Gran Turismo 7 Review

Richard Walker

Spare a thought for all of those other driving simulators. They'll never be able to profess their status as 'The Real Driving Simulator' like only Gran Turismo can. Since the series’ debut on the original PlayStation in 1997, developer Polyphony Digital has been making good on that boast with each successive iteration, its visual finesse and driving model growing increasingly sophisticated over the past (almost) 25 years. And, would you believe it – Gran Turismo 7 is the game most worthy of that delightfully aggrandising tagline.

The Tom's Supra is just one returning old favourite.

More than ever, this particular iteration of Gran Turismo feels like a real driving simulator, albeit one that's still exceedingly precious with its cars. You can scuff, scrape, and crumple your vehicle ever so slightly, but Polyphony's fervour for all things automotive means that the idea of meaningful damage to bodywork remains sheer blasphemy. Indeed, why wouldn't it be? Consider the time the Japanese studio must have taken, poring painstakingly over all 420+ cars in the game, ensuring every little detail is present and correct - to mangle it would be a shame. Besides, GT has always been about precision driving, not smashing up cars. The obsessive detail that GT is famed for shows no signs of waning for this seventh mainline instalment either – every aspect of the game is a loving ode to the automobile.

Even the game's intro, which languidly takes you through a potted, illustrated history of the car, from sepia archive footage right through to present day motorsport, in full colour, it shows just how in love with metal on wheels Polyphony really is. But it's on the track where Gran Turismo 7 shines – quite literally, if you're talking about the blinding light bouncing off the gleaming curves of your car's bodywork. The handling is remarkably tight and uniquely gratifying, every car imbued with its own characteristics and quirks you need to take into account when rushing towards the finish line. What makes GT7 so moreish, though, is the game's progression system, tasking you with completing menu books for Luca, the proprietor of the Gran Turismo Café.

Collect sets of three cars by winning them via races or purchasing them to complete a Menu Book, and Luca will reward you with a history lesson about hot hatches, Alfa Romeos, rally cars, or whatever make or models you've acquired. Luca's Menus also guide you through championship events, the obligatory licence tests, and other elements of the 'World Map' mode you might have otherwise missed. Not paid attention to the 'Circuit Experience', which enables you to better acquaint yourself with a track, section by section? Given the Time Trial a wide berth? Luca will give you a nudge towards everything GT7 has to offer, steadily granting access to new venues, modes, features, and pavilions within the World Map.

From here, you can shell out for used cars, head to Brand Central, if you've enough credits for a new one, and visit the auto shop for an oil change or car wash. Or you can hit the tuning station to upgrade your chosen vehicle with an extensive suite of options, encompassing everything from brake pads to new suspension, filters, engine enhancements, flywheels, crankshafts, weight reduction, racing computers, tyres, and loads more, all of which contribute to your car's PP (Performance Points) level, determining its speed, power, and the races you're eligible for. Customisation is the most expansive it's ever been in a GT game, with aerodynamic wings, spoilers, and bumpers joined by wheel rims, and in-depth livery editor tools for both your car and driver, whose head is permanently encased in a helmet.

While it's odd to have essential features like multiplayer (include local 2-player split-screen) locked behind progression, there is something unusually gratifying about seeing GT7's world map come to life with new pavilions popping up, where you'll find something new to discover. Before long, you'll be taking gorgeous snaps via the Scapes zone, tackling individual Missions, or delving into Sport Mode for a daily challenge, when you're not compulsively raising your Collector Level by filling your garage with precious metal. In gently unfurling everything at a measured pace, Gran Turismo 7 is never overwhelming – in fact, it's easily the most welcoming entry in the series to date, without diluting anything for hardened veterans who cut their teeth on the earlier games.

New Music Rally races also serve as a great way to take a first step into GT7's world, presenting you with a piece of music and a checkpoint-based race against time, to progress as far as you can before the tune comes to an end. It's the icing on an enormously generous cake, one that you'll be gorging upon for countless hours, admiring the myriad flourishes and stunning presentation as you chow down. It’s a game that also makes great use of the PS5’s DualSense controller, providing ripples through your fingertips with the changing of track surfaces, clunking gear shifts, or providing a tactile jolt when scrolling through menu options. The integrated speaker is also used in smart ways, whether it’s the sound of a squeegee when you’re having your car washed, the glug of oil going into your engine, or simply the countdown to a race starting - it all contributes to immersing you in the GT experience. The only thing missing is the scent of smouldering rubber and motor oil.

And while we could perhaps have done without the inane pre-race chatter from rival drivers, blathering on about how special baguettes are, how their favourite music is thrash metal, or how you'll never see them without a hat, despite their photo portrait being entirely hatless, it's refreshing to play a racing game that encourages such levels of fairness and clean racing. No one ever brags about how great they are or tells you you'll be eating their dust, and you're rewarded with a 50% cash bonus for finishing a race cleanly, without a collision. This essence of fairness is drilled into you during multiplayer, too, where dirty tactics and intentional contact with opponents is duly punished, impacting your player rating while dragging your online sportsmanship rep down into the doldrums.

A blue Ferrari? Whatever next?

Of course, there's no guarantee you won't be knocked around a bit as you jostle with a grid full of players online – that comes with the territory – but the game's connected offerings are stable and easy to set up, although having to set up a new lobby to change tracks is a pain. If you'd prefer not to directly compete with rivals online, you've leaderboards and Sport Mode to fall back on for some semblance of connected, asynchronous racing instead. Or you can enjoy an online track day with friends in the new Meeting Place social space, share your Scapes photos, and created liveries.

The absence of a proper damage model in 2022 might seem bizarre, but Gran Turismo 7 seems to exist within its own rarefied air. No other racing game can really touch it in delivering such meticulous detail and unparalleled depth, while conveying a fervent passion for the automotive without being overly stuffy, nerdy, or dull. Whether this is your first foray into Polyphony's celebrated genre-defining series, or you've been playing since day one, Gran Turismo 7 has something to offer players of all kinds, in what emerges as the most definitive, full-blooded GT game since Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, cementing the series’ place as one of PlayStation’s greatest.

Gran Turismo 7

A towering achievement, Gran Turismo 7 is Polyphony's most assured and complete GT to date, almost outstripping the series' past glories. Equally welcoming to newcomers and veterans alike, GT7 is both a resounding triumph and spectacular celebration of car culture.

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A marvellous soundtrack and authentic car noises, all brought to life by 3D spatial audio. It's fantastic. And there are even sounds coming out of the DualSense speaker. What's not to like?


Jaw-dropping, eyeball-caressing graphics across the board, from the 400-odd cars rendered in ludicrous detail, to the circuits, weather effects, and even the menus. Gorgeous. Shame there's still no proper damage model, though.


All I can think about right now is playing Gran Turismo 7 – it's that good. Handling is tight and intuitive, while a wealth of tuning options and assists enable you to tweak and tailor things to your liking. DualSense features are also fantastic and add to the immersion. Brill.


Granted, you have to unlock a lot of it, but once you have, GT7's options are more than extensive, with car collecting, racing, multiplayer, leaderboards, the best photo mode around, and loads more making for one of the most comprehensive (and polished) racing games you can buy.


A perfectly solid trophy list, which covers a bunch of early milestones, before drawing you in for a heft dose of grind. Driving 8,000-odd miles online? Wow. Oh, and attaining gold an all licence tests again will take some doing. Shout out to the hairpin test for almost breaking me.

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