Gran Turismo Sport comes from a long line of racing simulators – a line that boasts a 20-year legacy. The very fact that it has managed to survive and evolve over two decades is a testament to the community the game has built around itself, and that too, on just one platform. However, unlike previous iterations, Gran Turismo Sport has undergone a significant change, one that can be chalked up to a necessary move for keeping up with the times or risk being sidelined. Here’s what we think.
Gran Turismo Sport – More Arcade, Less Sim
A couple of races into the game, you’ll realise that Gran Turismo Sport isn’t as daunting as other racing sims. While most sims make you pine for a driving wheel for easy control, GT Sport, has complicated such as those for fuel economy, mapped to the D-pad. And this does make a difference in some of the more difficult races.
The vehicle handling has improved a lot compared to other sims. The handling feels a lot more consistent as long as you remain on the tracks and it goes haywire the moment you go veering off towards the boundary, just like it should.
Now before you feel disappointed, you should know that they’ve curtailed variants of the same vehicle. So you aren’t going to be grinding your way towards buying 50 variants of the Mustang GT. In a way, we like this move because the individuality of the different vehicles is retained. It’s a lot better experience to have different vehicles that handle differently, rather than have 50 variants that feel the same. We’re pretty certain none of you are going to have the same drive and determination to get ‘am all.
On the other hand, this could be the outcome of Gran Turismo tying up with the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), thus, limiting their selection of cars to those sanctioned by the FIA for the real-world races.
No dynamic weather
If you start off with the Arcade races, you do get your pick of the time of the day to race each and every track. So you can certainly play around with the world lighting, it’s just that dynamic weather is a feature present in every other racing sim, and excluding the same from Gran Turismo Sport feels a bit odd.
Dynamic weather adds an entirely new layer to the whole game as you’re forced to make changes to your vehicle’s handling on the go, or slow down till you make it to the pitstop so that you can switch to a different set of tyres that are appropriate for the weather.
This is where we believe Polyphony Digital short changed us. Curtailing vehicle variants is fine, not having dynamic weather is fine but not giving enough tracks is sacrilege! That too in a racing sim. Gran Turismo 6 had 40 locations and 86 tracks, however, Gran Turismo Sport only has 17 locations and 40 tracks! We don’t know if more are coming our way by means of DLCs or if this is it.
For the achievement hunter in you, racing the same track till you snatch the record time, the limited tracks might not be a bummer. However, for those who like a new challenge, this does pose a problem.
This is another aspect that just stands out the moment you step into your first car. The audio has been reworked and feels a lot more authentic. It’s less linear and feels more dynamic with the environment playing a more prominent role. The engine whine as you floor the gas pedal doesn’t sound like a cheap food processor. The momentary gaps when you’re switching gears, the rumbling as you roll over the kerb and the engine popping, all make the Gran Turismo Sport way better than the previous iterations:
It’s all about online
Imagine yourself driving along the Kyoto race track in your Audi R8 LMS, you’ve tackled each corner the right way, floored the gas pedal right as you were leaving sharp turns, you’re about to beat the track record … aaaaaaand you get rear-ended by some @$$hole in a Mustang GT who hasn’t even taken his foot off the gas since the race began. That’s how multiplayer races work in most games. They’ve tackled this by introducing a Sportsmanship Rating! If you follow driving etiquette and take care to not ram into your fellow players, you will be regarded as an ideal citizen and be paired up against good players. Thus, you’re more likely to enjoy the game. And if your idea of a racing sim is “less sim and more demolition derby” then you’ll end up with a poor Sportsmanship rating and get paired up with similar folk. Either ways, you’re getting what you deserve and you’ll have a good time anyways, at least we hope.
Single Player Campaign
Given the way Polyphony has decided to focus on the online multiplayer aspect of the game, the single player version is only a shadow of its former self. You need to be online to access everything except the Arcade mode. They’ve barely got enough races in the mode but we do feel it’s sufficient for when you have no internet connectivity. The split screen mode is certainly fun but the AI races tend to get boring real fast.
What used to be the career mode is now called Campaign and it starts off with a couple of “Learn to Drive” tracks that take you through different vehicles and teach you how to tackle different segments of the race track. They’re quite easy to get through and prepare you for the Mission Challenges that come next. You’ll find some of them quite frustrating, especially the ones that need you to hit a certain top speed. You will have to tune your vehicle to get the gold medal, otherwise, it’ll be the bronze for you. And lastly, you have the Circuit Experience which lets you experience all the tracks in full or in part. Thus, helping you master each and every turn to get that lap time down to record levels.
Gran Turismo Sport – Should you get it?
Yes, the game is no longer a pure sim and has some facet that’ll appeal to you no matter what kind of games you like. Sure, the purists will pull out their pitchforks but they really don’t have a concrete reason to do so. The Sportsmanship rating in the Online mode has them covered. The only downside is the lack of racing tracks. Other aspects of the game including the Livery Editor and the Scapes mode end up being the icing on the cake. If you like racing and would like a teensy bit of challenge, then Gran Turismo Sport is a pretty good game to go for.
|Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Price: Rs. 3,170
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