, the driver skill and sportsmanship ratings are back and should help keep things clean. We managed but a single effort in an actual multiplayer lobby, which is more freeform and player-guided than the Sport mode. Again, a limited playtime and limited perfective are being offered by us, but every option a player could want is packed into the menus and the connection was incredibly stable when we played. Just watch out, as this is where the silly billies come out to play.

gran turismo 7

From moment one, Gran Turismo 7 displays its love of car culture. The opening credits are a suitably pretentious ode to motorsport woven through the fabric of global history. It wants you to know that director Kazunori Yamauchi is in charge, it wants you to know the four-team development studio knows every inch of car history, and it wants you to know that Lewis Hamilton was involved. That lays up the foundation of a game that obsesses over everything you do with your car. For example, the Scapes photo mode is stupidly deep. By placing GT7 car models into one of the hundreds of real-life scenes, messing around with the insane amount of camera options before snapping your picture, you can make scenes that look genuinely indistinguishable from real-life. Other small details, like a livery editor for your car and your driver, mean you could spend hours looking lovingly at your creations or trying out those other drivers have made.

But the most vital part of this special brand of Gran Turismo love and care is that it isn't just cosmetic. You can tune all the cars you own with four stages of upgrades — ranging from casual upgrades to racing-level ones — that will ensure you adjust your car for every race you participate in. The basic "How good is your car?" measure is performance points, or 'PP.' By tuning your car and adjusting the wheels for every occasion, you will fall in love with your vehicle: I dare you not to. There is something about having to adjust the ride height, the timing of your gear shifts, the amount of torque to the front or back wheels, the brake balance, the dampeners... I have never loved cars as much as I do right now, and that is thanks to the relationship that Polyphony constantly builds between you and these hunks of metal you drive.

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Polyphony has smartly built around this relationship between player and car. While the emphasis is on the collection of vehicles, the cars you will actually want to drive will probably be more limited as you begin to pick your favourites. As you build out your select few for specific race types with tunes and liveries of your choosing, you also find yourself going deeper into more technical aspects of the game. It is a genius game design for its intuitive simplicity. Without realising it — and without the game explaining it — you will start investigating your in-race torque balance, front/rear brake distribution, and ACS in order to get the best out of your car when driving on the track. Afterwards, you will be glaring at blueprint-like spec sheets, adjusting every aspect of your car in the hopes of success measured against how the car felt just a moment ago. By design, this constructs a Gran Turismo house built of car love, technical detail, and incredible driving for the player and will have you totally hooked, and perhaps more importantly for a driving simulator, totally immersed.

This brings us to the aspect of the game I most dislike: the unassailable amount of clunky text boxes. It's function over style, I get it. But these text boxes are endless and expect you to care about what they say, but are just so boring. It's a shame, as there are interesting ideas buried away here. You will meet car designers who explain the history of vehicles, car nuts who can give you fact after fact, and — after every car menu you complete — get a lovely history of what you have just earned. Indeed, every car brand has a museum for you to delve through. Hell, even your opposing race drivers are real-life Gran Turismo professionals. All of this is so cool and is always a lovely, thoughtful touch that manages to escape its bad presentation by being such a considered and endearing idea. But, with the effort that has gone into every caveat of this game, it feels like an unnecessary slip for it to be so ill-presented. It could have been avoided by adding in some voice acting for these descriptions while the player does something practical. For example, instead of a text box and an image of car history, why not take the picture of the car in Scapes while listening to a nice audio history?

gran Turismo 7

This clunkiness is emphasised by unintuitive menus that are four more clicks away than needed at any given time. Again, it's a small slip, but one that nearly diminishes the work done making the HUD generally cleaner than previous entries. It's not just that irritates, it's all the small things. Menu music keeps changing with every click creating a choppy and discordant atmosphere. The soundtrack is pretty rubbish as a whole and very limited, actually. The tuning menu is totally bereft of any introduction, though there are pop up text boxes if you need information. When doing arcade-style modes, restarting takes three more seconds than needed because it shows an unnecessary cut scene every time. It sounds small and petty to pick on these things, but you will spend a lot of time in these places and the mistakes add up.

I also have mild concerns about the use of in-game credits when this game opens up to the public. They are easy enough to earn naturally if you play enough high-level races. However, they can also be purchased for real money as per every Gran Turismo since the fifth one and exchanged for cars (they weren't advertised or purchasable in our review code). I was never gated out of progress because of credits, but I can see some players needing a certain car for a Sport race online, not having credits, and then needing to either spend real money or play for hours to unlock a car they will use for one specific type of race. Being able to buy better cars with real money should give GT7 an inkling of pay-to-win, but the racing is PP-locked for balance and is so skill-intensive in multiplayer that paying for cars probably won't create a division in players. Some of the cars cost an actual bomb though, so you will be saving up for a long, long time if you are playing naturally in some cases. Anyhow, it might be worth locking up your PlayStation account if you are going to pass this on to a younger player.

This ties into the final potential negative, which is car degradation and maintenance. The game has systems in place for washing your car, oil top-ups, engine replacements, and so on. However, while they didn't seem needed during my time reviewing, my concern is that this is an easy way to drain long-term players of credits by forcing them to pay to keep their cars in working order. Again, I can't confirm this as it would take many more miles, but if it isn't for that reason then I don't know why car degradation even exists in the game.

gran Turismo 7

The Gran Turismo 7 trophies are all more attainable than in previous games. Most require you to explore all the game modes to the fullest extent and drive a certain amount of overall distance. I suspect some of those distances (some of which have to be done in multiplayer) will take a while. There is also one for doing 50 races in Sport mode. Given that the races are time-gated slots of participation and heavily limited, in the environment we tested it in, it appears this would take a week or more to unlock naturally. Getting Gold on all licences might be quite testing for some players, but I am rubbish and over halfway with them already.

Now, the big bad in my eyes is that one trophy requires you to take a picture of a certain car at a certain place in Scapes. That car costs 10,000,000 credits. I only ever saved a tenth of that because I got a lucky reward from one race. There are a few more trophies that I have no idea how to get at the moment — driving a formula car and doing fuel stops in long races — which look easy, but I don't know how to set them up. I also have no idea the conditions for the trophy concerning driving without any assistance, because I have tried my hardest to get that one and failed. Anyway, it's never tricky and will just take time and patience.

gran Turismo 7


Gran Turismo 7 fashions a passionate love letter for every gear shift, every metre of tarmac, every camshaft and roll bar — yet manages to evoke that feeling in the player, too. Simply put: the racing is phenomenal, while perfectly offering as much depth as any player could possibly desire from a track racer. Game modes are robust and diverse, and it appears from limited testing that the online modes should be a stable and rewarding platform for a variety of player skills. It manages to drag you into the grisly details of your car without making you bored and will offer you a world of ways to explore car culture and history. While many long-standing Gran Turismo issues are still present and let the overall package down, Gran Turismo 7 mostly wears them with so much pride it kind of becomes endearing. This is the definitive sim-racer, and I can offer no higher praise about Polyphony Digital's game than the fact that "the real driving simulator" will make you fall in love with racing.
9 / 10
* Kes spend 27 hours trying to figure out which millimetre of car height was best for his GTR in Gran Turismo 7. He unlocked 27 out of 54 trophies, but endeavours to get more. A review copy was provided by Sony.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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