I raced around the long Trial Mountain Circuit straight into the driver’s seat of my souped-up Honda S660. The dazzling motion-blurred lights of the iconic tunnel flashed into my vision, I almost forgot to brake before the bumpy slope. I came harrowingly close to crashing into the barrier, embarrassing myself in front of a bunch of AI drivers.
I’ve driven this turn for what feels like hundreds of times Gran Turismo 7 – Trial Mountain is a top-tier track, and one I will race when new events populate World Circuit mode. But this week, I raced it for the first time on PSVR 2, and it was as exciting as it was absolutely terrifying.
With over a hundred hours of PS5 racing sims, I think I’ve seen it all Gran Turismo 7 must be offered. But the recent (and completely free) PSVR 2 update has breathed new life into the game for me. And now that I’m sitting, almost literally, behind the driver’s seat, I want to relive one of the best VR experiences I’ve ever had.
Start your engines
When Sony announced PSVR 2 support for Gran Turismo 7, I was relieved to know that the entire game can be played on Sony’s new VR headset. The previous entry, Gran Turismo Sport, Only offers a few tracks and scenarios for playing the original PlayStation VR.
With Gran Turismo 7, Developer Polyphony Digital has greatly improved the experience. All racing modes are available in VR, including all World Circuit content, License Center tests, and Time Trials. That alone does GT7 one of the best games on PSVR 2. You can even play online if you can handle the shame of barreling down the track in the brutal first corner of Monza in front of real players.
Don’t worry GT7s menus displayed in Cinematic Mode, however. That is by design. Once you’re in a race, you’re put behind the wheel. Car interiors are already expertly crafted, but I’m still amazed at the sheer detail offered looking inside these cars with PSVR 2. Dashboards, displays, even the seats themselves -looks realistic, and I think it’s more effective if you’ve got a proper racing wheel setup.
The same high image quality is compatible with Gran Turismo 7’s track, too. The general resolution seems to have hit little; the game almost completely avoids the pathetic, soupy look that plagues many VR games. And that’s a big relief, because the game’s sharp image quality helps reduce motion sickness.
In the showroom
After the adrenaline rush of some VR races, I needed a quick break. Happily, Gran Turismo 7 have full breathing. If VR races are white-knuckle rollercoaster rides, then the VR Showroom is the cool, iced drink to help you regain your bearings.
The VR Showroom, accessible from the Garage menu, allows you to get up close and personal with the vehicles in the game. Once again, Polyphony has managed to capture the photorealism of its cars in VR. This is especially evident because the VR Showroom practically allows you to press your nose against them, absorbing the finer details that you would not know if sitting away from even the best games on TV.
You can even hop into your cars in the Showroom, and take a more relaxed look around the interior – a nice feature, as your eyes will be glued to the road when racing.
The way forward
VR or not, the stars of the show are Gran Turismo 7’s tracks, and the PSVR 2 can deliver a terrifying sense of scale here. The roads feel wider when you’re sitting behind the wheel. This helps each circuit feel not only fresh but, in some cases, unrecognizable.
These are the same circuits, though; no compromises are made here. But suddenly, that big climb you mastered in Alsace Village now feels like a mountain. The famous Laguna Seca corkscrew is scarier than ever; the ascent and sudden descent followed by a sharp corner resembling a storm-tossed sea.
Also highlighted in PSVR 2 Gran Turismo 7’s lights Rainy night races are a real treat, especially the many tunnels on the Tokyo Expressway. Thanks to PSVR 2’s wide 110-degree field of view, you can actually witness these lights pass precisely through your peripheral vision, just like they do in real life.
I only have one complaint Gran Turismo 7’s VR suite, so it’s best appreciated in short bursts. After just a few races, all the twists and turns made me feel a little nervous. Like reading a book in the backseat of a long car ride, definitely take a break when you start to feel the motion sickness coming over you.