This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Gran Turismo series. The games of the series revolutionized the gaming community and completely changed how we perceived racing games as a whole. In addition to that, the series is one of Playstation’s most successful. As such, now would be the perfect time to rank all the major releases of the series from the first one in 1997 to this year’s Gran Turismo 7.
Gran Turismo 6
Starting off, we have Gran Turismo 6 which was released in 2013, the same year as the PS4. It was a bit odd that it didn’t make the cut for the then-new console. While many features carried on from the fifth game, the car collection in this was huge. Toward the end of its cycle, the game had totaled around 1200 cars. Plus, you got to drive Ayrton Senna’s Lotus 97T, and exotic vehicles like the Lunar Roving Vehicle (yes, this game did have that) were a joy to drive. You could also build your own course with the Coursemaker app.
But, the gameplay and overall feel of the game had similar vibes to Gran Turismo 5 so it wasn’t as innovative and as such wasn’t that attractive to players. Moreover, its launch came at the worse time since many players moved onto the Playstation 4, which was greatly marketed with another racing game Driveclub. Although Driveclub didn’t do well at all, the damage was already done to GT6. Polyphony’s focus seem to have shifted to Gran Turismo Sport by then and it didn’t receive the treatment it deserved.
Gran Turismo 7
Gran Turismo 7 is the perfect case of ”overpromise, under-deliver”. The teasers and trailers of the game promised us the return of the coveted single-player GT mode that was missing from Gran Turismo Sport. All we received were half-cooked menu books that gave us 3 cars for completing each of them. It’s not bad but until you notice that these menu books are literally the single-player career mode. On top of all that, the ridiculously low payouts and lack of races with the microtransaction controversy, and the always-online requirement were the cherries on top to make it a perfect disaster. The whole game felt like a spit in the face of the fans who loved the series. Sure, they are patching their way to make it more lucrative but the controversy this game caused has changed the fans’ perception of Polyphony Digital.
Despite the painful lows, GT7 still has its positives. Graphically, it’s definitely the best racing game you can get on the PS4 and PS5. No other racing game comes close. The driving and physics have really improved from GT Sport. Additionally, the dynamic weather system could be considered a work of art with how well done it is. The Scapes mode is completely unbelievable as it will make you question reality. It did feel like the GT of old in some cases, but as mentioned before, the negative reasons have been a huge dent in the overall player experience.
Gran Turismo Sport
Gran Turismo Sport was the first of the series to be released on the Playstation 4 in 2017. Graphically, it definitely was an improvement over GT6 as it harnessed the power of the PS4. But, focus-wise it was a different game compared to its predecessors. The online multiplayer mode, titled Sport Mode, was the main focus and selling point of the game. By the time it got released, it had competition from both Forza Motorsport 7 and Project Cars 2. Those two games easily outclassed GT Sport at first as they provided much more attractive single-player modes. A lack of cars and tracks was also a problem with this game. Even dynamic weather wasn’t available. Moreover, the always-online functionality didn’t mesh well with players but it was understandable since the focus was multiplayer.
The game could be called the best multiplayer racing experience you could have today. This was really taken to new heights thanks to the FIA-certified championships as well as the regional competitions. A nice aspect of this game is the ranking system that takes into account both the driver and the sportsmanship of the participant. The penalty system required a lot of reworking and is still a little twitchy now, but other than that, the experience as a whole is wonderful. Later on, a proper GT League mode was added to the game, complete with multiple leagues that varied in terms of their level of difficulty. Even if you play it now, you won’t miss out on any of the enjoyable aspects.
Gran Turismo 4
Gran Turismo 4 perfectly portrayed what a racing game had to be in 2005. The single-player stuff this game had makes the future ones look pale in comparison. The B-spec mode in the game is a feature that should have been included in future games because it is so good. Ordering your own racing driver essentially was unheard of in racing games at that time. Features like the now known Driving Missions were a challenge if we’re being honest. The sheer amount of tries it took to just to nail those missions especially the last one with the Mercedes SLR is no joke. The graphics too a huge leap in terms of quality and realism as well.
