Grab your helmet and start your engines! It's time to head back to the track with this racer that's visually stunning, incredibly addicting, and constantly challenging. It may have been almost a decade since the last full installment of this series, but Gran Turismo 7 has roared back onto PlayStation consoles with an experience that's a clear love letter to cars and car culture. Whether you're tearing through Italian hills in a tiny Fiat Abarth, drifting around corners in a Ford Mustang, or off-roading in a Toyota Tundra, every vehicle is beautifully reproduced. In fact, some of the screens feel like you walked away from a game console and into a car showroom, and these hero shots of the cars are truly breathtaking, especially when you use the Scapes feature to place these machines in a vast set of locales taken from around the world. But these cars aren't simply eye candy, because the gear shifting and engine revving during a race feels different thanks to the haptic feedback of the DualSense controller. This is even more apparent between the slower pace of a stock machine versus the roar of a car you've spent time (and credits) modifying and tuning to suit your needs. What's more, sprinting around corners, with a squeal of tires as you take the curve and exit into a straightaway, or feathering your brake and gas pedals to cleanly overcome a hairpin turn just feels amazing.
GT7 may seem like it's designed only for hard-core racing fans, but newcomers and casual racers will find the gameplay very accessible thanks to the menu system at the in-game café, which gives a minor amount of structure when it comes to courses to enter and challenges to take on. Once you've cleared a number of the campaign elements, though, and opened up multiplayer races or missions, you're provided with a better sense of track competition and fast-paced play through various modes. Like all cars, GT7 does have some pings and knocks that you'll uncover as you're flying across highways or tarmacs. For one thing, the number of credits that you'll earn for a race is incredibly low. Even with perfectly clean races and racing lines, you earn fractions of the number of credits needed to earn a mid-tier, premium, or luxury vehicle, so you'll be grinding your way through previously completed races repeatedly to earn credits, or sinking cash into the store for the machine you really want. Also, while tuning your cars helps, getting a more expensive part isn't always the best option for your vehicle. In fact, it could possibly make your performance worse on the track. Suggested optimized car kits for certain kinds of races would've been useful, especially for players who are antsy to dive into the trial and error of tweaking the differential, transmission, and other specs of their car. These issues are minor compared to the rest of the game, though, which manages to keep you coming back to the track to improve your time, land more first place finishes, and grow your car collection. Gran Turismo 7 is simply a masterpiece for racing games, and whether you like watching races on television or simply enjoy driving your car to handle errands, you'll find something here to get your motor running.