First Impressions: Gran Turismo Sport

First Impressions: Gran Turismo Sport

It’s not a secret that I like racing games in general and I’ve always been a fan of the Gran Turismo series in particular, but with solid entries in the genre from titles like F1 2017, Forza Horizon 7, Assetto Corsa, and Project CARS 2, there’s a lot to compete with, even for such a storied series.

So, a pretty big patch (v1.02 12 GB) was released last night, right before the game launched, that made some pretty big changes. Also, the game was running off of the Beta servers until the last night as well. Because of these factors, and the fact that we didn’t get it until last Thursday, I’m not posting an actual review until next week at the earliest.

For full transparency, this game was provided to us by Sony for review purposes. It’s been played by me on both a Standard and PS4 Pro. I’ve played both in 1080P with no HDR, and in 4K with full HDR. All screenshots were taken by me using the PS4 Share function, or the in-game “Photo Mode”. Installed with the extra “Scapes Pack”, the game is 70.06 GB on the hard drive.

Negatives:
There’s no opportunity to upgrade parts on cars as in the past. You can still tweak your car like crazy though.

You can adjust your brake balance, change the tires, adjust the suspension, adjust the aerodynamics (downforce), switch to a fully adjustable transmission and tweak each gear, and switch to an adjustable limited slip differential to tweak torque and sensitivity as well.

Even cooler, for beginners especially, is that they also offer two different Quick Tune options to adjust ‘Power Ratio’ and ‘Weight Reduction Ratio’ at the cost of Mileage Points that you earn by racing. I’m actually okay with this, because it keeps me from spending a good portion of my earned credits on specific parts, and you get a similar result to what you could do in the past games from the series.

There are no weather effects beside clouds. There actually IS rain in at least one of the later challenges in the Career Mode. This is mainly a minus because other games are offering extended weather like rain etc.

Personally it doesn’t bother me much, but I get why it’s a big deal to a lot of people. Patch notes mention adding car data for Rain, so there’s that.

Car damage is still pretty limited, but it does happen. It just doesn’t go far enough in terms of realistic performance limitations from huge hits so far but I have a feeling this is coming in the future. If you setup a Custom Race in Arcade Mode, you can set Mechanical Damage to ‘None’, ‘Light’, or ‘Heavy’, but I haven’t been able to test those out yet.

They’ve evolved your driver’s career and how you progress but it’s not a GP Mode anymore, so it won’t feel familiar to GT fans, but I actually like what they’ve done. Instead of attaining license levels, progression is essentially based on XP, Miles driven, and in-game credit.

So instead of finishing license challenges for progression, you now move through Arcade Mode and the challenges in Career Mode instead. This gives you a lot more freedom instead of a linear path to higher levels. You’re not “creating a driver”, but instead, you ARE that driver, and you’re still trying to earn what’s needed to move up the ladder.

Some tracks and variations are locked until you reach a certain level, but it’s not bad at all. I only have a handful that I still need to unlock, and I haven’t been annoyed by that at all.

Sometimes the game likes to put you in an awkward situation in a rolling start, like bringing you into a huge, sweeping turn that requires you to slam on the brakes once you get control. I hope they can address that issue somehow.

Because GT fans are used to something different, the amount of cars available feels light, and we already know that Super GP, “Classic Cars” and more are coming via DLC at some point. But it feels like we’re going to be purchasing a lot of car and track packs in the future.

Positives:
The visuals are stunning, which is admirable in a time where both Project CARS 2 and Forza Motorsport 7 have already hit. I like the visuals in both of those quite a bit.

Even on a standard PS4 without HDR, Gran Turismo Sport shines in every aspect. The lighting is fantastic, especially in night races. Headlights emit what feels like perfectly accurate volumetric light, especially when you see the active shadows of cars in front of you on a wall along the track. A night race at an “oval track” is impressive to say the least too.

Beyond that, if you have an HDR-capable display, Gran Turismo Sport really is your new showoff piece. The extended color space and lighting/brightness control is amazing. It’s just a shame that it’s so difficult to show that to people that don’t have an HDR-capable display of some kind.

The racing is incredibly solid with both the DualShock 4 and a wheel. I’m using the Thrustmaster T300RS in one room while I play with a DualShock 4 in another and I haven’t had any problems yet. I can’t say that about Project CARS 2 unfortunately.

I just love that the actual “tires on the surface” feel is there for me, which is rare in racing games in my opinion. Control of the cars feels so accurate, especially between RWD, FWD, and AWD. You’re forced to actually think about your strategy more depending on the drivetrain for whatever car you’re using.

The audio is fantastic so far. I’m not one to know exactly how every real car should sound, but from what I actually do know, I love how it sounds, especially with headphones. Everything moves around accurately and nothing dominates the audioscape like the braking sounds in Project CARS 2 for example.

There are over 1,000 landscapes available for using in Photo Mode, and the entire system is a lot of fun. A “Scapes Pack” is available for download today – it’s free, and it’s 9 GB. It’s easy to lose a LOT of time in there, and they’ve included some really cool locales.

So far, for me at least, the negatives are pretty minor, and what’s available feels great. It’s dominated all of my free time and that’s a good thing. I also love that it doesn’t feel gimped at all on a standard PS4.

Everything is fantastic no matter what model PS4 you’re using, and that’s important for this game. I’m sure that the GT superfans are going to find many issues with the game, and I would expect nothing less, but in terms of my expectations, this is in line with what I wanted so far, but I still have a LOT more to dig into before I’m comfortable giving it a proper review.

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • Byron Walters

    To me it feels like they are bringing IRacing to the PS4, which isn’t a bad thing if you are looking at serious racing with an online focus. Those looking for a deep single player career mode with multiple championships to go through I feel will be a bit discouraged after going through the “career” section of time trials, etc offered up right now.
    Also, I hope they can correct the always online functionality and at least be able to save your progress should you lose internet connection or the servers go down on their end. If the servers are down or you don’t have internet connection, it leaves the majority of the game unplayable.
    I hope people will stick with GT Sport, as once the championships in sport mode get cranked up, I think it could really be enjoyable with like minded serious racers online, where in games like Forza, the online is a bumper car fest that really gets frustrating.
    Thanks for the update Glenn, see you on the track.

    • Your progress DOES save if the servers are down. That’s what I did every day before the game launched

      • Byron Walters

        So you keep your credits and cars earned when the servers are down? I sure hope that is the case, arstechnica was reporting otherwise yesterday.