Notice: To display this embed please allow the use of Functional Cookies in Cookie Preferences.
Review: Gran Turismo 7 buries an excellent racing game underneath dull exposition
If you can suffer the clunky menus and endless dull dialogue, there’s an excellent racing game underneath
- Game director
- Kazunori Yamauchi
- Key Credits
- Shuichi Takano (Lead programmer)
Gran Turismo 7 feels like someone letting you drive their incredibly expensive supercar, but only if you drive under 30 miles per hour and stay on suburban streets.
It’s a showcase for incredible cars that all look just about as realistic as a car could look in a video game, but if you even so much as want to drive one of the cars, the game will be sure to sit you down for a lecture about the history of gear sticks before you even get your hands on the key.
The latest in the legendary PlayStation racing franchise, Gran Turismo 7 is a game that vacillates between engaging driving mechanics that reward patience and skill and a menu system that’s so dull, so lifeless, and so convoluted that it made us dread progressing the game’s lacklustre campaign.
Essentially, you’re tasked with completing events in order to collect a certain type of car. You can then use these cars in future events, all the time earning currency to eventually buy whichever car you please. So far, so racing game.
However, inexplicably, this is housed in a strange series of menus that looks more like something out of The Sims than Gran Turismo. You’re given an overworld map with various locations which house things like tuning settings, the car showroom and your garage, however, it’s in the cafe that the game’s baffling choices really shift into a higher gear.
You’re summoned to a cafe, at which you’ll be spoken to by a talking head and tasked with completing sets of cars from literal menus given to you from this cafe. After you’ve collected all the cars on the menu, you’ll get a history lesson about the cars, their grouping and other facts about them that are so basic that someone that’s really into cars wouldn’t care, but so dull that it’s not going to encourage people who aren’t really into the hobby to take it seriously.
Worst of all, there is little to no actual voice-acted dialogue in the game, so you’re primarily thumbing through menus with very little actual engagement. It’s all the fun of a Wikipedia article about Japanese compact cars, spread over lines and lines of dull dialogue.
It genuinely made us want to stop playing the story mode, living in fear of having to head back to the cafe and get another lecture. It all causes this feeling of someone making you watch their favourite film, staring at you throughout, making sure you understand why they’re so into it.
To be clear, the driving in Gran Turismo 7 is excellent. It’s incredibly responsive and treads the perfect line between hardcore simulation, and something more casual. You will be punished for speeding round corners and spinning off the side of the track, but it’s not a Formula 1 game, so some light paint trading is encouraged. It’s almost completely at odds with the menus that it’s housed in.
When you’re driving the cars it feels like you’re experiencing a real landmark for how cars should feel in video games. They’re the perfect weight, they feel incredibly rewarding to master, and there’s a tangible difference depending on what model you decide to race.
“To be clear, the driving in Gran Turismo 7 is excellent. It’s incredibly responsive and treads the perfect line between hardcore simulation, and something more casual.”
GT7 is clearly a game designed by people that absolutely love cars. The DualSense haptic triggers and general controller rumble really sell the experience. There’s tension and release when you’re speeding down the home stretch, and the subtle push and pull of mastering a tight corner while maintaining enough speed so that you’re not overtaken.
The cars look exceptional. On either of the two modes, every car model in the game that we managed to take for a spin looks just fantastic. Gran Turismo 7 is easily one of the most realistic looking racing games of all time.
Some of the tracks look better than others, and occasionally when flying over a track at the start of the race, some of the decoration will look a little bit like it’s from a model train set, but when the racing start, everything looks superb. Whether playing with a first or third-person view, there’s a great sense of speed, which is aided by the brilliant sound design.
We’ve all heard the stories of the Polyphony Digital team spending hours with microphones underneath motors in order to get the perfect engine sound, and honestly, it pays off. The soundtrack is unfortunately nowhere near as strong. While there are some licensed songs, and a great version of ‘Moon Over the Castle’ by Bring Me The Horizon, far too much of the music, especially in the menus, feels like waiting room background noise for a posh car dealership, a feeling that hangs over the entire game, unfortunately.
Game modes like the license challenges return, and these can be decent fun, and a good way to learn the game, but like all of the menu based content, it’s full of friction. You can’t opt to do the challenges all in one go, instead, the game forces you back to the menu over and over. It’s a small thing, but everything you want to do in Gran Turismo 7 has some small speed bump ahead of you and we can’t figure out why.
If you can suffer through the clunky menus, endless dull dialogue and 100 visits to the cafe, then there’s an excellent racing game somewhere hidden in Gran Turismo 7. It’s baffling that the game does its best to impede you from getting to the track, but when you actually get there, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
Everything about the game feels deeply dated, until you get behind the wheel and then it feels like an incredibly impressive driving simulator, it’s just such a shame that you need to deal with so much needless hassle to arrive at your destination.
If you can suffer through the clunky menus, endless dull dialogue and 100 visits to the cafe, then there’s an excellent racing game somewhere hidden in Gran Turismo 7.
- Responsive, engaging driving
- Incredible visuals
- Impressive attention to detail
- Clunky menus
- Terrible progression
- Dull history lectures