Check out the published version of this review on Sports Gamers Online
For over four years, racing fans have been anxiously awaiting the latest installment in the Gran Turismo franchise. The wait is over. Gran Turismo Sport has finally arrived.
Gran Turismo Sport Review
Gran Turismo Sport is easily the most realistic racing simulation game to date. The PlayStation 4 exclusive offers something for everyone. This includes the casual and hardcore fans of the racing genre. The game introduces new game modes. Most notably, being the PlayStation VR Tour.
However, an overhaul to Gran Turismo’s Campaign mode plus a focus on the online racing community makes this title perhaps the most competitive to date.
As is always with Gran Turismo titles, you’re given a starter vehicle to get your career moving. I was happy to see that my first gift car was a sporty 2015 Honda Civic Type R. It gave me instant hope for the game’s overall depth.
The first time you enter the main menu, Gran Tursimo Sport will suggest that you attend driving school. If you don’t feel like jumping right into Driving School, you can go back and play it later as it is available under the Campaign game mode menu. However, whether you’re a seasoned vet or just beginning your career, I recommend checking out Driving School. If for no other reason, do it to at least familiarize yourself with the feel of the cars, the controls and the overall visual feedback, such as camera angles.
Credits, Points & Challenges
Prize Credits are earned from playing and used for buying new cars. The more you play the more you earn.
Distance challenges are daily targets such as Driving Marathon (26.21 mi or 42.195km).
Experience points will increase your level and you’ll unlock new tracks in arcade mode as you move through driver levels.
Mileage Points are awarded per vehicle. They reflect how far you’ve driven in a particular car. You can exchange those points for accessories and other items that suit your vehicle. Decals, customized helmets, unique wheels and more can be equipped to your vehicle in exchange for mileage points.
I found the points and credits system in Gran Turismo Sport fair because it allows you to level up and earn points based on your performance and race type. Based on the amount of time you spend playing and distance you drive while racing, you hit daily mileage targets, gain experience points and earn individual vehicle mileage points.
One of my favorite aspects to the pre-race are the Driving Options. These set of options allow you to change your car’s equipment and features based on things such as the race’s terrain. You can also look at your event’s overview and see what the event goals, challenges and disqualifications.
Furthermore, you can also go straight to Select Event and choose a new event or replay a prior event in that challenge. One of the best features of the pre-race menu is the Leaderboard. You can compare your stats and times against other players in the GT Sportonline community.
Perhaps the most useful pre-race tool is the addition of the Official YouTube Tutorial Videos. The videos take you through successfully completing the challenge using a video made by the development team on GT Sport. For time trial challenges, such as those found in Driving School or Campaign mode, the new videos show you the best and most efficient ways to perform the driving maneuvers.
If you follow the advice in the videos, you’ll have a good chance of unlocking the Gold trophy and earning the highest possible amount of points.
Brand Central is your marketplace for buying new vehicles with your Prize Credits. The menu allows you to navigate to various countries and view specific manufacturer models. For example, in the United States you can browse vehicles made by popular manufacturers like Ford, Chevy and Dodge.
I found this area of the game somewhat disappointing. In prior Gran Turismo titles, the game gives a confirmation before a purchase. However, GT Sport just adds the vehicle to your garage given you have the available credits. My first purchase in Brand Central was the Chevy Camaro for roughly 25,000 credits, nearly half of all my available credits.
Again, even if you’re not the biggest fan of the racing genre, you’re likely to find at least one area or aspect of the game that you can enjoy. Every manufacturer in GT Sport has their own Channel and Museum in their Brand’s menu.
Brand Channels allow you to view informational behind-the-scenes videos and footage from that manufacturer. A Brand’s museum is similar to its Channel in that it gives players a glimpse into the history and tradition behind certain popular models.
I agree with many GT enthusiasts in that the selection of older, vintage models of our favorite cars simply aren’t available. How great would it be to climb behind the wheel of a ’65 Mustang or ’68 Charger? The inclusion of vintage cars would certainly lend a much more realistic feel to the game.
Liveries refer to the aesthetic appearance and style of your various cars, helmets, and racing suits. Here, you can fully customize a car’s appearance including decals, logos, numbers and colors. You can even visit gran-turismo.com and upload your own SVG files which you can then use to customize your car with personal decals and customized logos. If you want some ideas on creatively using your Liveries, head over to the GT Sportcommunity’s shared content area of the My Menu screen.
The Game Modes
Truly for the creator at heart, Scapes allows you to take your vehicle through cool landscapes and different scenery in order to capture custom pictures and images that you can share with the GT Sport community.
