Gran Turismo Sport
CES PlayStation Previews

CES 2017 – Gran Turismo Sport PSVR Demo

I’m not very good at Gran Turismo, but there’s something about playing the game with a VR headset while sititng in a driver’s chair with a force-feedback steering wheel that makes the experience very real. I surprised myself, only spinning the car once, doing reasonably well for the three-lap demo. Although the experience was fantastic, I’m not sure I’d have as much fun without the steering wheel – it adds to the realism, so a controller might not cut it. The only problem I ran into with the demo was looking around inside the car while driving and having small bits of latency.

The demo was done on the well-known Willow Springs track in Rosamond, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles. The sun was setting and the skies were clear, making it a romantic experience (at least for petrol heads like myself) with you, your car, and the track. You’re presented with a choice of three cars: a brand new Mazda Miata, McLaren 570S GT, and some sort of futuristic crazy looking white Mazda concept car. I went with the obvious choice: the McLaren.

The exhaust purred loudly behind me and filled up the cabin, just as it would it real life. The game not only had accurate sound effects, but sound effects which changed appropriately. Swerving onto the side of the track, you heard (and kinda felt) the bumps telling you the track was ending, and the sound of tires fishtailing on dirt versus asphalt was distinct and responsive. An issue other racers have is the inability to feel different types of terrain. Gran Turismo Sport does not have this issue – the car handles as it should in real life, and the change in terrains translate without lag.

It has been a very long time since I’ve been excited for a Gran Turismo game. Although always an impressive simulator, it had the Madden syndrome – same shit, different box. Gran Turismo Sport adds so much more.. Even the sun shining in my face as I came around the bend felt real. PSVR does such a good job of putting you in the game, you can’t help but wonder if the car seat you’re in was also moving with you. It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain, and an adventure you’ll have to go on yourself.