I played Gran Turismo 7 in PSVR 2, and now I can't go back

Gran Turismo 7 interior screenshot
(Image credit: Sony)

I’m hurtling full-speed down the long Trial Mountain Circuit straight in the driver’s seat of my souped-up Honda S660. The dazzling motion-blurred lights of the iconic tunnel seared into my vision, I nearly forget to brake before the banked incline. I come harrowingly close to smashing 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 in Gran Turismo 7 – Trial Mountain is a top-tier track, and one I race whenever new events populate the World Circuit mode. But this week, I raced it for the first time in PSVR 2, and it was as thrilling as it was utterly terrifying.

With well over a hundred hours in the PS5 racing sim, I thought I’d seen pretty much everything Gran Turismo 7 had to offer. But the new (and entirely free) PSVR 2 update has breathed new life into the game for me. And now that I’ve been sitting, almost literally, behind the driver’s seat, I’m plenty eager to strap back in for one of the best VR experiences I’ve ever had. 

Start your engines

GT Sophy

(Image credit: Sony Computer Interactive Entertainment)

When Sony announced PSVR 2 support for Gran Turismo 7, I was relieved to learn that the full game would be playable with Sony’s new VR headset. The previous entry, Gran Turismo Sport, only offered a handful of tracks and scenarios for play on the original PlayStation VR.

With Gran Turismo 7, developer Polyphony Digital has vastly improved the experience. All racing modes are available in VR, including all World Circuit content, License Center tests, and Time Trials. That alone makes GT7 one of the best PSVR 2 games. You can even play online if you can handle the embarrassment of barreling off the track on Monza’s brutal first corner in front of real players.

Don’t worry about GT7’s menus displaying in Cinematic Mode, though. That’s by design. Once you’re in a race, you’re placed behind the steering wheel. Car interiors are already expertly crafted, but I was still astonished at the sheer detail on offer viewing the inside of these cars with a PSVR 2. Dashboards, displays, even the seats themselves look realistic, and I imagine it’s especially effective if you’ve got a proper racing wheel setup.

That same high image quality is consistent with Gran Turismo 7’s tracks, too. It feels like there’s very little hit to overall resolution; the game almost completely avoids the dreary, soupy look that plagues many VR games. And that’s a massive relief, as the game’s pin-sharp image quality helps to reduce motion sickness. 

In the showroom

Gran Turismo 7

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

After the adrenaline rush of a few races in VR, I needed to take a quick break. Happily, Gran Turismo 7 has the perfect breather. If the VR races are the white-knuckle rollercoaster rides, then the VR Showroom is the cool, iced beverage to help you regain your bearings.

The VR Showroom, accessible from the menu’s Garage, lets you get up close and personal with the game’s vehicles. Again, Polyphony has managed to capture the photorealism of its cars in VR. That’s especially apparent as VR Showroom practically lets you press your nose up against them, absorbing the finer details that you can’t quite make out when sat a distance away from even the best gaming TVs.

You can even jump into your cars in the Showroom, and take a more relaxed view around the interior – a lovely feature, as your eyes will be glued to the road when racing.

The road ahead

PlayStation Showcase

(Image credit: Sony)

VR or no, the show's stars are Gran Turismo 7’s tracks, and PSVR 2 can offer a daunting sense of scale here. Roads feel much wider when you’re sitting behind the wheel. It helps every circuit feel not only fresh but, in some instances, unrecognizable.

These are the same circuits, though; no compromises have been made here. But suddenly, that large climb you’ve mastered on Alsace Village now feels like a mountain. The infamous Laguna Seca corkscrew is more frightening than ever; the rise and sudden drop followed by a swift corner resembling a storm-stricken sea.

PSVR 2 also highlights Gran Turismo 7’s lighting. Rainy night time races are a real treat, particularly the numerous tunnels of Tokyo Expressway. Thanks to PSVR 2’s wide 110-degree field of view, you’ll actually witness these lights accurately whip past your peripheral vision, just as they would in real life.

My one complaint with Gran Turismo 7’s VR suite, is that it’s best appreciated in short bursts. After just a couple of races, all the twists and turns make me feel a little queasy. Like reading a book in the backseat on a long car journey, definitely take a break if you’re starting to feel the motion sickness getting to you. 

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.