Developer: Polyphony Digital Publisher: SIE Platform(s): PS4
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The racing granddaddy tried to do new things this year, almost to “get down with the kids”. Gran Turismo Sport‘s attempts at cracking the eSports and competitive scene might not have been completely successful, but at its core, it’s still one of the finest digital version of racing you will find this generation.
At launch, Gran Turismo Sport was sorely lacking in single-player content, which drew plenty of ire. Without a number at the end of its name, Sport is something of an experiment, a racing game almost entirely catered to those who breathe fuel and want nothing more than to go online and show off their skills. In that regard, its smooth driving and “real” feel meant that it was the perfect choice for professional players. But what about the rest of us?
Well, in its early release, Driving School and a very threadbare challenge mode. These offered plenty of different obstacles for racers to overcome, but it was often a thankless task – its competitive aspirations meant it felt like single-player gamers were a bit of an afterthought. Luckily, however, Polyphony saw sense and introduced a deeper well of modes for everyone to enjoy.
The GT League was the campaign that the game sorely needed, giving players the races that they came for. Collecting cars in the garage finally had a purpose as they allowed you to take part in climbing up the rankings across many different championships. This has always been a part of the Gran Turismo experience, so its (late) inclusion took Sport from a brave but myopic change in what the series has always been about to something closer to its roots.
It’s difficult to translate how just damn good the driving is to words on a page, but it really is as good as it always has been. Sure, you can’t tune your car to the finest details like you can in Forza, but, for my money, there’s only one game that manages to make me feel like I’m really there, particularly when I am driving from the view behind the wheel.
Ultimately, GT Sport is a racing game that too many people wrote off too quickly. It could have been easy for Polyphony to keep plugging away at the competitive scene and neglect a large part of their playerbase, but the fact that they even tried to turn it around shows that they’re serious about delivering a serious racing experience.