REVIEW – Gran Turismo Sport starts after many years since its last delivery and with its first foray into PS4. A long development that completely changes the game philosophy, leading to a new trend online and giving up other content along the way. What is the result at the end of the last lap? Check it out in our review!
Even without having followed the current news of Gran Turismo Sport, you will soon discover the new philosophy of Polyphony’s latest work: the online competition. Beyond your daily events, your agreements with the FIA to become a professional pilot through eSports, your obligation to be always connected to save your progress, GT Sport wants you to understand what it means to compete.
Be a gentleman! (Or a “gentledriver”…)
The first time you try to find a room for this, either through the search for private games or the officials of the Sport category, you will see a blocked lock, which urges you to get the diploma in Tag Racing: two videos inserted of YouTube (the game contains hundreds of them) in which it appeals to the sporting spirit based on the respect and the fun, as well as the maneuvers considered of “bad behavior”, between which they enter to take a curve, to attack the rival to brake, lean on him to turn or take him off the road. You know, all those things that you have suffered more than once in a multiplayer mode and that you have probably done on occasion.
Let me re-mark it: these videos are mandatory, and you cannot play without seeing them achieve the “certificate of the good driver.” Polyphony’s commitment to fair play seems serious. In recent years, we have seen how the bulk of the most dedicated players have emigrated to the online component, but many have faced players who have no problem in making you lose all the time dedicated to a practice, pole and race for reckless driving on the starting grid.
However, with a couple of videos, GT Sport is asking the Internet to behave well, and we are all adults enough to know … that is impossible. Therefore, the true essence of Yamauchi’s new work, which will determine the success or failure of his vision, is a symbol (two narrowed hands) and a letter (S, A, B, C, D, E), which indicates the degree of Classification of Sportsmanship in each of the tests. If you want to compete seriously, you will have to abide by the rules, decelerate in penalties or your future in online mode will not be very flattering, being reduced to the lowest categories, where everyone behaves just like you. If on the other hand, you respect the brakes and the position of the rival, you make clean sectors, and you comply with the slow times, you will rise of category, and every time you will have fewer problems to find rivals respectful.
Compete and Respect
That is the theory, because effectively, in launching a game with so much trajectory we can not predict the final result. Whether the system will be severe enough to split the player classes. However, to show a button. In one of my first online races, I was overwhelmed by a rival who played dirty. There is still a legal vacuum in some shortcuts and contacts with vehicles that can become a problem, but this time GT Sport did the homework. One of our opponents hit me in the back corner in a corner, destabilized me and went ahead. Upon reaching the final classification, I saw his name disappear from the position ahead to go to many later positions. The game not only penalized his bad behavior through the category (a punishment that we would not have seen reflected immediately) but punished him with seconds that did not comply reducing the speed thus lowering the position. Moreover, so the game fits with rules hard to ignore.
The result is a brilliant online experience, one that can be described as not just fun but serious. We know that it is neither the first nor the first, but a late rebuff of the competitors who detected this tendency long ago, as iRacing or RaceRoom. Moreover, Gran Turismo, slow in its development as four cans, has barely reached this level by sacrificing many of its signs of identity and, therefore, many of its followers. It has arrived, which is the important thing, and therefore you will have a superb online experience, within the driving style of Gran Turismo that, without being of the highest simulation, has done more than outline the response of the vehicles gaining in information of what happens on the road and with a feeling of speed greatly improved and that has often suffered.
There are divisions for all tastes. The Sport category is undoubtedly the most attractive, as it contains a series of leagues in which to compete in the official championship for drivers and brands, which has a regulated calendar and where the most professional players will meet. There is also room for serious races, regulated in circuits and random conditions that are played every twenty minutes. Here we can practice in a time trial that serves as a pole until the time of the race. A very attractive system and that seems fairly fair, although it is expected in the future a greater variety of tests throughout the day. We also have at any time the rooms, meeting places perfect to create personalized careers to compete with friends openly or privately or join others created by the community. Thanks to the filters we can find the track, condition or the group that we want. However, keep in mind that in these races there is no regulation of Classification of Sports, so they can be somewhat chaotic depending on the players you face.
Like the Sports Classification, the Driver Classification measures our victories and positions in each race and gives us a letter. In this way, we can be very good, but not very respectful and in the long run (hopefully) we can divide the community according to their skill and style of play. We only hope that the qualifying tests are more extensive since sometimes five laps (a 5-minute race) is too short and not always adequate to measure the resistance of the pilots and to ride ability, greatly influencing the best time achieved in the classification. A better balance of some vehicles is also expected, as even with the famous B.o.P. (Balance of Power) it is not difficult to find some cars benefited.
