Gran Turismo 7 (PS4) Review – For The Love Of Cars


This is Gran Turismo 7. The seventh numbered entry of the racing game series proudly dubbing themselves “the real driving simulator”, which started 25 years ago. Polyphony Digital, among the many PlayStation Studios brethren, can be seen as the odd one out- they’ve been working on the same game series since 1997. A game series about racing cars at that.

But when it comes to Gran Turismo, it’s more about cars, but also is about cars. Just as Gran Turismo is more than a video game, but also is a video game. The GT brand has grown to be a major influence in the car industry these days, though last decade or so it does feel like the devs have forgotten what it’s like to make a game. GT Sport was good- but not the GT game fans remembered.

Not anymore. They found their line again with GT7. The series has never been better.


You cannot talk about Gran Turismo without talking about how good it looks. Since the PS1 days Polyphony has been pushing graphical realism, and four generations of consoles after that, they’re still at it, despite some fumbles in the PS3 era.

I want to say GT7 has blown me away with its graphics, but I’m playing on the PS4. The base model from its original launch at that. And what I see here is what I remembered of GT Sport. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a looker. It’s just that this level of beauty is something I’ve seen before, but if you skipped that entry, well, you’re in for a treat.

The cars look immaculately detailed. You can see the many grooves of the plastic casing in a brake light as seen in many cars of the ’90s. The interior is immaculately fleshed-out. They even rendered out the many official car colours, all ridiculous names intact, and match their in-real-life looks. Rossa Corsa is a tad less red than Rossa Scuderia.

Unlike past numbered games, GT7’s cars maintain a consistent quality. No more of those Premium/Basic models. All of them have been given the same amount of effort.

Trackside, it can be good at times. And not-so in others.

You can bet to see low-res shadows that only pops in at close distances, in particular the catch fences seen at Daytona. Visual pop-ups from the scenery are also apparent when you’re driving on long straights in a fast car.

But the rain effect is the weirdest one. In some camera angles you barely see a drop of rain (sometimes it’s very thin you have to stare inches from the TV screen to see it). But when it switches to the interior cam, or the long camera shots from replays, you can clearly see it’s pouring. There’s water dripping on the windscreen, and the wipers really are pushing water away. So in rainy races, I have to resort to my sixth and seventh sense (the surface water meter on the HUD as well as the weather radar from the multi-functional display) to drive around safely.

I’m a little disappointed with the rain effects, considering we’ve seen utterly gorgeous and borderline hyper-realistic depictions of bad weather as early as the PS4 launch via another Sony first-party title, Driveclub.

It’s no surprise that the PS4 version has some graphical misses, but if you have a PS5 that doesn’t have most of the graphical issues here (aside from the rain) this is utterly jaw-dropping stuff. Gran Turismo 7 goes hard on photorealism, and it should at least make you have a double-take on what’s being on display here. But its focus on photorealism makes any small niggles a big issue, hence why I’m not that hot with GT7’s graphics- it’s purely due to being stuck on a last-gen console.

Thankfully, other than the weird rain effects, nothing else about the graphics have compromised performance. When you’re out racing, it’s rock-solid 60fps all the way, rain or shine, day or night, with up to 20 cars on track. You don’t get 60fps in replays (the music replays can drop even below 30fps), but at least it’s now rendered full-screen. No black bars ala GT Sport.

In the sound department, it’s okay. The sound mixing is a bit flat but there are options to boost the engine noise or lower the in-game music to suit your taste. The sounds of the cars have gone a long way since the vacuum cleaner days of yore. Car engines sound distinct and fit their characteristics.

Turbos spool and pop as they should. Cars with natural aspirations grunt hard and loud. The rotor engine that powers the Mazda 787B beautifully shrieks in the similar tones of its real-life counterpart but thankfully won’t damage your hearing while doing so. And EVs have their own unique acoustics piped out to help ease the pain of not hearing engine noises.

The soundtrack is hot fire though. There are loads and loads of music, mostly licensed ones from established artists. And it’s still crazy to see that different parts of the menu have a different playlist of music. Enjoy the bumping beats of the classics of GT soundtrack like the many J-Rock compositions from Daiki Kasho and Masahiro Ando, as well as literal classics by the likes of Mozart and Pachelbel. And there’s some good choice of licensed songs as well, some made just for the game. Enjoy hearing Idris Elba spitting hot bars about black Mustangs.