The car collection that GT4 had was quite remarkable. This Gran Turismo game had a large variety of content, from being able to drive an 1886 Daimler Motor Carriage to be able to drive a concept version of the Nike One ’22. However, it did come in for its fair share of criticism due to the absence of online play, the absence of a properly functioning damage model, and the presence of over 20 different models of Imprezas and Skylines.
Gran Turismo 5
Gran Turismo 5 was the first game to be released for the Playstation 3 and is surely the series at its peak. It was a game-changer for the series, to say the least. The fact that it was the first game of its kind to allow up to 16 players simultaneously online is what makes this one of a kind. It was also the first Gran Turismo game to incorporate a damage model, albeit it wasn’t particularly impressive. During the time of its release, it was equipped with a modernized physics model that offered unprecedented levels of realism in terms of both control and handling.
In addition to being incredible and mind-boggling, the car selection was excellent. Finally, you had the Italian duo of Ferrari and Lamborghini make their first appearances as well as Mclaren and Bugatti. And, honestly, what more did you need? You were able to flawlessly use Super GT, WRC, and NASCAR racing cars in one single game. Top of that with the dynamic weather system, and voila, you have the perfect racing game to spend your breaks on.
The game that started it all and the one that made the biggest impression and shook the core of the gaming world. The first Gran Turismo pushed boundaries and made a statement when it arrived on the scene in 1997, that it was here to stay. Comparatively, the game looks bare and bone now, but we’re talking 1997. Nobody had ever seen a racing game of this caliber. Sure, you had Need for Speed, but this, this was Gran Turismo starting a legacy and giving car culture the status it deserved.
The number of features it had was unseens before in racing games. Driving to obtain licenses, competing in competitions and events for the purpose of glory, and, of course, having access to amazing cars were all pleasurable and lucrative activities. It didn’t matter how many tens, hundreds, or even thousands of hours you put into this game; it never ceased to amaze you. In addition to this, the sensation you had when you finally earned enough credits to buy the car you wanted was unparalleled.
Gran Turismo 2
With a game like the first one making an impression, Polyphony Digital needed to make a least decent sophomore hit to keep the series afloat. Instead, they came out with the superb one that is talked about even today. The car collection in Gran Turismo 2 was tripled with over 500 cars and more real-life tracks. It’s one of the games of the series that feature extremely rare cars like the ’96 Pikes Peak, Vector M12, and Ford GT90. It was essentially an upgraded version of the first game and fans loved it.
In addition to that, this game was the first to make use of the vibration feature of the DualShock controller. The simulation mode received even further improvements, such as the inclusion of extra events such as hill climbs and rally stages, such as the well-known Pikes Peak. Due to the sheer volume of content it included, Polyphony was forced to distribute it across two Discs; this was the first and only other time which this has occurred prior to Gran Turismo 7 being released earlier this year.
Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec
Gran Turismo 3 is the best game to grace the series to date, period. There’s a reason why this is the best-selling Gran Turismo game ever with over 15 million copies sold. If Gran Turismo 2 exceeded expectations, the 3rd game shattered them and made every critic question how Gran Turismo keeps getting better and better. This was the first game to be released on the Playstation 2 and as such had enhanced graphics over its predecessors.
Everything was much more focused and properly designed. The simulation mode was much much better with the possibility of playing endurance races. The car manufacturers were classified by the country for the first time, a feature we still see to this day. The car collection was pretty low with less than 200, but PD focused on quality over quantity. The addition of modern and old F1 cars was a godsend if we’re being honest. And the graphics were groundbreaking. You have to understand, that this was 2001, the level of detail in GT3 was unseen at that time and even if you play it today, you’ll be in awe of how they managed to put out a game with these graphics.