All the races we have played to perform this analysis have been disputed with no problem with the servers, at least to date. The Net Code has finished doing homework after a test with betas that did not predict the best result. However, as the last demonstration showed, we have found no trace of lag or trembling vehicles. Everything has been fluid to date. Of course, with the game on sale, we have had some sessions in which the servers were out of order and, given that Gran Turismo Sport is an “always online” game, we have been unable to save any progress, beyond enjoying of the Arcade mode. For these moments it helps the mode to Split Screen, whose inclusion is always to be appreciated.
Renewed or die?
Campaign mode hides more than it seems. At first, it may seem like a tutorial. Well, the best tutorial you will find in a racing game, full of tests that teach you everything you need to know to stop making mistakes and move to another more competitive level. Afterwards, you will go through a series of challenges that are growing. A series of missions that, although they seem short and simple, measure your skill at the wheel and become true tests of resistance, with long laps, marathons, gasoline management, etc. Not being presented as a championship in which to progress, with its interface, its careers and divisions, highlights little, but does not remove that many players are disappointed with the offline content offered by the product, as compared to GT modes of previous deliveries, you can see where Polyphony had the target.
The GT Sport Campaign mode is the least spectacular (by far) of all modes for a recent gaming player, but it is the most didactic by far. From the Driving School, you will learn exactly how your vehicle behaves and how to control the brake, accelerator, understeer, oversteer, and counter-wheel, for example. The Mission Challenges cover everything you need to face online, learning to advance properly, in what stretch, to use the rebuff and accelerate braking, while Circuit Experience segment each of the 22 tracks to gradually master and perfect your technique. All this accompanied by numerous YouTube video tutorials integrated into the menu that teach you the techniques, speeds, braking moments to debug the style, while you unlock new cars of the 162 vehicles that make up his scrawny list.
The Arcade mode returns, the only content that can be enjoyed without an Internet connection, perfect for time trials or individual races against AI. The artificial intelligence of Gran Turismo has never been characterized by its aggressiveness, and in this new delivery, we did not find great differences. We have not seen her put the nose on any occasion and hardly cause accidents unless we stick to her path. Collisions continue to represent minimal damages, but as I have already reiterated on more than one occasion, for a series of games where, as a general rule, an accident means abandoning the race and, considering that there are internal damages, most significant argument. The AI, however, that manages to rush something more in the straights of the accustomed and the more difficult ways will cost to reach the first positions.
A Few Good Cars
You cannot hide the shortcomings. 162 cars are insufficient. 22 tracks too. It hurts more that none of them is of category Formula and nevertheless to find abundant prototypes; or that there are few variants of each track (3 of them are velodromes) and the use of the route is used in the opposite direction. The cuts also come to climatology, because we will not find climatological effects, nor dynamic changes between hours and climate as their current competitors. All these factors weigh heavily on a game that has us accustomed to thousands of vehicles and endless clues, which dared with climatic conditions, surfaces, and disciplines when others hesitated. It does not understand its facet of Always Online, which prevents playing the Campaign Mode or buy new vehicles if you are not connected to the servers. Obviously, if the servers are down or you do not have the Internet connection available, it is understood that there are restrictions, but not accessing content that does not require a connection and whose data could be later synchronized to the server is a rather strange decision.
For all this, it is understood that many players see Gran Turismo Sport as a Prologue. A work halfway between the numbered series. It is also understood the concept of Sport, because not only is a prologue of what is to come, but an opportunity to enter the track to warm up already in the field of eSports at risk of losing the momentum of a generation well entered in years. What may not be understood so much is that, with all the time the game has been in development, we have prioritized curious but unnecessary elements, ahead of having one more clue or a handful of more cars. It is really smart to see in the background of your menu historical data about the appearance of Munch’s Scream, Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize or the launch of different editions of the Windows Operating System, but perhaps we would have preferred to be able to run with a car type Formula in Francorchamps. However, thanks to a very useful HUD for better visualization of the gear change and other parameters.
Without reproaches for some of the most successful repetitions in the history of the genre, although they are achieved by lowering the frame rate to 30 fps in order to add extra graphics, or a photo mode that, beyond the debated images in HD in which to place your car (that look and much) manages to create its own automobile Instagram with images created by the community that is pure art. The interface, in general, is clean, although the first few hours are not too clear when it comes to finding information from your profile, buying cars or changing it. In fact, we have had enough problems to be able to compare cars of the same category due to the absence of filters. The cherry is put on the Traction Control, which for some strange reason must be manually deactivated in all tests and races.
