The anticipation for Gran Turismo 7 was enormous. Delays and lack of single-player content in Gran Turismo Sport meant fans were desperate to dive into a "real" Gran Turismo game once again.
Unfortunately, Gran Turismo 7 hasn't been able to deliver that spine-tingling experience we all hoped for.
A shallow experience
Let's put aside the war over the GT7 economy, the Tokyo grind, and the issues we all have with Legend Cars for a minute and just take in the game as a single-player experience.
The core of Gran Turismo used to be taking cheap road cars and tuning them into monsters that could compete with any race car. We all expected to take a dodgy hatchback through the Sunday Cup, Clubman Cup, and more.
That never materialised.
Instead, we got cars thrown at us for winning a handful of races. Quickly moving on from the starting trio to go racing in trucks, muscle cars, and eventually Porsches, Ferraris, and GT cars.
The GT Cafe is a lovely ode to motoring history. It's not a single-player campaign mode.
It was completed quickly. Without endurance racing, pit strategies, or really any resistance.
Sure, future updates could add more menu books to complete, but for now what is there to do?
Well there are the Missions, License Tests, and Circuit Experience. These modes are great. Classic Gran Turismo at its best but again, they are largely in a specific car rather than the one that you've fallen in love with through the campaign.
And that's it. Other than repeating a rather thin list of races for credits there isn't really much to do from a single-player perspective.
Stale Sport Mode
Which brings us to Sport Mode. The trio of Daily Races (they should really change that name) is all players have when it comes to ranked GT7 multiplayer, aside from the esports-focused Racing GT Cups and Manufacturer Series.
That's enough for some players, but it is a thin offering compared to the broad range other games offer when it comes to ranked play.
Then there is the fact that none of these three races a week carry an endurance element like pitstops or fuel management. This is a paltry offering for a modern game. Where is the innovation and experimentation?
The addition of Race D and Race E that include some bizarre combos or longer endurance-style races would breathe some fresh air into Sport Mode. Even if BoP is creating meta cars and copy/paste grids in every race.
None of this is helped by the fact that private leagues have had a tough time getting started on GT7 too.
While Update 1.13 added a new set of missions for players, it feels like Gran Turismo 7 is already in its endgame state.
Sure, we expect a few more tracks and cars (probably all Toyotas or Hondas) to arrive over the coming months, along with the promise of mechanics like selling cars, but the game feels finished already.
This is an enormous problem for a title that was meant to have a life cycle of 3-4 years.
It's also a massive shame, because GT7 is a joy to drive! It's balanced accessibility and realism well, and now that the tail-happy RWD issue has been solved it is great fun to jump into any car and take a spin. There just aren't enough things to do.
There are no races for Gr.2 or Gr.1 cars, meaning if you want to take those awesome beasts for a spin it will be in custom races with woefully low payouts for your time.
It's no wonder players have taken to setup tweaks to make the Tomahawk raceable with good payouts.
For as fun as GT7 is to drive, it's becoming a chore to play. That's a real problem for Polyphony as well as the racing community.
The seemingly short life-span of GT7 is matched by that of Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox. It's a worrying trend to see games burn hot and bright, but fade quickly.
The lack of a dedicated single-player, such as F1's career mode, pushed players into the online experience which isn't to everyone's taste. And when that experience is thin, it leaves GT7 is a weird limbo state. A good game that players enjoy, but one without anything to bring them back to the game and reward them for their time.