Hands-on with Gran Turismo 7’s free PS VR2 update, out February 22

February 3, 2023
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While Gran Turismo Sport offered a tantalizing taste of the GT experience using the original PlayStation VR, letting users don the headset for a limited slice of the game, Gran Turismo 7 supports PS VR2 with no such compromises. The cars, tracks, races, and license tests are all here (with the exception of split-screen support), and playing the game again with the new headset and DualSense controller is nothing short of revelatory—even as someone who logged more than 200 hours on the track throughout 2022. 

Here are four reasons to be excited about buckling up for GT7 in PlayStation VR2.

Big surprise—it looks amazing

Gran Turismo 7 is a stunner, but I assumed the conversion to PS VR 2 might entail some obvious (but understandable) compromises. That said, I’m pleased to report that my concerns were unfounded, as the game looks marvelous in its VR conversion. Image quality and clarity are dramatically improved over those of GT Sport, and I never felt myself weighing the pros and cons of the visuals compared to simply playing on a “flat” TV display. In short, the game looks great and really highlights the virtues of PS VR2.

Ogle your all-time favorite cars in the VR Showroom

Players can now look around any of the 450+ cars in the game using the VR Showroom, which is accessible from your Garage. This feels like the natural culmination of Polyphony’s incredible efforts in bringing each car to life; the plastics, wood paneling, leather, vinyl, and plastics are now viewable at your leisure. Getting up close and personal with various stereo systems, dashboards, and dials is (weirdly) one of the things I’m most looking forward to once I have a PS VR2 at home. The novelty of peering around the back seats of each car can’t be understated.

Head tracking is a game changer

While it may sound unremarkable on paper, being able to freely look around during a race—with your view untethered from the front of your car—provides tangible benefits, both in terms of performance and presence within the virtual world. For example, while driving into a sharp corner, it’s possible to look beyond the immediate turn to the rest of the track and plan your next move. This is one of those intuitive “real life” driving behaviors that feels somewhat uncanny to experience in a game.

A newfound sense of scale and speed

Another upshot of the “I’m actually driving a Mazda 787B” feeling is a newfound sense of…claustrophobia and danger (in a good way!). Motorsport can be quite dangerous, and those of us with no personal experience can get a better sense of that in VR: the increased tangibility of a race car’s purpose-built, rough-and-ready interior, along with real limitations on visibility (narrower windshields, roll-bars, etc.), dramatically heightens the sense of speed and intensity of a race.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, PS VR2 offers a new perspective on the track environments themselves. For example, the mountain range at Dragon Tail feels genuinely huge and imposing, and the desert at Willow Springs somehow feels, well, more desert-like—the vast emptiness of this Southern California expanse is perceptibly vast and empty. It’s a sensation I’ve never had in a game before and it made tearing around the arid landscape feel liberating. 

My time with GT7 also highlighted one incidental benefit of the new PS VR2 hardware that I hadn’t previously considered: since the headset no longer requires a camera to track your position in 3D space, you no longer must be overly concerned with your position relative to the TV. It’s a small change that I anticipate will make me far more likely to use the headset during daily play sessions. 

The free Gran Turismo 7 PS VR2 update hits February 22.

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