'Gran Turismo Sport' game review: All about online play
“Gran Turismo Sport,” the seventh installment of the go-to race simulator for PlayStation 4, is on sale now at all of your local retailers. We’ve been playing the beta for a few months now, but this week, the full game is finally here.
We only had sport mode to judge so far, but with the full release, we can now play with both the campaign and arcade modes, as well as check out all of the cars and tracks. Well, not exactly all of them — they have to be unlocked through that campaign mode.
As with previous entries, “GT Sport” starts with a compelling movie-style intro with old racing footage and a melodic score that gets the player hyped up to drive. The first name on the screen is the man himself, “Directed by: Kazunori Yamauchi.” It reminds us of the latest “Metal Gear” game in that way with plenty of cinematic shots as if you’re beginning a feature-length film.
We’ll start with campaign mode. Unlike previous games, “GT Sport” is all about online play. Where old campaign modes took you through the racing classes to locations around the world, in this game, the campaign is a bunch of mini goals to sort through, including driving school, mission challenge and circuit experience.
Driving school is self-explanatory: The player goes through 20 or so accelerating, braking and turning exercises with gold, silver and bronze achievements on each. Mission select puts you in the driver seat midrace with a goal of passing a certain number of cars, hitting a top speed or target time. Circuit experience takes you track to track, with objectives like completing a selection of turns, or burning a full hot lap for a good time.
We went through a good bit of the campaign mode in one night, which seems a little easy. On old “GT” titles, the driving school was one of the harder bits to complete. We only got through the early stages, though. We’d assume it’ll get harder as you pass the levels.
In arcade mode, the player has to pick a car and track — some are locked — and then get some AI competitors either in the same exact car or the same class. All of these difficulty and driving options can be changed from the menu, but it looks a little lighter than the last game.
Sport mode is the game’s bread and butter. That’s where you race a group online on a predetermined track for driver points, etiquette points and credits. Driver points show how much you win while etiquette points tell how clean you are. That means no contact and staying on the track.
To wit: Before you even can play sport mode, you must watch two videos explaining that motorsports isn’t a contact sport, per se, and that your only job is to avoid the other cars, “even if that means you have to go off the road.”
‘Project Cars 2’ game review: Start slow
As opposed to working up through the ranks, you’ll probably want to do what I did and jump right into the highest racing levels of “Project Cars 2” — IndyCar, WEC, RallyCross, or …
“GT Sport,” like “GT6,” is a step ahead graphically and in smoothness versus the game before. The lighting effects are awesome, and the interiors, never a strong point with “GT,” are rendered comically accurately. The Ford Focus RS has that bright blue little screen in the center of the gauges while the Vision Gran Turismo cars are suitably futuristic.
In certain modes, you can pick the time of day and weather, but unlike “Forza Motorsport 7,” it doesn’t change during the race. It also doesn’t have the track or car list of “Forza,” coming in at just 162 vehicles and six real tracks along with 11 other locations in 40 different layouts.
As a PlayStation guy, I’ve been a little biased against the “Forza” series on Xbox, but I think I might be changing my tune, at least for this generation of sims. I know “Forza’s” car list, 700-plus, doesn’t alone make a simulator, but as far as longevity goes, a list like that goes a long way. No pun intended. “Forza” also has more real tracks, which is huge for me personally. I like to practice before I hit the tarmac.
If playing online versus friends and enemies is your favorite thing, then it’s a great buy; if you’re more of a campaign fan in these games, and you only have a PS4, “Project Cars 2” might be a better way to go. It has a longer racing ladder, and it features both rally and open wheel, in addition to GT-style cars. However, the “GT Sport” fan base is tens of millions strong, and I don’t think “Project Cars,” “Dirt” or “F1” can claim that. Either way, fall of 2017 will go down as possibly the greatest season for racing video games in the history of gamedom. It’s a great time to be alive!