Around about a year ago, we hopped inside Gran Turismo Sport’s cockpit with a PlayStation VR headset on and walked away somewhat unimpressed. We felt that the game looked fine in virtual reality – better than DriveClub VR, we commented at the time – but we weren’t exactly blown away, especially after seeing the title running in HDR on a gigantic 4K display.
Some 12 months later, we’ve finally got to try out the final product with PlayStation VR, and it’s excellent – but totally underutilised. Firstly, the presentation: it’s definitely a step down in terms of image quality purely because of the resolution inside the headset and the technical limitations of the PlayStation 4 – but it’s much better than its immediate peers.
While environments can look a little “cardboard”, the lighting – as is also the case on a standard display – is extremely impressive, and Polyphony Digital’s meticulously detailed cockpits really come to life in virtual reality. Being able to physically sit inside an array of obsessively accurate vehicle interiors is an incredible experience, and PlayStation VR enhances gameplay, too.
It’s the simple things that stand out, like being able to physically glance at your rear and side mirrors to get a view of the field behind you – or the way you can “look” into corners and judge the position of your car. Virtual reality seems like an ideal fit for driving games, and while DriveClub VR hinted at what the technology can offer, Gran Turismo Sport realises the vision.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room: you can’t actually use PlayStation VR for most of the game’s modes. Virtual reality is restricted to one-versus-one races across all of the title’s tracks, and a showroom type feature. The latter is fluff all things told, while the former is a lot of fun but severely limited.
It makes sense that the PS4 isn’t powerful enough to render full grids in virtual reality – though there have been builds that have apparently offered this – but to restrict you from setting, for example, the number of laps is bizarre. And the fact that there’s no Time Trial option is beyond baffling; we’d quite like to battle the clock with PlayStation VR.
Ultimately, it’s all a bit disappointing. The presentation is sublime in virtual reality, and the technology actually enhances the experience – but Polyphony Digital has failed to add any real meat to the feature. We’re sure future patches will expand the scope of the functionality, but for now this feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.
Have you tried Gran Turismo Sport with PlayStation VR yet? Do you agree that it’s an impressive implementation that’s severely lacking options? Look behind you in the comments section below.