Thursday, 19 October 2017 10:22

REVIEW: Gran Turismo Sport (Playstation 4)

Written by Brett Hale
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Have you longed for a GT game to play on your Playstation 4 and thought it feels like it’ll never happen? Well awhile back Sony and Polyphony Digital announced GT Sport. After a push back it was said to release in 2017 and it's that time of the year PS4 owners can finally sink their teeth in deep for a franchise far older than Forza Motorsport, but at the same time GT Sport is missing some of the bells and whistles if you ask me.

For those who played the BETA, it was enough for them to say pass on GT Sport, but i’ve never been one to judge a game based on it’s BETA mainly because they never make the really good stuff playable. But I was shocked once I had my code quickly downloading only to find the servers were down, I though oh well, it’s not like anyone has this except reviewers, i'll just play the single player side until the servers are back up. But that’s when the shock set in, a message popped up saying servers are down for maintenance, you’ll only be able to play "Arcade Mode", and no progress will be saved while the servers are not up and running.

I had to rub my eyes a couple of times to see if I was reading this correctly, but sure enough I was. So if you don’t have an internet connection, you might want to think twice about picking up this game. The other scary thing is if Polyphony Digital or Sony decide the take away the servers for the game it’s almost unplayable, not being able to save anything andonly being able to play "Arcade Mode", which to be honest is pretty pointless not being able to save any progress you make in races.

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Now that we have the internet requirement part out of the way, now onto more stuff people might not be so keen about. The car count is at the top of the list for any racing game, Forza 7 launched with 700, GT Sport isn’t even close. I personally counted around 152, the PS4 store states 140, and other people have said 170. All I know is it’s a pretty poor amount of cars for a franchise such as Gran Turismo. To purchase cars you’ll go into "Brand Central", and car makers are broken into three continents, USA, Europe and Asia Pacific. The popular manufacturers who are featured in GT Sport are Ford, Bugatti, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, BMW and a couple of others.

As for tracks, well they're all mostly locked in "Arcade Mode", groups of 2 or 3 require you to obtain a certain player level before they unlock. The one all aussies will know and love is the almighty Mount Panorama but there are roughly 19 with some tracks variants such as shorter versions. What GT Sport failed to bring to the table was dynamic weather, something that has been in the last two GT games and even the past couple of Forza games have it. So there is also no day-night cycles, but there is a range of times of day and night, dawn, sunrise, morning, daytime, noon, afternoon, evening, sunset, dusk, twilight and night time.

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Single player modes are just custom races, single races, time trials and drift mode. Drift Mode can be a tricky mode depending on the vehicle you choose, choosing something too powerful and you won’t drift, instead you’ll spin which earns you no points. Time Trial has you racing you’re quickest ghost lap, it's nothing different from Time Trials across any other racing game. Single Races and Custom Races are much the same except single races are just a pre-selected lap number where as custom races have you race 2 laps or 200 laps, it’s upto you. Custom races also let’s you choose a wide range of racing options. While playing in Arcade Mode you’ll earn the most XP, cash and mileage points by bumping up the opponent difficulty among other things, and there is no rewind in GT Sport, if you spin out too bad so sad.

Prior to racing but after selecting your car you’ll be asked each time which gearbox you’ll want to go with, automatic or manual. There is a manual save but this will only work while you have an internet connection and the servers are up and running for the game. Also on that side of the main menu is the garage where your cars are, livery editor and mileage exchange. The exchange is a place you can spend your mileage points on wheels, poses, helmets, cars and even paint colours. Some are on sale at a much cheaper price because cars themselves aren't cheap in GT Sport, meaning save that cash if you want an expensive car.

Most importantly is that GT Sport might be missing some key features, but you can still change things on vehicles, though not as much as I recall on the older games but people need to take what they can get I guess.