As it was ahead, the driving of Gran Turismo Sport feels familiar to the brand but receiving a great response of what happens in the race and with an improved sense of speed. With a steering wheel between the hands, the feedback of the wheels is clear and the cars we have been able to test so far respond in very different ways. Force Feedback, while reliable and adequately represents centrifugal forces, tends to be hard. In general, the understeer is rightly corrected, although with the traction control at 0 it can be somewhat difficult to rescue the car from oversteer. In practically all the tests that we have done without including Rally, to correct a bad oversteering is a very complicated task. As usual, a small acceleration at the inappropriate time punishes properly.
If you like a challenge can be extremely enjoyable in Expert mode with the assists disabled. The control with the gamepad is a little more complicated in this mode, and although it is possible to enjoy it with a pad, we miss the precision if we want to play in its most realistic slope. We can not say the same thing about earth surfaces. The last demo already left us with a feeling of frustration, with a clue that seemed more like ice than gravel. In the final version and thanks to Force Feedback, the sensations are somewhat better, but they are still not enough to enjoy this modality which I believe has much work to do and far from being plausible, it also becomes frankly complicated.
There has been a discrepancy of opinions regarding the graphics section of Gran Turismo Sport, but the truth is that my races have always been spectacular in technical terms. A contagious softness and good image quality even on a standard PlayStation 4. It is true that the chosen tracks do not leave many places to show off, having lost some of the most impactful circuits along the way, but all this has a trick. GT Sport does not contain any climatology or dynamic lighting since time does not vary, so it is easier to use a static light-mapping to bathe each of the tracks at certain times of the day, to the taste of the consumer.
In a PS4 Pro, the game gives you the option of scaling the native resolution from 2K to 4K by checkerboard for better image quality or favoring the image frequency. The truth is that the change between modalities is almost invaluable to the untrained eye and we have opted for a better sampling to make sure we have the best response in the steering wheel. With compatible televisions, the game makes use of the HDR to achieve a very appreciable color dynamics in the backlights, cloudy skies and, among other things, to get that Ferrari red with which Yamauchi is so obsessed. Vehicles are modeled with a staggering degree of fidelity and using Photo mode with real backgrounds will cost you to believe that it is a 3D model. Moreover, it is that one of the philosophies of this Gran Turismo was to realize all the “Premium” cars, without relying on old models or making a differentiation between them. Something that has certainly helped to lower the final number of vehicles available.
We are grateful for the great change presented by the sound section, one of the outstanding subjects of the brand, which now achieves excellent results by reliably replicating each of the engines to different teams and models. Only a few effects, such as wheel braking, may seem somewhat more padded than normal and could achieve even more credibility. It is accompanied with a complete soundtrack, varied and extensive that fuses perfectly with the track and also accompanies each menu, something that was missed in recent years with realistic driving games, in which the soundtracks have been each more generic.
I do not want to forget about the experience in virtual reality either. GT Sport is compatible with PlayStation VR. The feeling with the glasses on is very gratifying. In the same way as other titles such as Project Cars 2 that we have been able to test in VR, the sense of perspective of the circuit inside the cabin is perfect, better measuring the distances in the closed curves, expanding the peripheral vision and helping in the reference for the braking. Unfortunately, there is also bad news, and despite the abundance of Yamauchi’s statements in support of virtual reality, we can only compete in predefined races against another vehicle controlled by AI in all circuits, which means that we can not nor to personalize them, nor to play the Campaign nor, more importantly, in Online mode, where we could truly take advantage of the experience.
The new vision of Gran Turismo is like the famous Nurburgring circuit. An incredibly complex, long, ambitious and exhausting racetrack are containing a small southern section and a larger northern section. GT Sport is that small stretch, more Grand Prix, measured and well recreated, while a future Gran Turismo 7, with the usual abundance of campaign content, vehicles, tracks, and weather, will become the famous Nordschleife. For players who want to leap online, but do not dare with closed calendars, monthly or annual fees, or the pre-payment of more circuits and vehicles of an iRacing, GT Sport is a way to get into electronic sports and serious and respectful competition. As we said, we can not fully judge the online until well into the season, but what has seen so far convinces and much, achieving long the best multiplayer experience in the console. Once we master all your circuits and most types of vehicles, the question is how long that conviction will last.
+ Great feeling behind the wheel with a very good driving response
+ The online mode: all the options for those looking for a serious and fun competition
+ Very stable Net Code and good regulation of Sport Behavior
– Scarce variety of vehicles and tracks
– There is no weather or transitions between hour or day/night
– Rally tests on gravel circuits are not very successful
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Genre: Car simulation
Release date: October 17, 2017