It’s been almost four years since the popular Sony-published racing franchise Gran Turismo last hit store shelves. Fans have been patiently waiting for the next in the series, and over the weekend these fans got to experience a small slice of the delicious new racing simulator coming to PS4 on October 17: Gran Turismo Sport. Despite not being a numbered entry into the franchise, this is unequivocally the seventh title. And even in this brief glimpse, it’s instantly noticeable how Polyphonic Digital has been hard at work to bring the franchise more in line with modern racing games, yet still retain some of its unique features. Here are our impressions of the Gran Turismo Sport open beta:
The open beta only ran for a few days, offering gamers a brief window into this much-anticipated title. Most things were obviously locked away, but the beta included samplings from each of its campaign modes as well as online matchmaking. The campaign is different than racing game enthusiasts may be familiar with; Gran Turismo Sport is not focused on tournaments or racing cups like past iterations. Instead, it’s more involved with the journey to learn the correct driving techniques and perfecting the driving lines on each of its circuits.
I forgot how much I missed learning and earning my licenses via Gran Turismo’s driving school lessons, and I felt right at home practicing these short sessions and even restarting some to try and earn Gold medals in each one. These lessons teach you everything from starting and stopping, to taking corners and understanding racing lines for each track. Its goal is to make a better driver out of all of us; a smarter, more precise racing driver. During the beta, only the first eight driving school missions were available but at the completion of all eight, you are rewarded with a new vehicle.
Gran Turismo Sport offers another mode called ‘Missions’ that put into practice the skills you’ve learned through the driving school. These missions can range from overtaking a certain number of cars on a circuit to winning a 1v1 race to even fun mini-games like knocking over enough bowling pins within the time limit. Like the driving school, successfully completing a series of missions will reward you with a free car.
Eventually, you’ll want to purchase your own cars, however. And GT Sport boasts more than 160 of the most ostentatious automobiles the racing scene has ever known. This is no Gran Turismo 6 that boasted an impressive 1100+ vehicles; these are only the best of the best in both model and manufacturer. Of which, Toyota and Lexus are notably present whereas in some other racing sims they are decidedly absent. For each automobile manufacturer, you are also treated to a museum that showcases that company’s finest past achievements as well as provides a history lesson.
I’m excited to progress through the driving school at launch as no other racing game offers this kind of in-depth training and it’s the kind of tutorial I think that every racing game should have. These are skills you can transfer to any other racing sim – and even arcade racers – that will inherently mark you as a vastly superior racer. By utilizing the Missions as personal tests that I have mastered the driving techniques, I’ll strut my stuff online to take home the gold. I look forward to playing Gran Turismo Sport: The Real Racing Simulator coming out for the PlayStation 4 on October 17.