Gran Turismo Sport - A GIANT Leap For Multiplayer Track Racers
It took Polyphony Digital a while but Gran Turismo on the PS4 is finally a thing. It's been about 4 years since the last GT which has us craving another, yet the wait as always has been worth it... well so far anyway.
After being hyped up every E3 expecting a Gran Turismo announcement to come, especially with the closure of Sony's DRIVECLUB developer (and the fact it made little sense), there was a tad of worry along with the excitement for a lot of us. Fast forward to where we are now, a bulk of those worries have been put to sleep... when Polyphony go in, they go IN. Building this game from the ground up for the PS4, cars, sounds and all which is a step the series needed.
For the longest time an issue I and many others had with the series was not the mega list of cars, but the fact that mega list of cars was from all over the place. Some were shiny and newly built for that cracking PS3 cell processor while some had been thrown across from the PS2. Those... didn't look so great. There was nothing worse than watching Top Gear, finding a new car you'd love to give a go and... oh, it's standard. Even worse sound, no interior cam, no way to visually modify the car past it's colours that really didn't make it look any less ugly.
One down side to this is that obviously with with the rebuilding of the cars, they can't match the insane car list the previous games on PlayStation 3 had. But the fact these cars have some of if not the most detail I've seen on in-game cars before, along with the fact they no longer sound like an old vacuum cleaner.... I'm all for it. But this wasn't the main point for the article, this is stuff you probably already know and are also excited for.
The big deal here is the new main focus for the game, in every other Gran Turismo and in every other track racing game I can think of... ever? The focus has always been on the singleplayer race experience, understandably so. Track racers are often a good system seller since a lot of people like pretty cars, who would have known? But for the first time in what seems like forever, we have a giant step from one of the big players.
Gran Turismo could honestly play it safe and release "Gran Turismo 7", but instead they're taking a new approach. Online.
My head is screaming "FINALLY" but my heart is excited, there's never really been an easily accessible track racer that had a focus on online competition over single-player experience. The idea behind GT Sport is to get you competing, get you building up your own driving skills and shaping your preferences to compete against other REAL players.
Has online competing in a track racer been done before? Yeah obviously, but it's never been pushed as the forefront of the game.
I'm not usually one to want to compete online, I'm much more a drive around with my friends and make up our own gamemodes such as a relay race or build up cars for a drift lobby to have fun. GT Sport changes the pace for me and makes me want to qualify with the best time I possibly can, it makes me want to actually try break the first 3 in an online race.
The game starts you off in a qualifying event for that race, then at a set REAL WORLD time. You hop back on and ready up for the big race. The game compares your driving skill, the time you placed in the qualifier and your driving style to match you with opponents similar to yourself. Clean racers with clean racers, aggressive with aggressive, slower with slower and faster with faster.
The beta did have some issues pairing me with people close to my time, since there were a smaller amount of players in game right now (most of them dedicated sim racers) I'd be matched with some people quite a bit faster than myself... but that shouldn't be an issue come release.
It's one of the only few times placing in the top 8 actually feels like an achievement. Place in the top 3 and you feel like a racing god. With the focus of the current gen being to push the online capabilities and make it feel almost "seamless" in some titles, GT Sport's beta makes me feel like I'm pushing through as a real racer. It makes me feel there should be systems in place such as sponsors offering to sign me, manufacturers loaning me cars for races to show off their new cars. I'm hoping the game expands to this direction some point soon, but for now it's a fantastic step forward for online competition.
What are your thoughts on the online push for Gran Turismo Sport? Are you looking forward to it or unsure? Let us know!