Game Reviews

Gran Turismo 7 review

A masterclass for racing simulation

₹ 4,999

PlayStation exclusive

Gran Turismo is a cultural icon for many folks that are on the onset of excessive white hair growth with almost a child-like fascination with cars. Saying that the previous Gran Turismo games became a gateway to the world of cars and racing for many enthusiasts is not an understatement. On its 25th anniversary, Polyphony Digital has baked everything that made GT a fantastic game for enthusiasts, and lowered the learning curve for new folks to the series.

That perfect balance between massaging the enthusiast crowd with stunning graphics, nuanced car handling and tuning along with a proper compendium of information on cars without losing the plot to many of the casual racing fans, is where Gran Turismo 7 is at its best.

Comparisons to Forza Horizon 5

Unlike Forza Horizon 5, GT7 doesn’t believe in showboating. There is no overenthusiastic crowd yelling at the sight of a four-wheeler or an overexcited showman screaming praises into your ear for doing the bare minimum. It’s similar to the social-cultural differences of today’s age between the east and the west. That to be honest, is what makes GT7 a thoroughbred racing game. It cuts out the excess fat that plagues Forza Horizon for car enthusiasts.

In my many hours with the game, I haven’t come across a single human voice in the game. That is a stark contrast to Forza, where you’re dropped from an airship like a scene from a Fast and Furious movie in the start and must make your way to the finish line where a raging crowd and the aforementioned showman wait for your glorious victory. Ya, it's a bit too much for the introverts. GT7 starts you off with two options, career mode and music mode, both of which we’ll get to in a bit.

Everything else in GT7 is conveyed through text speech, which pops on your screen with an old-school video game text sound. It’s charming and comforting when you’re back from a long day at work.

World and cars

The world map is made of many hubs that each offer a different purpose. You can visit your garage to tune your car or a shop to customise it. Maybe even buy a new one or a used one. Then go on to do a challenge at one hub or buy new parts from another or just revel in the scene and take a car for a photography session. You can also hop into multiplayer. These hubs unlock progressively after you do the basics from the cafe.

The cafe is like a fictional getaway for car enthusiasts (you) that serves a menu book with three unknown cars of the same category. Hatchbacks, classics, Japanese sports, and so on. You must then participate in races and win these three cars to unlock the full menu and then consecutively win a small tournament to get a sweet trophy. Repeat this process with new car menu books to progress in career mode. As lacklustre as it sounds, unlocking these new cars gives GT7 a sense of direction. It even rewards you with titbits of information on the cars and their cultural, social and economic impacts. From snail-sized hatches to turbo-powered road ragers, Gran Turismo 7 slowly eases you into the world of cars. It might feel a bit restrictive and slow for returning fans of the series or someone who just wants to drive a car of their choice on a track of their choice.

There’s another game mode called Music Rally, but it doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot for us. There are only seven races where you must go far and fast to win gold before the song ends. I only wish we could add our own songs and drive.

Tuning and upgrading

No racing simulator is truly great without a healthy list of tuning options. All 400+ cars in this game can be tuned to your liking, and there’s an overall rating (called PP) for your car to achieve. The higher the rating, the better it will perform.

Once you pick up enough parts from the shop, the list of available options to tune opens up. You can scoot back to the garage and start fiddling with the options to tune the car to your liking. Here’s the kicker, if you don’t know what these tuning options are and what parts to buy, the game has a ‘Learn More’ button next to each part when buying or tuning. In my opinion, this is the best thing that has ever been put in a racing sim game or any sim game. 

GT7 doesn’t assume you know about cars, it assumes that you may want to learn about these car upgrades and what each part of the car is for and what it does. It goes above and beyond in the tuning section and offers a Learn More button on each and every tuning option with a brief explanation of what happens when you fiddle with the numbers and sliders on that particular part. It’s an encyclopaedia for cars.

In real life, I do not know how to drive properly. But our office is filled with car nerds from our sister magazine Autocar India. So it’s safe to say that the target audience for this game is right in our backyard. Our resident car reviewer, our Editor, is still itching to play GT7 every day after having a full day with the game. 

That said, I (not a car junkie) was able to read, understand and comprehend the information from the Learn More button in the tuning section and piece together a custom tuning to stabilise my really wobbly American muscle car. That itself changed the driving physics of the car on the track which left me with a satisfying smile that I not only learned something new, but the game rewarded me for my curiosity.

