Gran Turismo Sport, also known as GT Sport is the latest in the series and the first one to land on PS4. While it is one of the most stunning games on the PlayStation 4, it, unfortunately, falls flat on a few levels. With just over one hundred cars and a limited selection of modes to play through, and given that you need a constant online connection for it, GT Sport feels like it was created for a different age of gamers, one that has already passed. It plays like a dream, without a doubt, but its long development process has delivered an empty package that is more a benchmark to the power of the PS4 Pro with HDR than anything else.
Perhaps I am being biased but after playing and reviewing the wave of racing games in the past few months like the difficult Project CARS 2, and the roster-packed Forza Motorsport 7, GT Sport feels like an empty shell of a game. Sure it will make PlayStation fans happy as they can push the limit of the console and TV if they are geared up with the best, but its a fraction of the content found in other racing games on the market.
Racing is better than ever, it is not too hard to master, it's a decent driving simulator and the sheer amount of attention to detail in every aspect of the game is astounding. GT Sport is missing quite a lot, but what it does have makes it a great racer, bar the lack of cars and modes. Polyphony is determined to make sure that GT Sport remained as polished and professional as all games in the past and they did a great job. At the same time, it feels as if that direction kind of held them back in a way from building the biggest and best GT game in the series.
Every car in GT Sport feels and sounds as realistic as possible and it slowly pulls you into the track when the start-up sound for the engine of the car you are using graces your loading screen as you wait for the race. The same polish and precision is taken from that and evolved onto the track too. Driving is flawless while at the same time never being too harsh, as was the issue I had with Project CARS 2. The feeling of the car, the weight distribution as you turn a bend, the overall traction and control you have has never been better before. If anything, GT Sport has hands down the best-polished racing experience I have played in three generations of gaming.
If a racing game has good racing mechanics then it wins, right? Not really, as GT Sport's stripped gameplay means that the best part about the game is only useful when you find a mode you want to play. There is no single player mode unless you count the Advanced Driving School as a dedicated mode. Instead of a career to get through and ranks to climb up, GT Sport throws you into a series of driving sessions with specific objectives. These start off easy and pretty boring like stopping the car right before the line within a set amount of time, and then, later on, get more challenging like longer turns and mastering the car's control.
By the time I finished all the sessions I was truly a master at the game, so it does indeed prep you pretty well for what is ahead. The selection of objectives all range from bronze, silver, to gold and they all reward XP, cash, and contribute to your daily milestone target that asks you to drive a certain length each day in exchange for credits. There are three main modes to play in this Driving School campaign and each of them offers a wide understanding of each car, the track, and of course the way it all comes together to produce something masterful.
If you are playing single player then the normal game modes are there to choose from. You can create a custom race, use any car in a time trial, or just mess around on a track and master its bends and turns for the big leagues, but the game's focus is clearly on its online modes and community. A large portion of the game is all about the online aspect with two officially sanctioned cups, and a strong emphasis on clubs and tournaments. This PvP mode is the game's core and it provides a solid online racing experience that spans across daily races taking place and tournaments that will begin on 3 November 2017.
A daily race sees you participate in a qualifier and then if you successfully make the cut you will be slotted into a race later that day against real people. This way the game assures you that you have to be around to race, and delivers a solid lobby filled with people to respectfully race beside. Once a race is on it goes off without a hitch and that is probably thanks to the Sportsmanship Rating that the game has introduced. We saw this in the beta a few months ago and I am glad it made it to the final release. This rating is placed beside your PSN ID and everyone can see it. Be an idiot on the track and everyone will know about it, but be a good guy and everyone will love you and you will be rewarded for clean races and fair sportsmanship.
The issue is that the game needs a lesson in discrimination, as often I was penalized for being a good racer when another player drove into me. Somehow the game needs to know who was at fault during the accident as it does not do that right now, rather just slams both with negative ratings. It is also hard to avoid being smashed into on some tracks too, and the game penalizes you regardless of how tight a corner is and the fact that you have 20 plus people trying to turn it. The system is great, but it needs some polish to determine what is really warrants a strike and what does not.
Tracks are great too and the wide range of them makes them seems like a greater content pack than the car roster. Each of them is beautiful to experience and have their set time of day you can race on but other than that don't expect anything close to dynamic weather effects or anything as deeply detailed as Project CARS 2. I loved going through the list and speeding away on all 17 locations split up into over 40 different variations of each track. The tracks go from Japan, to the UK, and even North and South America.
Where the car roster lacks in content, the tracks make up for it but to be honest it should have been the other way around. The car roster is a serious letdown and you can pump all the GT Vision concept cars into the game you want, but the fact that they all cost a million credits and above makes no sense at all. The game has just shy of 160 cars with many of the brands featuring even one of their lineup vehicles. BMW has a i3 but no i8, Mini has one concept car, and the same can be said for the other 30 brands. It is just not ideal at all and a huge missed opportunity to bring a great roster of cars into a great-looking game.
For those cars that you want to show off, you then have the Scapes mode that lets you place vehicles into real photos and position them as if they were in the real world itself. This is a great way to show off the game's beauty and the images all resonate with every car in full detail. The light from the sunset in the distance reflected off the bonnet of my Clio, and the shadows of the trees were all cast on the back of my Benz. I could literally sit for hours and take pictures and the amount of pre-set images to choose from is fantastic.
The bad news is that GT Sport is nothing without its internet connection, as in you cannot do anything without being online. Arcade Mode is the only mode that works offline and even then it is half the fun as rewards and overall progress in the game is barred by its offline limitations. Last but not least is the VR portion of the game. Now after playing DriveClub VR, I vowed never to try another racing VR game ever again and I am happy I gave GT Sport a try. While it lacks in visuals, it feels a lot more stable than other racing games on the market that support VR. It is a nice way to experience the game without a doubt and the motion sickness did not come on too strong. It was the little details like the driver moving to your head position and the HUD being on the dashboard that was all quality of life changes.
GT Sport is a stunning game with quite a presence in the market but its poor car roster and its strictly online mode left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure, I will head back in and try out the tournaments, but chances of me working my clutch control off to unlock one of the cars in the limited and disappointing car roster are next to none. There is an excellent racing game to be had here but it is limited to how long you last with the content on offer.
Available On: PS4 | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro Release Date: 18 October 2017 | RRP:R899
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