I’m not a big fan of Gran Turismo as a game series, and certainly not Gran Turismo 7, which I see in every way as two steps back from the surprisingly entertaining Gran Turismo Sport. Gran Turismo 7 feels too old-fashioned for my taste. There’s far too much grinding in it, and I loathe that stuffy, dry old man’s pub unimaginably. The whole business of presenting cars and motorsports as if they were holy writings in a 19th-century library doesn’t work very well for me. I’m looking for something different when spending time in a virtual car these days. Something more race-like, something more substantial with more focus on real motorsport and of course I have no desire to pay £30 to unlock a car in a game I’ve already paid £60 for.
That said, polyphony has continued to polish the driving experience in Gran Turismo 7, and after working out a number of different bugs, online racing in particular in GT7 has been pretty good for the past six months. The graphics also look incredibly good, and the feeling of speed is the best in a GT game ever. Driving an Audi R8 GTE on the North Loop gives a different feeling than doing the same thing in, say, Assetto Corsa. There is clearly more speed in Polyphony’s latest work, and if you reduce the field of view settings in almost any other racing simulator, there is not much that Gran Turismo 7 can match.
As of just over a day ago, GT7 now has full PS VR2 support, and we’re talking about the entire game, in VR. Forget those few, fast, content-less VR races that were a very limited part of Gran Turismo Sport (and PSVR), here, as I said, it’s perfectly possible to drive through every millimeter of Yamauchi’s latest homage to the car, with Sony’s new plastic headset on your head. And it works really, really well.
I’ve been doing some racing in VR. The best until a few days ago, in my opinion, was Automobilista 2, whose VR support in rounds has been praised by many a speed-mad gamer. Codemasters’ absolutely brilliant rally simulator Dirt Rally 2.0 also has good VR support, as do Assetto Corsa, iRacing and Raceroom. However, none of these can compete with the VR support and how well it is implemented in Gran Turismo 7, and of course Polyphony should get a lot of credit for that.
GT7 on PS VR2 is a fantastic experience from the moment you start. The feeling of total immersion when I jump into my Ferrari F40 in my very first race with my helmet on is really something that every racing fan should experience. We knew two years ago that Polyphony spent more time on the interior of the cars in GT7 than almost any other developer in this genre, but it’s only now, in my opinion, that it’s really coming into its own, as I sit there, I can bend down to peek at the steering wheel materials and dashboard buttons. The plastic looks like plastic, the carbon fiber looks like carbon fiber, and there is a sense of depth here that I don’t think any other game can compete with in the racing genre. The distance between me and the steering wheel, between the steering wheel and the windshield, between the windshield and the hood, and between the front lights and the road, it’s all so convincing and well-tuned that I get sucked in and can’t help but be amazed several times during my first three races.
Of course there are a few minor concerns about the scaling I might add. My hands and legs/feet feel very small, but presumably they are modeled after a Japanese driver and not a two-foot tall old man from northern Sweden, so the only minor complaint I have here should just be ignored. There is sharpness, sharpness, depth and a fluidity in the image that the PS VR2 offers, making Gran Turismo 7, in my opinion, the perfect game to initially test your newly purchased PS VR2 with. For it is not Horizon: Call of the Mountain or Resident Evil: Village that is the “killer app” of the new VR headset is… It’s Gran Turismo 7.