Gran Turismo Sport is more than a game and even more than a driving simulator. It is a love song to every car lover on the face of this planet. From its very beginnings on PlayStation, it has provoked a feeling in gamers that they thought they could only feel behind a wheel of a car. With every game, the line between reality and game blurred more and more. Other games tried to take its place; games that didn’t understand that Gran Turismo was more than a game. Games like Need for Speed where gamers just wanted to go as fast as possible, and Forza Motorsport where gamers just wanted driving games that felt good and cars with endless customization options. There is an audience for both of these games, however Gran Turismo fans demanded and expected more. We wanted to be one with the machine. We needed to know what our car was capable of and it became an extension of ourselves. We demanded realism, so much so that actual players have since become pro race car drivers. This is what we expect from Gran Turismo, and Gran Turismo Sport is no exception.
When you first get into Gran Turismo Sport it seems empty, at least compared to a standard Gran Turismo game. This is true, however, the more you move through tutorials and license tests you discover that Sport is trying to do something different. This game isn’t about acquiring cars or progressing through a campaign, it’s about competition. Most racing games, much like fighting games, have a very steep skill gap. This usually deters most gamers from becoming competitive. You will get through the campaign and try your hand online only to be slaughtered. However, in Gran Turismo Sport, they have implemented a new matchmaking system based on the license you have and wins. This means the races are fair and fun. They have even implemented a system that tracks how aggressive of a driver you are, so if you like to run cars off the track you will get a taste of your own medicine as matchmaking pairs you with drivers of the same mentality.
The driving feels better than ever. Gran Turismo has always strived for realism before everything else, and that did not change with the focus shifting to multiplayer. Other franchises like Need for Speed and Forza Horizon lean toward more the arcadey feel, while franchises like Project CARS and Forza Motorsport cater to an audience that wants more of a 1v1 experience. However, no other game seems to take it as far as Gran Turismo on consoles. This is the closest you will get to driving one of these luxurious cars outside of the real thing. Although, with the added support of PlayStation VR it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.
PSVR is a no-brainer for Gran Turismo Sport. You can tell that PSVR is more of an added mode onto the game. However, I would be completely shocked if it wasn’t a standard feature in the future. It feels amazing to slip on the headset and grip the racing wheel. Reality virtually disappears as you find yourself inside of this amazing world. It’s only one-on-one races and offline only, but, with better hardware and headsets, this is going to be the definitive way to play racing games in the near future.
All in all, Gran Turismo Sport didn’t deliver the Gran Turismo experience I’m used to, but that isn’t a bad thing. I’ve explored parts of Gran Turismo I’ve never touched in previous games and had a brand new set of goals. Instead of collecting as many cars as I could, I wanted to master all the cars I owned. This is a new feeling from the only racing game I’ve ever really liked. Polyphony somehow refocused me without taking any of the elements away that I loved. They recognized that their fans cared about the realism of the game above all else and gave a new experience inside of that. If you are a Gran Turismo fan and haven’t purchased Gran Turismo Sport, you’re doing it wrong. With Gran Turismo 7 still a ways off, you might as well spin your tires in a great Gran Turismo game with a different focus.