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In the past generations, Gran Turismo games have had some amazing visuals for the hardware they had at the time, the power of the PS4 only improves the visuals in Gran Turismo Sport like you wouldn’t believe, and it’s an extra step up for owners of the PS4Pro. Both PS4 and PS4Pro have HDR support, games such as Uncharted on the PS4 consoles looked great with HDR, GT Sport is no different. Standard PS4 owners with a 1080p television will get full 1080p resolution 60fps, Pro owners with 1080p televisions also reap some rewards, but Pro owners with a 4KTV gets the most advantages. Pro owners get two choices, prioritise frame rate making the resolution 1080p 60fps or prioritise picture quality making the resolution 1800p checkerboard 60fps. The only true difference is the frame per second in replays. My only issues with these two settings, even though I was playing on a Pro with a 4KTV I couldn't change it to the 1800p checkerboard, but the prioritise frame rate option still looked fantastic.

Across the many tracks I was only disappointed with most of the dirt style tracks, they just didn’t look as nice as the tarmac tracks. Cars themselves look beautiful, but crashing into another vehicle or a wall doesn’t bring good authentic looking damage to the vehicles. But it’s not just what’s on track that counts, the sun brings realism to the tracks breaking through tree gaps or blinding your vision if you drive head on into it. Night time racing also brings some beauty along with some ugly. The shadows cast off vehicles from other vehicles headlights show a horrible poor looking shadow, some shadows during the day can’t even keep up. The HUD has one of the weirdest layouts, but maybe i’m just use to playing Forza. The HUD mostly stretches across the bottom of the screen showing the track map, speedo, fuel, tyre wear, lap number and lap times.

The cars look great, and they sound just as good, from the american muscle cars to the go karts buzzing around the tracks although the soundtrack was a bit underwhelming.

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This entire game is practically multiplayer, due to the internet requirement. But the actual online multiplayer is 2 player Split Screen, Lobby Mode, Sport Mode and Career Mode. Lobby is the traditional online mode where you’ll either make your own lobby for others to join or you can join someone else's lobby. If you're making a lobby you’ll need to select the track, car category and lots of other options. It’s best when playing in lobby to play with people with a decent connection which is displayed in the form of signal bars, green being best and red the lobby you wouldn’t want to join. You won’t earn XP, cash or mileage points when playing in the lobby part of the game. Then we have Sport Mode, it’s online similar to Lobby but pre-selected races/events made by Polyphony Digital. You’ll need to wait till the events are open, which from what I gathered was every 40 minutes, but don’t hold me to that cause i’m not fully clear with that. You’ll qualify prior to the race to get the best starting position then you're good to go. 

Some events will only let you use specific cars like ones in your garage while others allow a free range of other cars you don’t own. Now, here's something causing quite a stir with people who have purchased the game, the Career Mode or shall I say the missing career mode. It’s not the normal Career Mode where it’s offline single player racing in a career sort of way, hence why i’m writing about it in the multiplayer section with everything that requires internet. So what’s the Career Mode in GT Sport, well... three options consist of Career Mode, driving school, mission challenges and circuit experience. These are all rather much the same, teaching you to take corners at speed, or stopping in zones.  These are all timed and are rated by gold, silver and bronze. You’ll need to get at least bronze to move to the next.

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Now GT Sport isn’t just about racing, it also includes a echnical photo mode called Scapes. These are real life images where you can place cars into and snap away, changing filters and camera focus. The list of options is massive, and the outcome is amazing. GT Sport even has a free scapes pack to download that adds even more scapes to take photos on.

The load times for GT Sport are quick, real quick! If you disable the intro video the game starts up under 1 minute. Loading screens are even a quick shake of the leg. Just like any game, this one has some general settings for sound and visuals, as well as controller settings and if you’re an owner of a wheel and pedal system. Something not too many games have is PSVR support. In GT Sport it’s called the PSVR Tour. I myself don’t own PSVR so I can't comment on it but I think it would have a very limited use in GT Sport.

The franchise Gran Turismo has been around for years, but with games like Forza which implement dynamic weather and the fact GT 5 and 6 have it, why not GT Sport? Maybe the out cry for the things we believe are missing might be added in a future update and hopefully not as paid DLC.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Polyphony Digital
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Racing, Simulation