Once you get past the epic saga that is the six-minute-long intro movie (you should watch it once, it’s cool), you’ll find Gran Turismo Sport is a very different GT to the ones you’re used to.
The main menu is simplified, with no immediately obvious main career mode or primary gameplay option. And that’s because there’s not really a single player career mode anymore.
There’s no GT Mode, no modifications for your cars – in fact you barely even look at your own garage.
Online racing is now the main event.
This also means there’s not a lot you can do if the servers are down. You’re limited to playing single-race arcade-style challenges, and none of your progress will be saved without a connection.
Now, at this point it’s worth noting we’ve only been looking at GT Sport over the weekend, and haven’t had a chance to dive deep and see how the game holds up further into its gameplay, but we’ve dabbled with each of its features and so far, despite a lack of traditional Gran Turismo features, we’re impressed.
Online, a mostly realistic pre-race qualifying system means competitors are placed into races with other drivers whose best times most evenly match their own.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the driver’s you’re placed with will be of a particular skill level, though. That one good qualifying lap might have been a fluke, and they could be more keen for an demolition rumble-on-the-‘Ring than a proper race.
For this, a sportsmanship rating was introduced, but we’ll be able to judge that system more accurately when we’ve had enough time to fully review the game.
The cars’ realism has taken a leap, with even engine sounds now being accurate from car to car. Plus, oversteer is no longer a dirty word in the GT dictionary.
As usual with a GT game, there are a lot – a lot – of repetitive drive training exercises that will make completionists both initially frustrated and eventually satisfied.
A new feature is drift racing, which is quite challenging to get used to if you’re expecting the game mode to make sliding the car any easier than it is in a regular race mode. This ain’t Need For Speed, and you won’t look like a driving god. Same goes for rallying.
The thing we’ll miss most as we dive further in to GT Sport is the breadth of cars available in previous games. Rather than starting with 20,000 credits to buy a VW Polo and hit a competitive track day, you pretty much dive right in to racing GT3 cars.
Just three days into playing, some gamers had already gotten trophies for beating Senna’s pole position count, topping Schumacher’s win numbers, and even ‘completing’ the game.
We’ve not even come across a situation in which we can drive one of our own cars yet.
MOTOR will release a full review of Gran Turismo Sport soon, stay tuned.