Gran Turismo is a staple of the PlayStation brand. It is hard to even imagine a PlayStation system without a Gran Turismo game of some sort. Now, with the PlayStation 4 maturing with an impressive install base, there is no better time than now to have Gran Turismo make an appearance, and it is almost here with Gran Turismo Sport, the latest from Polyphony Digital, and we went hands-on at E3 2017.
If you managed to walk the Sony booth at E3 2017, it was almost impossible to miss Gran Turismo. Sony and Polyphony Digital spared no expense to bring the ideal racing experience to people who manage to try it out at the show. With eight cockpit style setups, each demo station came complete with racing wheel and peddles, along with a screen to immerse you in the racing experience. Things did not stop there though; Polyphony Digital was holding races for players, giving you a short section to learn the controls, then trusting you into a game where you had to try your luck at beating the completion (spoiler: I did not manage to beat the competition and managed to end as one of the last place racers).
Getting hands on with Gran Turismo Sport, and it was quickly evident that the team at Polyphony Digital had been hard at work to build one of the most realistic racing experiences possible. From the way the cars handle to the lighting and visuals, Gran Turismo is a hard game to beat, and it has never looked this good. Utilising the power of the PlayStation 4, the framerate was locked at a solid 60 Frames per second, and with the ability to take advantage of HDR, the cars have never looked more lifelike.
Racers will now have access to 140 premium cars; all captured to ensure the utmost detail and realism. While doing my little race, it was obvious how much detail went into each car. From the way they look in the menus to the visuals of them on the track to the minor ways, they look in motion. Gran Turismo Sport is a game for the car lover at heart, and that love is clearly on display in every aspect of gameplay.
CEO of Polyphony Digital and Gran Turismo producer Kazunori Yamauchi made it clear that the detail and ability for players to experience a game that is as close to real life was the end goal. The power of the PlayStation 4 and the advent of HDR and 4K push the boundaries and blur the lines between the game and real life. Gran Turismo Sport is the evolution of the franchise, and one that takes all the things they have learned up to this point and improved upon them. It is a game that displays all the sweat, and time spent building it, with attention to every aspect of detail and the team’s love of auto sport.
As stunning as Gran Turismo may be, this is a racing simulator more than it is an arcade racer. Should you come into this looking to put the pedal to the mettle and go as fast as possible, you will have a bad time. You need to take the corners with finesse, and use the brake as much as the accelerator to take full advantage of the powerhouse cars you will get the chance to drive. For example, in the race, I opted to ignore the race lines and tried to put caution to the wind as I tried to take first place in the race. The results were not pretty, spinning out on the hairpin. With such a harsh setback it was near impossible to recover. This is a game built for people that want to jump into cars, test racing and get a true simulation experience.
Gran Turismo Sport is a driving simulator at its core, and to that end, Polyphony Digital has pushed the limits on what car lovers can expect from a digital experience. From the visuals to the attention to detail, there are few games that even can come close to the simulation gameplay offered by Gran Turismo, but with that attention to detail comes a steep learning curve. Even with these facts, Gran Turismo was once the king of digital motorsport, and if the demo is anything to go by, Polyphony Digital have a chance to wrestle their crown back from Forza. Time will tell, but I know I am excited to jump back into Gran Turismo come fall to redeem myself after that unforgivable experience on the E3 show floor.