This year seems to be the year of the racing game with a number of racing games being released by a number of different publishers, including Forza Motorsport 7, Project Cars 2, F1 2017, DiRT 4, Need For Speed: Payback and of course, Gran Turismo Sport (“GT Sport”).
With so many different games on offer, it can often be a challenge to choose just one to play. As someone who normally isn’t a fan of racing games, I delved into GT Sport with an open mind and zero expectations, which actually led to me being pleasantly surprised.
GT Sport is developed by Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 4 (“PS4”). This iteration is the 13th installment in the Gran Turismo series, bringing it with it some changes including no dynamic weather system or day-night cycle, unlike previous games.
One of the key features of the game is the expanded roster of cars available, with Porsche vehicles being added for the first time. However, despite an expanded roster, the selection of cars is relatively small, though this is a good thing as each car is rendered with incredible detail and aesthetics, which includes roaring engine sounds and improved tire models, allowing for rather realistic race car driving.
Unlike previous iterations of the franchise, online racing is heavily featured, with the main focus being on the organised daily races which have varying rules and regulations. These organised races effectively test your driving skills and abilities. The better you are, the higher your Driver Rating is, which then allows you to race against others who are within the same rating range. In other words, the game matches you with those who are on your level. Though, it isn’t just your rank that the game takes into consideration. The game’s monitoring system also monitors how well you race and counts the number of incidents you’re involved in or faults you make.
On top of daily races, there are also championship events which occur approximately each month that are seemingly more intense and almost similar to real life racing championships. In this way, GT Sport paves the way for esport racing by providing realistic challenges with lifelike car handling, which can actually be quite tough. GT Sport isn’t just your run off the mill racing game.
Naturally, there’s also an offline mode, though this is more like a tutorial for the online races. There are three different modes to choose from, Driving School, Mission Challenge and Circuit Experience, with each one covering a different aspect of racing, basically teaching players how to race effectively. Of course, there’s also the traditional Arcade mode, which allows you to choose a car and race track, and then, race offline against the AI. Being new to the Gran Turismo franchise, offline racing was certainly a great way to get into the game and get a feel for what to expect when racing online.
GT Sport brings about a new feel in the racing genre of video games. With a focus on online racing, hard core racing gamers will definitely enjoy the aggression and tension that the game provides , while honing their skills. Casual gamers looking to sit back and relax while playing offline, however, will likely be unenthused with the small selection of cars and tracks and may find the offline mode a little stale after a few hours of gameplay. Enjoying GT Sport, at the end of the day, really boils down to the kind of gamer you are. I certainly found it entertaining during my short time playing the game.