Each menu item in the World Map also has its own set of playlists. GT Auto plays funkier, remixes of old tunes. Brand Central pipes in classy, upbeat, luxurious beats you would associate with window shopping in an upper-class shopping mall where you just browse the available brochures. The used car dealer has jaunty Japanese jazz. And so on.

And let’s not forget that the de-facto anthem of Gran Turismo, Moon Over The Castle, gets a GT7 rendition. And it’s glorious. That song has finally appeared in a GT intro video for all regions, and you get to hear almost the full version of it from the lengthy 8-minute intro alone. It’s hype, it’s what you remember Gran Turismo likes to do in past titles, and they went full ham with this rendition.

Overall, Gran Turismo 7 presents itself well, bringing its own quirky charm to it. It can come off overly posh and dainty at places- but that’s because that’s what you would expect from looking at expensive cars. But that’s just one piece of the many styles Gran Turismo bring. It can be goofy (have you seen the animated clip of workers literally pulling a car bodywork wide to put on a wide-body?), it can be soothing, it can be sick and hype (the presentation package when you enter a championship gave me goosebumps).

Gran Turismo has been great at meshing all the different vibes of car culture together under one underlying theme: an earnest celebration of cars.


The big takeaway of having played Gran Turismo 7 in the past two weeks is that Polyphony took a good look at all their past games, understood what made them tick, find why fans love them and make sure to do all those and more.

That may not sound compelling, but after GT Sport, and GT5 and GT6 not being as a big success compared to earlier titles, it’s been a while since a GT game really resonated with its core fans. GT Sport is fine, but the multiplayer focus and many of the charming features of past games being absent (like a proper single-player career mode) makes it feel like a stopgap for the real game to come out. For most folks, GT Sport was GT7 Prologue, if you will.

So, the good news is, for fans of the series, almost everything you know and love from the series have returned in some form. We get a single-player progression, tuning and upgrading cars is back, there are more reasons to drive normal road cars, all this while still retaining every new feature and almost all the content from GT Sport, and then some.

But calling GT7 just GT Sport with the things fans wanted is selling it mighty short. As there are plenty of changes under the hood that really makes this entry far superior to its predecessor. And the big word here is dynamism.

GT7 has brought back dynamic time, and also added dynamic weather. The change in time isn’t just for the looks- it evolves the race track which in turn will require you to adapt your driving style on the fly. Driving in the dark nights going downhill through Mount Panorama where parts of tracks aren’t lit up can be scary, even more so when the menacing headlights from behind you is hounding, ready to pounce should you make a mistake. But if you think driving in the sunshine afternoon would be the direct opposite, it isn’t necessarily. Now you have sun glare to contend with, and if you rely on the trackside boards and markers for your brake points, well, all the numbers on there can be masked under direct sunlight.

So maybe overcast is the safest condition then? Well, for a bit. But then when you start to see the ominous plume of dark clouds covering the sky you better be ready should it rains, which makes driving much, much harder from the lack of visibility and grip.

It’s not just going around in circles over and over anymore, there are many variables being changed as each second tick.

Track evolution also extends to how much grip you can get over the course of a race. Longer races will see the track rubbered in, with the racing line getting visibility darker from all that tyre marks. Cars feel grippier, you feel more confident in taking corners, and lap times tumble down as the race progresses.

But when it rains, the inverse happens, The track slowly gets damp and later wet, with the car losing more grip which means you better brake earlier or you’re risking aquaplaning- skidding with no traction right off the track and into a wall. But it’s not permanent. When the rain stops, the track will eventually dry out, and the racing line will start to get rubbered in again.

And that’s not all, rain can be localised, and in some bigger tracks, only parts of the circuit may get wet but not others, so mixed conditions racing is also possible in GT7. There’s now a weather radar you can pull up in the multi-function display to see if rain is coming anytime soon, and if it arrives, which part of the track is wet.

Gears And Gasoline

This sense of dynamism is also extended to car physics. With GT7, the simulation has now expanded with a more detailed suspension physics. Normal go-getter cars feel highly unstable when you take on long corners at high speeds.

