Gran Turismo 7 is what happens when somebody has so much fun knowing that they could that they didn’t stop to think whether they should. Kazunori Yamauchi’s borderline fetish for awkward design choices reaches its ugly peak with a game that doesn’t know what it wants to be.

The career mode is basically a barely 10-Hour long slog of fetch quests, with the odd side objective thrown in to stop you from getting bored. Most of them involve going to a location on the World Map and using one of its facilities, a process that takes approximately thirty seconds.

This is made more frustrating by the fact that Gran Turismo 7 seems to assume that the player has never seen a car in real life nor knows what a car is, with tutorials that are so patronising and AI that are so catastrophically slow that it feels like an insult directed towards long-time fans of the series. Even after completing all of the menu books, which unlocks a bunch of harder “Expert Level” races, the AI still pose little to no challenge.

Buying cars to use in races requires a level of grinding I have never seen before in a racing game, thanks to pitifully low payouts for many of the game’s early races. Some of the post-endgame events are more generous, with WTC800 at Sardegna currently the best race in the game for grinding cash, but the sometimes obscene prices for cars again makes it a slog. Legendary Cars Dealership, you know who you are.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. GT7 is arguably the best demonstration of the PlayStation 5’s capabilities, with stunning visuals tied together by gorgeous lighting and almost nonexistent loading times thanks to lightning-fast SSD technology.

The physics are satisfying and direct, with punishing consequences for pushing too hard. However, it never feels unfair except for the odd car or two. Those are the exception, rather than the rule.

Sport Mode is a clusterfuck, but it’s a fun clusterfuck. Racing in the No DR/SR Tracking races is beautiful carnage, with paint being traded for several laps straight, whilst the ranked races are generally a little bit calmer if still unhinged at times and really help with practicing close-quarters racing if you can find a lobby that doesn’t have too many morons.

Finally is something that was missing from Gran Turismo Sport: A sense of ownership. Every car is like a Tamagotchi, with three base stats that deteriorate as you drive them - Oil, Engine and Chassis. Over time, you have to perform maintenance on these cars, which makes you feel like you truly are the owner of a custom-built Toyota GR86 that pumps out almost 400hp through that fully customisable Manual transmission you installed.

In Gran Turismo 7, cars are not just your primary means of competition - They are living, breathing creatures with a heart and soul. And that’s what the game tries to teach you during those agonising 10 hours of listening to some nondescript Italian man tell you how Rallying works, even though you own or have owned every single game in the Colin McRae Rally/DiRT series and play them every single day.

Buy Gran Turismo 7, but only if you can live with a glorified 10 hour long tutorial. And you don’t mind Always Online DRM. Otherwise, something like Need for Speed or Forza is probably more your… Speed.

Reviewed on Dec 21, 2022