Developed by Polyphony, Gran Turismo Sport is the thirteenth overall installment in its franchise, being seventh in the main series. This is also the first Gran Turismo game released on the PS4. Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi has dubbed GT Sport to be the pioneer in a new generation of Gran Turismo games, for better or for worse.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Release Date: October 13, 2017
This review is based on a review code provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Gran Turismo Sport is a treat for series newbies, being easy and accessible, yet also hard to master. However, long-time fans of the series might get disappointed.
Why? You might think being the latest installment in a long-running series gives you the idea that by now, the developers know what they’re doing and added a lot of nooks and crannies to their game. There are a lot of great things about GT Sport, but the developers have also taken a few steps back.
Previous Gran Turismo games have over a thousand cars at your disposal, allowing you to buy parts and pimp your ride however you see fit. Well, not anymore.
Now with only 162 cars out of the box, Gran Turismo instead focuses on remodeling old cars from the golden ps2 era so their look will feel more at-home on the PlayStation 4, along with new vehicles. Gone are the days where blocky models race with realistic-looking cars.
Also, don’t get me wrong, the cars are amazingly well-crafted, but they somehow lack the beauty (or should I say ugliness) of being damaged. The feedback when crashing is superb, but the models’ damaged looks don’t really look that damaged at all.
What I noticed when I was going online is that when a car is near your side, a vignette starts to appear to warn you of collision, sort of like when you’re playing a first person shooter and an enemy hits you where you can’t see them, and a red vignette appears to show you where you’ve been hit. It’s little things like this that keeps the experience enjoyable and more competitive.
I can’t say the same about the foliage and the trees, though. They’re a hit and miss in the graphics department. There’s also no dynamic day-to-night cycle. Instead, you are given the power to choose what time of day you’re playing before a match.
Handling is superb.
I’ve only played the game on the Dual Shock 4, but even with the pad, the cars feels good to control. You can feel the weight of every car model you choose to race with, giving you options to strategize and lets you mix things up a bit.
Gran Turismo Sport has three modes: Campaign, Sport, and Arcade.
This game’s Campaign mode, unlike any other game’s campaign mode, only allows you to take up challenges to hone your driving skills. Yep, no championships here, just plain old tutorials dressed as challenges. This is a great way for beginners to get a grip of how to control their cars better.
The challenges are hard, but every gold medal is reward enough.
Every task in campaign mode is introduced by fully-narrated videos. What’s not good about them is that they’re hosted online (on YouTube). So depending on your internet connection speed, one challenge’s intro video may take up to ten minutes of loading before you get to take on your chosen task.
Speaking of videos, before you get race with other players in Sport mode, a video about driving etiquette and is shown. Poliphony really wants you to drive and play safe.
Every player is given a safety rating that tracks how well you do in a match. Every crash, every off-tracking, every aggressive bumping into another player causes your rating to go down. Refrain from doing these and your safety rating will rise, allowing you to race with other friendly drivers, making a round safe and fun.
However, there are times when other players will try and crash into you intentionally. If they do, not only will their ratings go down – so will yours. They’re the types who just want to watch the world burn. It’s a lose-lose situation, so it’s better to just play it safe.
Arcade mode allows you to race against computer enemies. Oh wait, you’re looking for a couch multiplayer? Well, you’re in luck! Gran Turismo Sport allows you to grab a friend and do splitscreen races locally. Say goodbye to friendship.
There are other things you can do aside from racing, like building your own diorama of cars and places and take screenshots of them via Scapes mode. There’s also this slideshow that educates you about car history and historic events that happened in other not-car-related news, like when Donald Trump became the President of the United States.
Wait, did I already say the game needs to be always online? The only mode you can access when offline is Arcade mode. You can’t even go take photos via Scapes mode. And even if you’re playing in Arcade mode, any progress you make won’t be saved. This is obviously done to discourage cheating and piracy, but still, players should be given more than just one thing.
Overall Gran Turismo Sport is an awesome game, but, for some, the always online rule is a huge deal-breaker.