If you are anything like me, the name Gran Turismo brings you a warm wave of nostalgia. The series has been the iconic racer for so many, for nearly 20 years. This year the latest release, Gran Turismo Sport has finally been released, and it’s different.
Gran Turismo Sport brings a different feel to the series. Where the series has previously had a strong single player campaign, Sport seems to be geared towards multiplayer. This is exemplified at its most with the campaign mode which basically consists of training.
First there is the Driving School mode, which under different names such as licences, is a staple of the series. It basically consists of challenges which teach you the more complex skills and manoeuvres required to master the game. Each of these have a bronze, silver and gold award, and with them being seconds away from each other it is super easy to get stuck trying to slightly bat your previous score.
This loop is greatly assisted thanks to its use of ghosts, which come with their own frustrations too. Every time you finish a challenge attempt it resets the ghost to you last attempt. It’s useful actively racing against your last attempt, except when you let someone else try and they completely screw up the ghost of your best time.
Then the next Campaign mode is Mission Challenge. Mission challenges vary from having to rank in a certain place, beating times, knocking over cones, stopping for gas in the pitstop and then win a race. It feels like an extension to the Driving School mode, and gets genuinely hard, quickly.
Circuit Experience is the last Campaign mode which basically has challenges for each of the tracks in the game. The first few are pieces of the track, such as especially hard cornering segments, then finishing with a time trial for the whole track. This is a valuable addition to the game as it does let you master the tracks in a frustratingly entertaining way.
The theme of the campaign modes is that they basically are about training you up as a racer, as opposed to a normal single player campaign. There is enough content here with the addition of an arcade mode to justify the investment, but it is worth noting that it will feel different to racing games, and the others in this series. There are murmurs of a more traditional campaign coming, but I can’t comment on that as it isn’t here as of the writing of this review.
The game penalises you for poor racing, whether it’s going off the track or bumping into other cars. This makes a lot of sense, even more so when it explains racing etiquette in some training videos, but it can be frustrating. Occasionally I would be bumped by another car when I was on track for getting my new record, and would be given an annoying time penalty.
Arcade mode is what should be expected from an arcade mode, you can customise and enjoy the races. Then there is multiplayer, which has more of this, but against real players, and forewarning, they can be talented. I never had issues getting into a race, but not losing one, that wasn’t so easy.
The game also has PSVR functionality which lets you view a car in VR, which was dull, and basically arcade mode which was far more exciting. The game looks as good as a racing game can in PSVR at this stage. The car interior looked great, the race course looked OK, and the horizon looked great. Unfortunately, the field of view was a little short in the rear-view mirror, so I regularly saw things disappear into the grey, which out of VR isn’t noticeable, but I kept noticing it in VR.
8/10 – Gran Turismo Sport doesn’t feel like a traditional Gran Turismo, or a traditional racer for that part, and I respect it for that. It’s different, but fun, looks wonderful and has a solid VR offering inside. Except for some flaws, it is certainly a worthy investment for most PS4 owners.