Cars violently shake side-to-side when you ride on big and wavy kerbs designed to deter you from going past the track width.  Braking from high speeds will send all the mass forward, the car’s backside visually lifted as high as the suspension lets it from the sheer force it has to withstand.

When they said that they’ve improved the suspension dynamics, they mean it. Sure, some of the effects are communicated through the camera being more wibbly-wobbly in response to your steering inputs, and even more pronounced than ever before.

But even removing that, you can still feel the difference between a car with soft suspension designed for smooth rides on smooth roads versus cars with stiff racing suspensions designed to push through all the bumps and lumps in a predictable manner. Cars can get upset, not due to emotional damage, but having to withstand consecutive forces from different corners, which ultimately leads to it snapping, a lost of control, a spin.

Being able to tame a wild ride, driving it to the edge of its grip limit can be intense and a test of true driving skill.

Mastering the dynamics offered by each car is the key to driving fast in GT7. Not all cars can be hustled and pushed hard with full throttle and brake presses. You have to put the pedal gently to the metal in general. A slight touch on the throttles and brake is required for some cars, so even on a controller you better learn how to smoothen out your inputs.

Top Gear

There is another option to tame the wild beast machines, which is to tune the suspension. Car upgrades are back in Gran Turismo. Engines, suspension, turbo, supercharger, brakes (but only Brembos because of a partnership deal) and tyres can be swapped with better parts. And you can install permanent upgrades to your engine (like giving it a bigger stroke) and chassis (doing some weight reductions). Heck, you can even install a nitrous system if you want to go back to the ’00s by making proper tuner JDM builds. There are parts that allow you to turn cars into proper drift machines as well.

And what better way to measure your car’s prowess than by measuring its Performance Points (PP). Yeah, PP is back, the metric that calculates a car’s relative power with an unfortunately funny abbreviation, as seen in past GT titles. There are plenty of races where you can bring any car to the race as long as you are within the PP requirements. If you upgrade and tune that Demio so it has a big enough PP energy compared to the souped-up Supras, NSXs or a Ferrari F40 on the grid, you can race it.

But the tuning option is a fascinating one. Like past GTs (even GT Sport to some extent) you can adjust the setup of your car. Tinkering with gear ratios is there, but the suspension tuning is by far the most important one in this entry. If you want to race hard and push through corners with confidence, you better be reading up on how to tune a suspension. Adjusting the dampers, ride height, toe and camber angles until the car handles well is a seriously rewarding experience.

There was a couple of races where I tried racing the Ferrari F430 but couldn’t push it hard enough. Bolting on engine upgrades was not an option due to PP limitations (can’t go above 600 for this example), so the only option for me was to tweak the suspension settings. Changing the numbers on the tuning spreadsheet will make the car’s PP go bigger or smaller- which you can measure after each little tweak of the spreadsheet numbers. And it seems that, to an extent, by just using the PP increment as your target, you’ll eventually land on a sweet spot that does handle well. I went from finishing fifth or fourth to winning with a 10-second margin in some races, with only suspension tweaks alone, done simply by finding the sweet spot that produces the big PP energy increase.

I tried doing something similar but at 700 PP it doesn’t produce good handling. So, it’s still better to read up on how the settings work rather than playing the game of hot-and-cold using spreadsheets. GT7 provides the Beyond The Apex magazine from the options menu that gives you tips on tuning.

Overall, the additional dynamics at play, from the improved car physics and the dynamic time and weather, really brings a lot to the table. Racing in GT7 can be challenging, and immensely satisfying, due to this. And it’s a great addition to the series.

The one missing piece of the puzzle is still the damage modelling. GT7 has suspension and mechanical damage, but you will only see some dings and scratches when you collide with something. It’s something the series is infamously known for, not having much of a damage model, and it’s usually excused because racing sims don’t do that because it’s not about crashing into each other.

But now that other notable racing sims in the market like iRacing are making efforts in enhancing their damage model for the real racing cars featured, that argument don’t hold as much water. Though to be fair to GT7, improvements have been made to sell you that little bump or tap on the wall to feel a bit more visceral in this entry.

The Grand Tour

Gran Turismo 7 offers a single-player progression. It’s not a Career Mode per se when almost all of the features are housed in the World Map. (For whatever reason, the new Music Rally feature is placed separately from the World Map, which gives the game a nice excuse to put back a starting main menu screen like in the older GT games.)

