Here’s how Gran Turismo 7 looks on PS4, PS4 Pro and PS5

Gran Turismo 7 review – Sony’s flagship series returns to its glory days

The verdict is out! We reviewed Gran Turismo 7 and we loved it. The PlayStation 5 version we looked at is jaw-droppingly beautiful, but how does it stack up against the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro iterations?

Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. We’ve extensively tested all three versions back-to-back using the same equipment to ensure you can see the difference Sony’s consoles can make to your Gran Turismo experience.

There once was a time when Gran Turismo was everything. If you visited a video game store at the turn of the century you’ll surely remember stopping to admire the sight of a Nissan GTR splashing its way through a rain-slicked Special Stage 5 demo run, its headlights glistening across the puddles in the ultimate PlayStation 2 powerhouse. For a short while, Gran Turismo was the undisputed king of driving games.

Since its early noughties heyday Sony’s flagship driving series has been many other things, but it’s never really enjoyed quite the same status. Gran Turismo 5 was an awkward, unwieldy and never fully convincing shuffle into the HD era; with Gran Turismo 6 we got a flabby, unfocussed thing that ushered players all the way from the Goodwood hillclimb to the surface of the moon. Its breadth was thrilling, although the countless rough edges to be found in between were often frustrating.

After that lumpy excess the logical next step for developer Polyphony Digital was to strip it all back and start again, something it did with stylish resolve in 2017’s Gran Turismo Sport. Here was the first Gran Turismo game that wasn’t so much about driving as it was racing, taking the disciplined structure and approach of iRacing into the living room. The result has been a hugely successful series supported by well stewarded, closely fought racing, as well as by one of virtual racing’s most vibrant communities.

Excuse the potted history lesson, but history’s kind of important to Gran Turismo 7. This is what amounts to a full-blooded celebration of a quarter of a century of Polyphony Digital’s series, reinstating a 20-hour single player campaign and car customisation while restoring classic tracks like Deep Forest and Trial Mountain. So dense are these callbacks that at times it’s like playing a lavish Demon’s Souls-esque remake of Gran Turismo 2, with the colour and vibrancy of the series in its late-90s pomp switched all the way back on.

PS4 still holding ground looks solid. All versions perform great! Can’t wait to play again on ps5

The comparisons and also hear our analysis of the three versions. We tried a Nissan R32 GT-R around the refreshed Trial Mountain and Genesis X GR3 around the Tokyo Expressway and a Porsche 911 Turbo 930 around Daytona at night.

It’s about more than a 25th birthday party for Polyphony Digital, though. There’s a pointendess to the heavy nostalgia here, and a play to all those who’ve been turned off by the series’ more wayward turns in the latter part of its history. The result is a Gran Turismo that’s as accessible, open-armed and straight-up enjoyable as there’s been in the series’ history; I don’t think Gran Turismo has ever been as focussed or finessed either.

Thankfully none of that comes at the expense of the series’ eccentricity and charm, which can be found right at the core of Gran Turismo 7. A world map frames the campaign, from which you can visit a slowly unlocked roster of circuits (and a fairly generous roster at that, with Gran Turismo Sport’s tracklist bolstered by returning fantasy tracks as well as the likes of Daytona), shop for cars old and new, bolt a few extra horses under the bonnet or take part in one-off missions or licence tests.

At the heart of all that, though, there’s the cafe. It’s where you’ll find elderly car enthusiast Chris, always keen to cast an eye over whatever ride you’re in at the time; it’s where you’ll be accosted by Jeremy with his cheek-splitting grin who’s always ready with a fact or three about the car you’ve just collected. The other day Tom Matano, designer of the original Mazda MX5, was telling me all about the time he got invited to a Texas wedding where the bride and groom were united in love for his iconic roadster.

If you have it pre-ordered for PS4, don’t forget, there is a PS5 upgrade path.

Of all the many twists and turns Polyphony Digital has taken the series over the years, Gran Turismo: the visual novel might well be the most surprising yet. What’s perhaps more surprising is Gran Turismo 7 lands it remarkably well, giving its campaign an oddball character all of its own. In that same cafe you’ll also find friendly-faced Luca, who presents you with menu books tasking you with acquiring certain licences, winning certain races or – more often than not – collecting certain cars. Bring them back and you’ll be treated to a brief history lesson, or perhaps even some insight by one of the designers who infrequently stop by.

It provides Gran Turismo 7’s campaign with warmth as well as a strong backbone, even if it can tend towards being overly prescriptive. There’s a narrow line through the main campaign, and it’s only later when you’re introduced to the joys of modding a ride that you’re afforded a little more freedom – even if the art of modification is often nothing more graceful than bolting on everything you can until you hit the desired Performance Points limit for whatever race you’re aiming for.

Customisation isn’t new to Gran Turismo, but it’s certainly being handled in a different way upon its return. The method seems more akin to the real-life balance of performance that keeps sportscar fields bunched together – and it’s not the first time Gran Turismo has taken inspiration from the real world of racing – with the ultimate lap time simulated and taken into account. It’s more simulation-based, in short, which also means there are more tangible results from your tinkering, so you’ll feel the benefit of those carbon brake discs you put on to counteract turbo that’s sending you around at silly speeds. It’s never as freeform as Forza, and there aren’t quite as many options here to boot, but it’s nicely focussed and what’s there has an impact.

You’re made to notice, as early on in your Gran Turismo adventure money’s hard to come by. There’s a frugality to the campaign which works in its favour at first, having you carefully consider each new upgrade and ensuring you savour every new car you save up for. In Gran Turismo 7, every car feels like an event of its own such is the detail they’re captured with, the cockpit plastics and cloths recreated with just the right amount of sheen while that authenticity can be felt under the fingers too.

How accurate it is to the real thing I have no idea – I’m a humble man with nowt more than a knackered Toyota in my drive – but what really impresses with Gran Turismo 7 is how each car feels faithful to the character of the real thing without ever tipping over into caricature. The care and attention that’s gone into each one helps, extending from the density of detail in the light cluster model all the way through to the engine note and handling characteristics are conveyed. Which is to say hurling a Mini Cooper around Goodwood feels every bit as satisfying as hitting 240mph down the Mulsanne in a pukka prototype. Even my knackered old Toyota gets its dues, the lolling boatiness of a mk3 Supra perfectly preserved in Gran Turismo 7’s version.

What do you think about the visual differences between the PS4 and PS5 versions? Let us know in the comments below.

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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