Nearly four years into the Playstation 4’s life cycle, Sony’s premiere racing simulator has drifted onto the console. And Although Gran Turismo Sport has refined the looks and feel of racing, a lack of content and a shift to an always online model has made the latest installment of this storied franchise something I’d rather return to the garage
GT Sport’s transition to an esports focused racer is admirable but comes with an ugly trade-off. In order to appease the FIA overlords, Polyphony Digital has disabled almost all features offline. You can’t buy cars, save race times, play campaign modes, take photos or engage in anything else besides Arcade mode offline. In the three days I’ve played the game, I’ve encountered server issues on three separate occasions and I’m simply not waiting around for fixes.
When the servers are online, even the main “Sport” mode leaves you stuck in a perpetual pit stop. Races happen every 20 minutes but are restricted to one specific class of cars. There is no way to hop into a casual multiplayer match. You can host or join another server with different racing options, but these races often involve a waiting period just to end up in a loosely populated race.
Why can’t I select a quick play mode and simply hop into a race? As much as I want to spend limitless minutes toiling around GT Sport’s menus ( ones that continue the series tradition of being exceedingly archaic), sometimes I just want to play the game I payed for and not have to suffer through a horrendously long load time or matchmaking queue to do so.
I did enjoy wasting my time gawking at the beauty of cars though. Every view and perspective exudes detail. The sound design surrounding each model is also greatly improved over past entries. Unfortunately, the selection of automobiles here is poor. Where games like Forza Motorsport 7 host over 700 vehicles, GT Sport holds an abysmal 162, many of which are just more powerful versions of the same car repeated to match certain class requirements. While the Quality over Quantity argument can be brought up here, there simply isn’t enough variety here to make players happy in the long run.
The fundamental mechanics and visuals of Gran Turismo Sport are astounding. Cars zoom around corners with a satisfying feedback and look marvelous while doing so. Disappointingly, the rest of GT Sport can’t catch up. The always-online component, repeated series flaws and a lack of content cause the latest entry in Polyphony Digital’s racing series to be lapped by the competition.