Your grand tour into the world of Gran Turismo 7 will be accompanied by a bunch of talking heads guiding and cheering you on. Sarah assists you during the onboarding process by introducing you to the many menus (called “pavilions”) that are on the world map, and introducing you to the other characters. You then meet the GT Cafe owner Luca, the Tuning Shop owner Rupert, the used car seller Andi, and a bunch of other characters.

Somehow, GT7 is now a visual novel. There’s no voice acting here, all of the interactions are text-based. It’s kind of similar to what the devs tried to do in GT6’s tutorial, but the visual novel chats are there for the whole game.

My big surprise is that what seemed to be cameos were instead are recurring characters. Throughout your journey, you’ll bump across the many Gran Turismo players that have competed at the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championship, in other words, GT esports pros. Seeing the likes of Daniel Solis, Igor Fraga, Mikhail Hizal and Takuma Miyazono saying hello, sharing their personal stories and achievements was not on my Gran Turismo 7 bingo card. But here it is.

And no, you can’t criticise the lore or writing here- these players are all real people. As someone who did watch these dudes race in those events, I assure you all the stories here checks out to what had unfolded on the many livestreams. From professing their undying love to their car brand of choice (which they were the top drivers of said brand in the Manufacturer Series), to how they got into loving cars (spoiler: it’s mostly Gran Turismo’s fault), these boys are gamers like us, the only difference is they committed so much time and effort to drive like absolute aliens and proven themselves to be the best GT players in the world.

Throughout the campaign, they’ll also offer you tips and advice, hype up their new whip when they change cars like it’s Need For Speed Underground, give insights and fun facts about the tracks or cars, and generally, just wish you have a good race. It’s all wholesome vibes, GT really likes that they’ve built up camaraderie among its top competitors and that vibe has been replicated here in GT7.

Hopefully, this will inspire some new folks to try and climb the competitive ladder now that one of the rewards of doing so is to be etched into GT history.

Collecting Cars

You start off Gran Turismo 7 by buying a starter car at the used sales dealer (unlike in GT6, you can choose from two other cars for purchase if you don’t want the Honda Fit). Once you made that choice and you go to the GT Cafe so you can be handed over a Menu Book, a series of tasks you need to unlock more features in GT7. And tracks. Tracks needed to be unlocked in GT7. You have to prove yourself worthy to race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the Circuit De La Sarthe (or called in-game this time as the 24 Heures du Mans Racing Circuit).

If you find this odd, well buckle up, because this is the main gameplay loop of the single-player progression. You go to the cafe, start the one menu book available to you at a time, and you go do the thing the menu book asks you to do. Most of the time, it’s to collect a set of three cars. Sometimes, it asks you to go try a newly unlocked feature. And others ask you to compete in a championship. But the ultimate goal is to collect all the cars.

Now if you’re still in disbelief that why the heck is a food place has to do with cars, it’s somehow has a historical connection. You know the Michelin stars coveted by prestigious cooks and restauranteurs? That was borne out of Michelin, the tyre company that also has a partnership deal with GT, trying to entice people to go out and use their automobiles, which said automobiles will require servicing like a tyre change. So the idea of driving to food places is definitely a car thing, and “cars and coffee” meetups are also commonplace in some countries. But the GT twist here is that the Cafe is the starting point, rather than the destination. The cafe is the centre point of the World Map, for this reason is what I like to believe.

But there is one flaw to the Menu Book-based progression. You are essentially rail-roaded with a very linear path to unlock all the game’s features and later reach the ending. Past GT games let you buy any car and race any available races (which are plenty to choose from) where your cars are available to compete. In GT7, you will only unlock new races that precisely awards those specific cars you are looking for, and the choice of optional races outside the critical path is minimal. You will have to go through FF and FR cars as part of the progression, instead of it being a choice. It also doesn’t help that you can’t tackle the menu book in different orders. The structure’s way too linear.

And yes, the way races and championships are dolled out is also different. Instead of it being a whole menu of various sets of races to complete, you instead have to pick a track in the Circuit Experience menu and see what events you want to take part in. Rewards for completing the whole set of races are gone- you now gain reward cars only as part of the current Menu Book progression- you just gain credits. Championships are separated into their own menu of the Circuit Experience.

