There's no doubt that Gran Turismo 7 is a stellar game. While it isn't quite the classic GT experience, the cafe system, dynamic weather, and Sport mode have combined to create a great racing game.
One issue it has had though is the balance of the in-game economy.
From being a soulless grind in the early days, requiring hundreds of hours to earn just one of the super-expensive cars, players are now able to rack up millions of credits per hour thanks to the Tomahawk X grind.
The early days of in-game poverty were bad. Players felt like they would never be able to afford cars, and so lost incentive to play. But the Tomahawk era of GT7 is just as bad for the players and the game itself.
Instant gratification vs longevity
There has been an ongoing battle around Gran Turismo 7 between players that want to feel like they could "complete" the game relatively quickly and Polyphony who want GT7 to last for years and years.
The way Gran Turismo 7 is laid out, with a good chunk of the car list only available on a rotational basis, it is clear that the vision for Gran Turismo 7 was for it to take a long time for players to complete their garage. The grind of the game was intentional from the beginning.
This is in stark contrast to Forza Horizon 5, which throws cars at you so quickly and regularly that any thought of grinding and earning your garage was absent.
Obviously when people figured out just how long it would take to earn enough credits to buy one of the 20 million credit cars following the reward slashing of Update 1.07 and 1.08 the review bombing and outrage started.
But since the course correction of Update 1.11 the economy has tilted dramatically the other way.
There are some huge rewards now available. Some are one-off infusions of cash such as Circuit Experience rewards and endurance missions, but others are repeatable and highly exploitable.
A Tomahawk in Tokyo
The Tokyo Expressway World Touring Car 600 event can get you 825,000 credits in 20 minutes. It can be even faster if you can avoid barrier collision penalties.
Just one 20-minute race earns enough credits to cover the three new cars that arrived in Update 1.13, which seems like an oversight on the part of Polyphony.
The GT7 community expected a Tomahawk nerf to come flying in with Update 1.13, but it didn't. You can still blast your way around Tokyo and farm credits at a rapid rate.
Now there will always be an optimum way to build your balance in a game. There is no getting around that. However, most games tend to have a nice balance. Letting you rotate options that are roughly equal in credits-per-minute.
That has not been the case with Gran Turismo 7, first it was Fisherman's Ranch and now it's Tomahawk/Tokyo. That is a real shame.
Despite amazing locations and a strong roster of cars, there is a good chunk of players who are just spending their time in one machine and at one track to buy up cars they may never use.
How to fix it
The first thing Polyphony needs to do is figure out how to stop the Tomahawk exploit.
Settings had to be tweaked after Update 1.13, but you can still get your Tomahawk under 600 PP even as it hits nearly 300mph.
Maybe they need to put a blanket ban on VGTs for some events. Maybe setting these high-reward events as timed ones rather than laps would work. The 30-minute Le Mans race is still easy with the Tomahawk, but you have to race for 30 minutes regardless of how many laps you do.
Some players may question why these exploits even need to be removed. Simply put, they break the gameplay cycle. If you are repeatedly racing the Tokyo WTC 600 in a legitimate 600 PP car then that's great. But to be taking a 300 mph monster for a spin and shortcutting the racing is not a good thing.
As we said, there will always be a most-profitable way to play a racing game like GT7. But to have such a cracked exploit that has seen players rack up more than 50,000 miles on one car goes against the ethos of Gran Turismo 7.
This is a game that wants you to traverse automotive history, feel the passion and power in each manufacturer and track.
In the end, you're missing out if you are just spending your time only in the Tomahawk. We hope Polyphony is able to put in a fix for the exploit, but also balance out some of the events so that there are multiple ways of earning the most for your time in Gran Turismo 7.