Gran Turismo 7 might make you into a VR believer
VR is definitely seen as a bit of a luxury, in some quarters a gimmick. I think the former is true, what with the high cost of entry (and even more if you want a headset connected to a PC or console), but it’s absolutely not a gimmick. Seeing is believing in the case of VR, so the launch of Sony’s PlayStation VR2 headset and controllers has sparked yet another wave of “it’s impossible to explain how good VR is” chat. That is true to an extent, but I’m here to tell you that you should buy PS VR2 to play Gran Turismo 7. It’s that good. And I’m not really a huge Gran Turismo fan.
Is the PSVR 2 experience worth £530? Find out in our video.
As I write this I’m still recovering from a moment in Resident Evil Village where the head movement was out of my control (during a cutscene), resulting in an instant wave of nausea. Having played Drive Club VR back on the original PS VR, I expected similar gut churning results with GT7. To my surprise, and relief quite honestly, I can play hours of GT7 in VR without any issues whatsoever. I am not expert enough (at all) in the tech side of things, so can’t explain why this is the case, but GT7 is a safe entry point to VR – although do take some caution if you’ve never experienced VR before.
And what an entry point it would be. If your very first taste of VR is the gorgeous Gran Turismo 7, which by my eyes is just a slight downgrade on the full PS5 version you can play on a TV, you’ve won the VR lottery. Boot it up, hop into a race, and as the starting counter ticks down you’re transported into the cockpit of the car. You’re there. Actually there. It feels legitimately amazing.
Imagine this, in real life. That’s sort-of what PSVR2 GT7 is. Almost.
The sense of being in the car is so great that I half expected drivers of other cars, who I regular stare at in order to psych them out, would wave at me (or make rude hand gestures). I half expected them to have real faces, their mouths silent but clearly saying things that shouldn’t be repeated. It’s all so marvelous, even looking back out the rear window or glancing at the passenger seats has a certain thrill to it. And actual important things, like sense of speed and track undulations are simply put, loads better in VR.
No doubt someone will be driving at 100mph to the comments section right now, desperate to honk their horn and inform me that I’m in fact an idiot for not talking about some random game that offered this on PC VR back in 2016 or something. I’m sure that is true. What isn’t true is that a mainstream console has offered a mainstream (and frankly, huge) racing sim in VR before. And even if you can force the point on those, it definitely wasn’t the same quality experience that you get on PS VR2 in GT7.
I should point out that while the VR experience in GT7 on PS VR2 is phenomenal, it’s not perfect. Everything outside of an actual race and the VR garage mode is not in VR, simply throwing the display onto a massive cinema-style screen. It’s perfectly functional, and the real meat here is the actual racing, obviously, but some kind of actual VR interface would have been nice.
A bigger issue is how you can somehow feel like you’re not quite seated correctly in the car. Everything has felt great most of the time, but on occasion I’ve been too close to the steering wheel, sat too high, or too low. You can fix this by repositioning your head and then resetting the VR position, but it’s slightly annoying and takes you out of the experience for that moment.
Speaking of nausea.
But these are minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things. The main point to take away from this is that PS VR2 has turned me from being so-so about Gran Turismo 7 to being eager to hop back in for another few races whenever I get the chance. I love it, and if you have bought the new PlayStation headset or are thinking about doing so, unless you really dislike driving you need to make GT7 one of your first experiences.