Throttle House

All of the races that are part of the progression play out in the same format: a last-to-first challenge over a couple of laps. It starts with six cars and two laps which should be about a 2-minute session, and by the end, it will go up to a full grid of 20 cars and about a 20-minute session for a race. You only need to get the National A License to finish all the progression events.

GT7 has tyre and fuel wear and qualifying sessions but you won’t see them in the main campaign. It has its own brand of difficulty, overtaking 19 cars with a limited number of laps can be tricky in later races, but aside from the dynamic systems mentioned earlier, you don’t get much else to shake up the monotony.

Plus, in the races tied to the critical path, the AI seems to be sandbagging, even at the spiciest of difficulties. You’ll easily pass them at straights. Because the challenge is to make up positions from the back of the grid, so to balance it out the AI won’t be driving as hard, you know, like racing games of yesteryears. If you try out the other optional races later on, then you’ll see the full breadth of racing options GT7 offers. The AI won’t hold back, will squabble for positions among themselves, and require little to no mistakes on your part to snatch that podium place away from them.

And we’re not talking about the spiciest of hot sauces yet. GT Sophy, the AI agent developed by Sony’s AI research division, is confirmed to come to GT7 in the future. The AI as it right now seems decent enough, but if you want to suffer, that option will soon be available.

Speaking of difficulty, I just find it amusing that the difficulty level is symbolised by the most familiar difficulty system there is to a mainstream audience- spice levels.

There is a good reason why the races in the progression are designed like this. And it’s to ease in new players to racing games, in particular one that’s more “sim” than it is “arcade” in terms of its handling physics. This entry really makes it accessible and approachable for newcomers and non-car fans to try out. You have a plethora of driving assists that will enable anyone you hand the controller to can at least finish a race. If you want to race like its GT1 with D-Pad steering and the X and Square buttons to accelerate and brake, you can. Gyro controls are also there. Advance players will need to go dig into the assists settings to disable some options that are still on even when set at Expert level.

Say what you want about Gran Turismo’s claim about being the “Real Driving Simulator” when other more in-depth and more complex racing sims are available in the market right now. But Gran Turismo has one thing it’s really good at compared to other sims of its ilk, and it’s that it really is easy for anyone to drive and immediately have some fun. Racing on the controller feels responsive, and most importantly, controllable right off the bat. You won’t spin out of control at the first turn in your first race, and that should make it a really good impression to newcomers who may have felt this niche game genre to be daunting and hard to get into.

And if you’re just starting your first GT experience, I think you’ll find quite a unique one unlike other racing games, quirks and all. From having to do license tests to scrounging different places to find the car you want. The car showroom acts as a mini-Wikipedia to get you into the car world rabbit hole, and even lets you watch embedded YouTube videos. You can play it like it’s a 1997 video game where you just do races after races, or take a break in the many distractions on offer like customising cars, taking photos, browsing other players’ beautiful and/or cursed creations and more.

I spent about 60 hours (including diverging into doing side content, and doing repeat races to grind for credits) before I reach the ending. The critical path will slowly introduce you to the many track layouts around the world (even the fictional tracks are grounded by placing them in a real-life location like how Dragon Trail is located in Croatia, and the returning Deep Forest Raceway is in Switzerland), as well as making you collect cars, learn about the many famous car brands of the world, and meet and race against some of the best Gran Turismo players in the world.

Despite what seems to be a lot of pandering to the old fans and bringing back the classic GT features, Polyphony is brave enough to not necessarily bring everything back as it was. The new progression system isn’t perfect, but that just means there’s more room to improve.


Gran Turismo 7 at launch offers 424 cars to collect and 34 locations with 97 layouts (tracks). Compared to Gran Turismo Sport, GT7 adds 91 new cars (almost all the cars from GT Sport are here with some exceptions, like the Fittipaldi Motors VGT and the 2017 Mercedes-AMG F1 car are missing), and four new locations for tracks.

And it has to be noted that GT Sport launched with 162 cars (176 more cars were added via post-launch free updates for a total of 338 cars) and 17 locations with 40 layouts (13 locations added post-launch).

On paper, it sounds not too big of a bump in content. I was disappointed that we got only three returning fantasy tracks and one real-life track that had appeared in GT previously for this entry. But compare the numbers when GT Sport was at launch and it’s a different story. Those who dropped GT Sport early and jumped into GT7 will find that they have added a lot over the span of five years.