I found this aspect of the game incredibly interesting and unique. Capturing screenshots and videos have become increasingly popular and GT Sport takes it to another level. Scapes gives you the ability to actually set up your own photo-shoot complete with your choice of scenery, background and vehicle.
Furthermore, players can customize where the car is place in the scene. Additionally, you have the ability to manipulate different functions of the vehicle to your liking. The camera also has option and settings like exposure and contrast.
Driving School tweaks according to your skill level. This really does help if you’re new to racing games. Since this is the first title released in nearly four years, it might be wise t check out the new features of GT Sport using Driving School.
I went here first because I just can’t help myself and I have to go where the game tells me to go first. You’re taken through the various control schemes the select a preference. You can always change them from the Options menu from the My Menu screen. The driving school also gets you started with some points. After your first eight completed lessons, you get another gift car. I was given the Alfa Romeo.
Mission Challenge is pretty standard to the Gran Turismo series. You’ll complete missions to earn points, experience, and unlock cars. You start out pretty slow in terms of difficulty. There are a lot of missions. The mission challenges alone will definitely keep you busy in Gran Turismo Sport.
Circuit Experience is fairly new to GT Sport. In this game mode, your goal is to master certain racetracks. You do this by completing the tracks in sections. For example, turn 1 through turn 3, with certain time trials for gold, silver, or bronze trophies at stake. You’ll eventually race through the entire track at one time in an attempt to “master” that track.
I found this game mode incredibly challenging and fun at the same time. Knowing “how” to drive and navigate your racetracks is crucial to your success in GT Sport. So, playing Circuit Experience is a great way to truly master your racetracks.
GT Sport’s Arcade game mode is where you’ll find options for quick races, events, or time trials. You can choose to simply enter a Single Race or try to beat your best time in Time Trial or Drift Trial.
In Arcade game mode, there’s an option to create your own Custom Race. Custom Races are rated by difficulty. The higher the difficulty, the better the payout at the end of the race. Using a system that is based on several factors and racing conditions like distance, terrain and the number of other competitors, GT Sport allows you to design a race that is tailored specifically to your liking.
The GT Sport VR Tour is certainly the most revolutionary aspect of the new title. Of course, you must have the PSVR equipment to play this game mode. Regardless, VR Tour can potentially revolutionize the way racing simulation games are played for years to come.
Sport Mode (online)
Sport mode is GT Sport’s online racing simulation game mode. Before you can hit the online racing community, you must watch the Racing Etiquette video on Sportsmanship.
I was glad to see that GT Sport required players to undergo some type of training or challenge before hitting the online races. However, watching the video isn’t really what I had in mind. And yes, you must watch the entirety of the videos for them to count as completed. You will receive a gift car once you’ve finished both of the etiquette videos. It is a nice added bonus to gaining online access.
In Sport Mode, you’ll receive certain grades for particular ratings. Your DR grade, or Driver Rating, tells other players how fast you are. Your SR, or Sportsmanship Rating, is an indication of your sportsmanlike behavior when racing against others. Driving recklessly decreases your SR while driving clean increases your SR. You also have daily races available in Sport Mode.
These are daily competitions that are official online races. You’ll be matched against other drivers who are similar to your skill level. Daily races have a big effect on your DR and SR ratings. So approach these races seriously. Last, Sport mode also offers various Championships that are essentially multi-round competitions with the best of the best in GT Sport online.
At first, I was unsure of the daily races, but I found they are a great way to boost ratings and get great practice in an online environment. Multiple daily races will be available each day. You can actually choose from three types and can replay some of those races in an attempt to better your time or increase your standing.
Races are all designed for every player to use the same car from make, model, to year with the exception of choosing your own color. The only opportunity you get to customize your daily race vehicle comes in the pre-race options screen where you can adjust your technical specs such as differential settings, tire softness and traction.
Gran Turismo Sport certainly delivers in terms of pure simulation racing gameplay and overall experience. I feel some aspects of the Scapes mode such as creating a quick capture and neat image could be less confusing. Nonetheless, GT Sport is certainly at the top of the mountain when it comes to racing simulation.
The global community of online race enthusiasts coupled with an emphasis on the online Sport game mode lends a feeling of competitive spirit to this edition of Gran Turismo.
Want to talk sports and/or games with the fastest growing community in gaming? Join the conversation by registering at the official Sports Gamers Online Forums, and check out our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Note: A copy of Gran Turismo Sport was provided to SGO by Sony Entertainment for the purposes of this review
Article by Matthew Sherdan