GT Sport - A review ...in 2020!?
With Gran Turismo 7 on the way, here's my little love letter to GT Sport and fun it rekindled for me.
GT Sport is a funny one. Gran Turismo as a series is one that invokes many happy memories of childhood, spent playing Gran Turismo's 1 through 3. It was around the time of 3 I had dropped off as I went through mid to late teens and other life topics taking my interest ...such as alcohol. 👀
What I'm trying to say is, I have a lot of affection for Gran Turismo. I admire that every release they make, visually they're miles ahead of anything else on a console. Kazunori Yamauchi and the Polyphony team always do a superb job when it comes to visual and audial delight. Gran Turismo Sport get's this more right than competitor games.
Even if from a UX point of view, some of the menu navigations are a bit pointless? The feel, look and response of each interaction feels nice and expected, due to the high standards Polyphony set. I guess, if there's one thing that can be levelled at all Gran Turismo games is that the driving doesn't really compare to any realistic sim. It's "simcade".
Here's the thing though? Who cares?
GT Sport has a few features that a lot of games do not get right. For example, the matchmaking when you're good enough to get into the higher splits, is second to none. Sure it's hard to progress from the lower levels due to "console casuals" who are just out for a punting rather than real racing. On the flip side, I think it preps you for avoiding collisions in more serious sims without the pain of being awarded a 10 second penalty.
The other part is the fun aspect. When a daily or FIA race comes off and you've worked your way through to field to score a decent result, it's really quite rewarding. I think that's what keeps a lot of influencers like Kie25 and Super GT coming back to it. They've not fully disregarded the game for iRacing or something more "serious", because the battles you can have on the rather arbitrary tire model coupled with insane slipstream can be second to none.
The diversity of cars is also great, it's the right amount in my view. No need for a game of 600 cars trying to do too much. To be honest I wouldn't be mad if they lost the rally cars as they don't really do them justice with the tracks on offer. The physics feel off there, like you're always gliding on ice.
For me one of the only things that can be a bit off putting with GT Sport is the lack of variability on tracks. Only a handful of tracks have wet conditions for example, but there's nothing like the Madness engine from Project Cars 2 to dry out parts of the tracks in real time and at random places. In that regard, the AI for single player races is also pretty poor, it's quite easy to dominate races on the most difficult setting even on a pad.
But those things don't particularly change how I feel about the game. As I got back into 'sim racing' half a year ago or so, GT Sport helped ease me back in and hone a forgotten race craft a little bit. The other thing that gives me huge joy on GT Sport is the livery editor - for a console, there is nothing close. As someone who comes from a design background, I rate their editor above some readily available editing tools on desktop.
(Incase you're interested, you can download my rendition of a fictional 1980's Peugeot works F1 entry, see here!)
In 2020, 2 and a bit years after the games release, I'm still thoroughly hooked and hope a lot of the features of GT Sport carry on over into Gran Turismo 7. As much as the original title is loved for what it is, the online racing elements of GT Sport deserve to be continued. Even if momoz is out there. 🙈