PSX 2016 – Gran Turismo Sport VR Preview – Rev Those Engines (PSVR)

December 6, 2016Written by Paulmichael Contreras

Gran Turismo is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, with over 76 million copies sold throughout the series’ lifetime. The latest iteration, Gran Turismo Sport, will serve as the PlayStation 4’s first entry. The game was shown off in both regular and PlayStation VR demos, and we went head-on with the VR version!

Off the Beaten Path

Set up in a corner of the Anaheim Convention Center were several cockpits, with five or so stations dedicated to the VR experience on a well-lit stage. An attendant was there to help me get the VR headset and headphones on, which is becoming a familiar routine to many a gamer. After switching a few settings and restarting the race, I was off and racing in a car that I didn’t quite catch the name of.

Looking around in the driver’s seat offers an impressive view of your car, as well as your surroundings. But where VR really shines is while driving. As you round any corner, the more experienced drivers among you will instinctively peek at the exit of the current turn, and the game’s camera responds in kind. This will no doubt result in ever-better lap times for those who commit to memorizing courses and using the new sense of depth to their advantage.

It was honestly difficult to tell how good the game looked during the short playthrough, but I can safely say that I experienced no motion sickness despite driving well over 100 miles per hour, shifting my car rapidly around corners, and occasionally running a corner a little too tightly and making those wheels squeal. The cockpit that I was seated in helped to sell the immersion factor, since the in-game wheel and pedals matched precisely what I was doing in the game.

The Sun Glares

One obvious but neat trick used during this demo occurred on a certain section of the course. As I sped up a slight incline, the sun glared right at me, and I was forced to move my head out of the path of the direct sunlight. The effect is quite dramatic, but the brightness is not such that it’s painful or anything – I just could not really see much of the road if I didn’t move my head. I doubt any racing fan will be annoyed by this, because real-life drivers have to deal with this from time to time as well.

Gran Turismo Sport cannot come soon enough. The PlayStation 4 has its fair share of racing games, to be sure, but it just doesn’t feel like a proper PlayStation generation without the mainstay Gran Turismo series. In the small sampling we got while at the PlayStation Experience 2016, it feels as though the wait will be worth it with what Polyphony Digital has been hard at work on.