Gran Turismo 7 has a progression problem

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A huge part of Gran Turismo’s appeal is the grind. It takes a long time to work your way up and earn enough credits before you can buy the fastest and most expensive cars. Gran Turismo 7 is no different. At the start of the game, you’re given a measly 20,000 credits to buy an underpowered Japanese hatchback as your first car.

As you win races, you earn more credits to tune your cars and make them more competitive. When you finally have enough credits to buy your dream car, you feel like you’ve earned it.

This sense of progression is satisfying and rewarding. GT7’s slower pace is refreshing compared to Forza Horizon 5, which hands you the fastest cars too early without having you work for them.

That said, GT7’s progression is so slow in the early stages of the game that it becomes frustrating. And it's all because of the GT Café.

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Slow burner

GT7’s single-player campaign introduces a new mode called the GT7 Café. It’s effectively an extended tutorial, but it slows the game’s pacing to a crawl. When you visit the GT Café, the friendly owner gives you “menus” to complete.

These are essentially quests requiring you to complete set events or perform tasks. Completing a menu usually unlocks a collection of three cars. These collections have a theme such as Japanese FF sports cars or European hot hatches.

Gran Turismo 7 GT Cafe menus
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Everything in GT7 is unlocked by completing GT Cafe menus - even the split-screen multiplayer

As you progress, the GT Café gradually introduces you to the GT Auto Shop, Scapes, and the Tuning Shop. Bewilderingly, however, core features like split-screen multiplayer and the online Sport Mode are also locked until you complete the required number of menus. This is frustrating and unnecessary – it shouldn’t take several hours to unlock split-screen and online multiplayer.  

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The GT Café is great at guiding new players on their Gran Turismo journey at a casual pace. But it takes you on a linear path and holds your hand for the entire journey. The format also gets repetitive over time, and the presentation leaves a lot to be desired as the on-screen characters tell you information about your cars with text instead of voiceovers. Put simply, it should be optional or skippable for experienced players.

There are races that aren't linked to the GT Café’s linear progression path. But if you want to unlock every racetrack, you have to complete 38 GT Café menus. Campaign races are linked to tracks in the World Circuits location, meaning there’s no way to avoid the GT Café.

Frustratingly, this also means you can’t set up custom races with some tracks until you unlock them in the GT Café if you want a break from the campaign.

Gran Turismo 7 GT Cafe main menu
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The GT Café is great at guiding new players, but should be optional for experienced players

For experienced players, a separate career mode that isn't linked to the GT Café would be ideal, like how the Driven to Glory story mode in GRID Legends is separated from the traditional career mode. Bringing back Arcade Mode from classic GT games would at least allow you to access every track from the start.

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Grind for cash

It also doesn’t help that GT7’s small credit payouts hamper progression, although there are ways to earn credits faster.

Of course, grinding credits is all part of the Gran Turismo experience. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that GT7’s payouts are deliberately low to encourage you to buy cars with microtransactions. Some players will enjoy the grind, but series newcomers may quickly lose patience with GT7’s slow progression.