And thanks to how the progression works you get to feel the full girth of that 100GB+ install size. It can stretch to more than 40 hours of playtime and you barely even drive a quarter of the car list and still haven’t driven around some of the track layouts enough times to be bored of them.

There are still more needed to be added. The car list is mostly populated with cars from 2015 and 2016, the years leading up to Gran Turismo Sport’s release in 2017. A lot of newer cars are missing. GT7 adds the Ferrari F8 Tributo, a sleek redesign of the Prancing Horse’s current midship supercar the Ferrari 488… which is not in the game. People make fun of McLaren releasing new supercars every week and the latest car in GT7 is the 650S from all the way back in 2014. There’s only one model of a Maserati (Maserati), and two for Bugatti (Bugatti), and definitely no Ducattis (Ducatti). Lotus has yet to make a return, and this is a great time to feature the marque now that it’s been creating amazing new cars thanks to a new change in management. (Who was it again that Lotus was under before? Wait, oh.)

So don’t expect to drive a lot of the latest of supercars, hypercars or even the SUVs and crossovers in GT7, at least not right now at launch.

And this is due to GT7’s bulk of new cars coming from the yesteryears. GT Sport was criticised for missing a lot of classic cars, and boy do they take feedback to heart. For fans of the OG Gran Turismo, there are a lot of racing cars from the JGTC and GT1 era of the late ’90s, making a return. The Pennzoil GT-R, the Castrol Supra and the Porsche GT1 are some of the retro heroes you need to hunt down and save money for as they are not available to buy at any time.

There are some new car inclusions, Hyundai’s more upmarket Genesis marque makes its GT debut, for example.
There’s still room to add more fan-requested tracks and cars (though if there is more room in the storage space is another question). And if Polyphony can keep up a consistent rate of free content updates as they did with GT Sport, GT7 will only be richer in content in the years to come.

Car Trek

When you’re not out racing, there are so many other distractions and extra features that will keep you busy. You can just browse around Brand Central doing window shopping but also read up on a specific brand’s history.

The museum feature from GT Sport returns, showing you a timeline of a brand’s historic milestone paired in parallel with a global timeline of historic events, including the civil rights movement in the USA, the day humankind reach the moon, the end of the Cold War, the release of a Beatles album, the release of the iPhone, the release of the PlayStation, and up to the most recent events, the Covid-19 pandemic and the blockage of the Suez Canal. Heck, you can even watch YouTube videos and see all the weird promos of cars you likely can’t afford in real life.

The livery editor is back and further improved and by far one of the easiest to use in the many games that offer this feature. Letting you upload custom decals is a boon that I hope will remain free of misuse.

And if you’re not up to making your own, the Showcase tab lets players share their creations with the world, so you too can grab a livery of your vTuber oshi and enshrine them on your racing car of choice. Or find lovely recreations of Formula 1 liveries to be slapped on the Super Formula cars. Or get the best of both worlds, a real racing car replica that has an anime girl on it (like the ones from Goodsmile Racing). Or go into another video game world entirely by having the cute glutton blob of pink apparition Kirby consume your car.

One cool surprise addition to GT7 is cosmetic upgrades. Not only can you slap a big wing on, but you can put on racing items on normal cars like two hooks and roll cages, as well as options for custom front, side and rear bumpers. There’s an option to add wide-body kits. You can have different license plate styles to match the long horizontal ones seen in Europe or the shorter rectangles as seen in Japan and the US.

The customisation parts are not that in-depth – don’t expect to see a lot of them having body panel lines and rivet spots as seen in aftermarket body kits and most of the custom bumpers are adding diffusers and carbon trimmings.

But hey, the fact you can make wide bois in a GT game is already a big W. Pair that with some adjustment settings to the suspensions and you go make full-stanced cars that droop down to the floor. It’s absolutely cursed if you ask me, but there are fans of that aesthetic, and if you are said fan, that’s for you.


These cars are made to be taken photos with, and the photo mode (which first debuted in GT4 where you can connect a printer to the PS2 to print your shots, wild) is as good as it was in GT Sport. You can take pictures of your cars with backdrops from around the world (including various Southeast Asia locations) in Scapes. Or watch the replay of a race, pause at any time to snap some racy race photos.

