Posted June 20, 2017 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

E3 2017: Gran Turismo Sport is a Lot of Fun in VR (Hands-On)

There aren’t many racing games available for PlayStation VR yet, Driveclub VR being the most notable title, but one which also gave several players an upset tummy if they weren’t used to moving in 3D in VR. Other games like Trackmania Turbo have experimented with fixed-cameras and first person, but Sony is now taking another crack at a full VR experience with Gran Turismo Sport. While the title was absent from the Sony Press Conference, it had a fair presence on the floor with its own section at the Sony booth and an exhibit with a real sports car outside the front of the LACC. However, most exciting was the demo on the floor of the PS VR mode,  Sport’s “VR Tour” mode.

Two levels were available – one was a simple race track, the other a rally race with two cars – which is the one I selected. I actually demoed the game in a special racing cockpit, modelled on a little F1 car with a steering wheel and pedals, and this helped immensely with the immersion inside the PS VR. If you keep your arms at 3 and 9’o clock, they basically match your driver’s hand movements 1:1 inside the headset which is really immersive.

I chose intermediate difficulty which meant that braking assist was turned on, but you can select a more expert level of difficulty. However, the assists actually made the race feel a lot more fun, especially with it being a rally race and having to battle the uneven ground and force feedback that come part and parcel with that style of gameplay. It was a one-on-one race, which apparently will be the norm for the entire VR Tour mode. 

If you’re familiar with using VR in games like Driveclub VR and DiRT Rally, you’ll know that you spend a lot of your time looking around at side mirrors, and out of your actual windows to keep tabs on other racers. If you’re used to using an outside 3rd-person view like I am with other racing games, this is a big adjustment to get used to, but it really does feel like you’re in a real car, having to deal with the same issues you would in a real race.

It also looks a lot better visually than its PSVR contemporary, Driveclub VR. The environments are certainly more detailed, as are the cars, and textures that looked flat and under detailed in Driveclub VR look more vibrant and lifelike here. There do seem to be fewer audience models than in the main Gran Turismo Sport game, and of course the game as a whole runs at a lower resolution, but those are the only real differences I could pick. It’s definitely the most visually beautiful racing game I’ve played in PlayStation VR so far.

With Forza 7 and Project Cars 2 moving simulation racing leaps and bounds in the last few years, it seems that Gran Turismo has been playing catch up, with so much time between releases, and it’s fair to wonder what Gran Turismo Sport can bring to the table. I can at the very least confirm that its PS VR mode is actually quite a bit of fun, even if as more and more news comes out about it, it won’t be as fleshed out as we would have hoped. However, it is impressive visually, and really immersive – especially if you have the ideal set-up like I experienced and fork out for a seat, wheel, pedals and mini car cockpit.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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