Gran Turismo 7 Review (PS5): A Love Letter to the Automotive World

Gran Turismo 7 key art 14 photos
Photo: Polyphony Digital
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The first thing that I was allowed to do when I booted up Gran Turismo 7 after installing it was to play through the “music rally” arcade mode, and I was content with just playing that for the rest of my life. You’re driving on a 5.5-mile-long track while listening to groovy tunes and trying to make it to the end.
The track is populated with checkpoints that add a few more dozen seconds to your time so that you can continue to drive. When the time’s up, your race ends, but if you manage to get past a certain threshold, you’re allowed to move to the next track that has a different music playlist.

Of course, that’s just the appetizer, the main course comes after a 15-minute introductory video that goes through the automotive history and can’t be skipped. It’s Polyphony Digital’s way to say that you might want to buckle up for the ride of your life.

One word that comes to mind can describe the Gran Turismo 7 experience: contemplative. From the moment you fire up the game, you’re hit with a sense of calmness and nostalgia. The first “serious” task you’re supposed to undertake is getting your driving license, and while this is just an opportunity for the game to make you comfortable with some of the more important drive mechanics, it’s certainly something that you’ll be spending a lot of time if you’re as competitive as me.

To obtain a driving license, you have to achieve certain times in various races that involve breaking and stopping the car in a certain spot or getting to a finish line as fast as possible. Just like in the previous Gran Turismo games, you are rewarded with bronze, silver, or gold cups at the end of each race. The first suite of races that culminates with you getting your first driving license is embedded in the tutorial. Times required for each exam are easy to achieve, but if you want gold for every race, you’ll spend a little more time.

Make no mistake, though; you’ll be racing in these license challenges quite a few times throughout the game. They are meant to gate the content, so every time you take on one of these license challenges, you unlock new content, which is why they’re usually not meant to be hard.

Gran Turismo 7 screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
One aspect of the game that I found weird is the café, the go-to location for all quest-related content. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely chill and cozy in there, but the fact that you get your next objective via a restaurant menu it’s a bit bizarre. Missions in Gran Turismo 7 usually involve racing on certain tracks or collecting a certain set of cars.

In Gran Turismo 7, your main objective, besides having fun, is to collect as many cars as you can and believe me, this game has a lot of cars (over 420!) from no less than 60 manufacturers. But this is just a pretext for you to play the game and learn about the automotive industry in the process. I don’t think there’s a game that offers so much historically accurate information about cars.

Each car included in the game comes not just with all its technical specs but also with a little bit of history. Even if you’re not really interested in every car’s history, you know the information is there, and you can access it whenever you feel like.

My next step after the café is the used car dealerships, one of the places where you can purchase anything that you’d like to add to your garage roster. There are a couple of other hubs that you can visit while you’re not racing, such as the garage where you can fine-tune your cars and customize them.

Gran Turismo 7 screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
I’m pretty sure that Gran Turismo fans are acquainted with the series’ focus on hyper-realistic driving, and the newest entry in the franchise is no exception. What makes Gran Turismo 7 more approachable in comparison with other race simulators is that it allows players to tinker with a bucketload of settings to tailor their driving experience. You want to let the AI handle brakes in certain areas of the circuit? There’s a setting for that. You want to alter some or more driving mechanics or maybe let the autopilot take care of these? You can certainly do that from the difficulty settings.

Above all else, Gran Turismo 7 offers an immersive driving experience, and while this might sound like a platitude, it really doesn’t have a rival when it comes to the use of 3D audio, haptic feedback, and the PlayStation 5’s processing power. The folks at Polyphony Digital went all-in on the “immersion” aspect to the point that they have used the DualSense controller to simulate road conditions, understeering, sliding, and even the weather.


Gran Turismo 7 is more than just a racing simulator; but it can be if you want to. Polyphony Digital’s game is a love letter to the automotive industry and to all those who love an undiluted, genuine driving experience. I think this is the first game that tries to cater not just to racing games fans but also to those that are passionate about cars in general.

With a stunning presentation and a chill campaign that bets heavily on nostalgia, Gran Turismo 7 opens a new door for the racing games genre that involves a more educational aspect. If you love driving, racing or simply just reading about cars in general, Gran Turismo 7 is the perfect tool to satisfy all your automotive-related dreams.

Rating: 85/100

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Editor's note: Review based on a copy of the game purchased by autoevolution.


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