It’s not just race replays where you can snap pics. You can take your cars around the world via Scapes. Here you can superimpose your cars into photos from locations around the world. From stunning vistas overlooking the ocean in Ireland to the front of a dingy but homey family grocery store in the streets of Melaka (complete with those obnoxious telco ad banners). From the lush desert landscapes of Morocco to the loud and bright custom truck meetups of Japan.

You can truly explore the world by just browsing through the photos. And maybe plop your car, with all the right reflections and lighting imposed on it to look extremely photorealistic, so you can take photos of it.

The crazy bit about the photo mode is that GT straight-up hands you a digital equivalent of a DSLR camera and a photo editor ala Lightroom. All the settings you get to play with corresponds to a similar toolkit professional photographers get to play around with. Leave the aperture short and the shutter speed long and you get those cool trail effects going, for example. It’ll unleash your inner shutterbug, should you opt into messing around with it.

And for the competitive players, Sport mode returns. The ranked matchmaking multiplayer mode is starting with rounds of races in tuned cars, apparently, so to be competitive in these races you really need to get a working setup. It’s not what players of GT Sport expected- as back then tuning was not allowed and you race in either one-make races where everyone gets equal machinery or in the Gr.4, Gr.3, Gr.B, Gr.2 and Gr.1 races where cars have applied BoP (balance of performance, that’s motorsport-speak for what we gamers know as “buffs and nerfs”).

I like the addition of racing tuned cars, but I hope that normal competition where it’s all about driver performance to start appearing in the rotation more regularly.

If you want a stress-free competition, normal online lobbies are also available to race with friends and acquaintances. 2-player split-screen is also available for some local race-off. And if you want to race with AI outside of the career progression, arcade races are still available.

Or if you’re feeling spicy, why not setup your own custom race, where you can fine-tune everything from when the time of day and weather will start, how long it will be (maximum is 24 hours for endurance races, and 200 laps for lap races), and who the AI drivers are. Not just adding custom cars, you can change their names too. If you fancy role-playing racing against the 2022 F1 drivers where they all race in stock Miatas (coloured to match their team livery) at Catalunya following the same race length as the Spanish Grand Prix. Or have notable characters from other racing game series battle in an all-star race in GT7, all with their appropriately liveried custom rides recreated.

Shoutout to the many folks on the YouTube comments on the Gran Turismo channel that consistently requested this very specific, but very much welcomed feature. Your wish has come true in GT7.

New to GT7 is that some cars require you to have an “invitation” to buy some of the rare inventories. It’s awful, in the sense that it artificially makes cars become rare and more sought-after. But it is also reflective of the quirks of the car world. Ask why talk show host and avid car collector Jay Leno doesn’t buy a Ferrari. Thankfully it’s not as complicated of a process- you just need to get an invite, which gives you a two-week window (in real-time) to go and purchase that special car on offer (or grind to get enough spare change to buy it).

At the moment, the only way to get an invitation is through… the roulette. Yes, there’s a gacha/loot box system in GT 7. Random prize cars were a thing since the first game, and with GT Sport the gacha was about awarding random cars. Since completing your car collection is a big thing in this game, they can’t let you just win new cars for every pull, no. So now, it becomes a proper gacha system where each pull is loaded with less rare/less desirable rewards. Like a meager change of 5,000 credits alongside a new engine to swap, carbon propellor shafts you can’t buy at the tuning shop, a new car, some tuning parts for cars you might or might not have yet, and the said invitation.

This leads to the one issue that may or not be a dealbreaker for you: Gran Turismo 7 is a live service game.

You need an online connection to save your game. Play offline and you have access to very limited modes. Your saves are bound to your PlayStation Network account and the only way to replay them from the start is to create a new one. You can top-up your credits with a PS Store purchase like buying shark cards in GTA Online. The credits reward for races has been stingy at the time of writing. There’s the aforementioned gacha system. And there will be free content updates coming in the future.

No one wants to tout it as a live service game, it will subject the game under heavy scrutiny. But the fact of the matter is that it has all the elements of one.

Sony hasn’t been as successful with live games (look at the state of Destruction AllStars) but is making investments in this aspect. Maybe GT7 will fare better? I don’t know. I just hope it can be at least at par with GT Sport, where playing enough of the game can still get you all the content you wanted without needing to pay extra.