Races and rewards

For the most part, GT7 doesn’t feel difficult on the second level of difficulty. Although, it feels restrictive in bestowing cars to your garage. Tuning parts are also expensive and can drain your hard-earned in-game money faster than you can say Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. There’s a suspicious money tab that lets you buy in-game currency using real money and we disapprove of it. It’s restrictive and very evident that GT7 wants to empty your wallet.

All races are also locked behind car requirements. So to progress in the career mode, all races demand a certain category of car that is suitable for that race. For example, to compete in a European hot hatches race, you’ll need a car from a European manufacturer that is definitely a hatchback and maybe should even have a front-wheel engine. You must also invest in tuning parts to get the overall PP higher than the mentioned figure to stand a chance to outrun the other cars. For better or worse, the game does make you invest time and effort into competing in these races, and that may not go well with some people who just want to have a casual sim racing experience.

That said, the tuning options and the cars themselves are a breed of their own. Every car performs and handles differently than the rest. Unlike Dirt 5 or Horizon 5 where speed and handling is an outcome of the terrain and the car you run on it, in GT7 there are only track races and every tune can change the way your car handles on turns, curves, straights and even hairpins. It’s got some dirt tracks too, but those are hardly the focus here.

Graphics and audio

GT7 has more than 90 tracks, some more realistic than others. Some of the famous tracks are also beautifully recreated as a proper replica like the Nurburgring Nordschleife and Monza. There’s also a weather system that makes car handling different, and you must prepare the car tuning accordingly for the race. 

The windswept rainwater hammering against your windscreen from the cockpit view can really instil a sense of realism. The PS5 controller’s haptics are always informing you of the bumps, acceleration and brakes as if you’re holding the wheel in place. Throw in a Logitech driving wheel, and GT7 completely transforms into a beautiful and captivating sim racing game. GT7’s tracks are not designed like Horizon 5’s open-world nor are they like Dirt 5’s sharp, but drift-friendly corners. They’re realistic and hence they feel more natural while using a wheel.

Cockpit view is more realistic than other racing games right now. Since GT7 focuses on tracks and cars, it’s got more nuanced interior and exterior car detailing. Ray Traced lights can be seen bouncing off the speedometer glass and other interior surfaces. Although we did notice some performance issues while in Ray Tracing mode. It’s better in Performance mode, especially during split-screen local multiplayer. The split-screen is also split into left and right sides with thick black borders on top and bottom with no option to toggle into the cockpit view. In comparison Dirt 5 offers a top and bottom split screen with a wide FOV to compensate for the narrow but better split-screen view.

The photography mode is almost hyperrealistic. The photo mode has a very detailed camera control and tons of scenic backdrops to place your car and watch the beauty of nature and machine unfold. Heck, you can Learn More your way through the camera settings and pick up a thing or two about cameras as well! You can even enable Ray Tracing just for the photo to bring life and depth into it.

Like all PlayStation exclusives, there’s Tempest audio to lather the whole gaming experience in realistic and well-placed audio. If you have a Hi-Fi system in place with surround sound, the PS5 has the option in the settings to adjust your speaker position and it will completely change the way you experience the audio in GT7

Our Volkswagen Scirocco R was custom turned with a high RPM turbocharger and the difference in audio is immaculate. You can hear the engine whine on the higher revs. Similarly, the bass from an American muscle’s exhaust pipes and the engine rumble can really rattle your eardrums. Every car sounds distinct so make sure to invest in good audio and maybe a wheel.


Gran Turismo 7 is every bit of a racing sim as it is a learning hub for curious folks. It serves as a petri dish for many young racing enthusiasts, yet still manages to deliver an enjoyable, challenging and relaxing indulgence for seasoned fans. It strikes the perfect balance that a racing sim or any sim game should strive for.

Of all the features you can crack from other racing games, none can bring the nuanced driving mechanics of GT7. It offers a world of customisation for tinker bells and helps us understand its 400+ cars through informative bits.

Stuff Says

GT7 is a celebration of cars and the car culture for petrolheads, and that message is conveyed through an interactive medium called a video game. It’s very special!
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Looks gorgeous

  1. Fantastic car handling and physics

  1. Fine-tuning made easy

  1. A learning paradise for curious folks

  1. Photo mode is hyper-real

  1. Microtransactions