Personal Enjoyment

I have to be real here, this review is being written by a life-long GT fan. Ever since my father brought home a dodgy bootleg PS1 game with the title of “Gran Turism” where the menu texts are all in Japanese back in 1997 – I fell in love with cars and the series. I’ve played almost all the games that were available on consoles ever since, going through many highs and lows.

So, a lot of what the average gamer may see as “weird”, “outdated” or “who the heck thought this was a good idea”, I brushed them off as its “quirks and features”.

That is to say, even with all the faults and issues I’ve pointed out, I still find myself smiling and all giddy throughout my time with Gran Turismo 7.

I mean, have you seen the ridiculousness that is real car colour names?

You can paint your car in Monza Red. That’s Chevrolet’s Monza Red, not to be confused with Lancia’s scarlet colour of the same name. Which does not have the same redness that you might want.

Or you can paint them in McLaren’s signature orange colour, though it’s not called McLaren Orange, that one’s by BMW. If you want that papaya orange that they have been using again recently in their F1 cars you go for Historic Orange, because Papaya Orange is an Audi colour.

Prefer green? Why not slap on Jaguar’s Battleship Grey that’s totally not grey, and barely even green (it’s actually closer to black). But there’s also a green-but-actually grey colour in the form of Ford’s Guard. Yeah, they call a colour as Guard. And Nitrous (light blue). And Magnetic (grey).

Real car colours can be phoney and confusing and I love that it’s well represented here.

And that’s just one specific example of its weird charm. The fact that you’re also unravelling a visual novel featuring real-life GT gamers that, like me, have grown up with the series. The fact that the intro video plays to nostalgia by doing what they did before. The fact that it revels in facts and history, not just car facts and history, but the wider world. The short little hype intros introducing championships. The sleek, elegant, car showroom-esque presentation. How photo mode can actually make you know your way around a DSLR camera.

The vibe that GT games give off can come off as slightly pretentious at times, but it’s not because of them being overly proud and full of themselves (well, not most of the time). GT is that wholesome and pure friend who knows a lot but didn’t realise what they’re saying can easily be misconstrued to mean something condescending or even lewd. I mean, you have to get used to saying PP a lot without giggling when talking about this game.

That earnestness and sincerity for its passion that’s being exuded here are infectious, and it’s why I keep coming back to Gran Turismo.

And with GT7 nailing almost every aspect of what a Gran Turismo should and could be in my eyes, of course I have thoroughly enjoyed the game. And yes, I am extremely biased. And I’m well aware that there are a bunch more regular gamers that would find the game oft-putting (like the live service elements) or won’t bother playing this not because of their disinterest in the subject matter.

As they say, your mileage may vary by how much you can handle its quirkiness, and how much you’re interested in cars.


The marketing tagline for Gran Turismo 7 is “Find Your Line”. Asking players not only to find the optimal racing line through corners, but find what kind of car guy are you.

Gran Turismo has also been introspective the past years it seems, asking themselves the same thing. And with GT7, Polyphony has found their line again.

Gran Turismo 7 is a stellar return to form. In returning to its roots, it also found new ways to innovate, though with some room to be further refined in future iterations, and reaffirms where the series is standing in the present. This is the best Gran Turismo game in decades.

The Gran Turismo series in many ways help define the car industry and the car culture surrounding it in the span of 25 years. But it also defined what a car game is, what a racing sim can be.

Gran Turismo 7 is a statement that no matter where the direction of the world is going with cars, and what direction the games industry is going with games, the series still has its place in the world, delivering a unique gaming experience like no other thanks to its earnestness in their love of cars, delivered with an immutable charm full of weirdly wonderful quirks.

Whether you are a series newcomer or a life-long GT fan, a petrolhead or not, you can give Gran Turismo 7 a go and walk away with some appreciation towards the marvellous creations that is cars.


Played on based PS4, review copy provided by the publisher


Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7 is a stellar return to form. In returning to its roots, it also found new ways to innovate, though with some room to be further refined in future iterations, and reaffirms where the series is standing in the present. This is the best Gran Turismo game in decades.

  • Presentation 9.5
  • Gameplay 9
  • Content 8.5
  • Personal Enjoyment 10

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