Nothing beats playing a driving game on a massive projection screen. In this article sponsored by BenQ, we will be looking at the ultimate console driving game, Gran Turismo 7. While Kam is our resident gamer at Projector Reviews, I leaped at the opportunity to review this version of Gran Turismo.
I've always loved this game series because I am a hard-core auto enthusiast and Gran Turismo 7 allows car fans like me to drive my favorite cars on some of the best tracks/roads in the world. I am not alone when it comes to being a crazed Gran Turismo fan. There is an online GT Sport racing series based on the game. This game series is why I have purchased every generation of PlayStation, starting with the PS1.
So, when I heard that game developer Polyphony Digital was working with Sony Interactive Entertainment on Gran Turismo 7, I went searching for a new PlayStation 5 Console. This is because Gran Turismo games have always been a way for Sony to highlight the full capabilities of their latest PlayStation gaming consoles.
Gran Turismo 7 is a Sony PlayStation exclusive and it is available on disc and digital download; the PS5 version retails for USD 69.99, while the PS4 version sells for $59.99.
The game includes a huge amount of cars and tracks, so it would take months to explore every aspect of this game. My goal is to give you a peak at what it’s like to play a high-end driving game on a projection system.
For this review, I utilized the BenQ TK700 we reviewed a few months ago. The TK700, which retails for $1399, is a 4K lamp-based gaming projector with a rated brightness of 3,200 ANSI lumens. The projector’s high brightness makes it an excellent option for gaming or viewing content in a room with moderate ambient light. I connected my PlayStation 5 to the BenQ TK700 via a 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 cable. I projected the TK700 onto my lab's 100-inch Elite Screen CineWhite 1.1 gain screen.
Since the TK700 targets gamers, BenQ knew that response time is critical. When in Game mode, the TK700 has a rated input lag of 4K@60Hz: 16.67ms, 1080p@240Hz: 4.16ms, 1080p@120Hz: 8.33ms, and 1080p@60Hz: 16.67ms. In addition to low lag, the projector includes a unique game mode for FPS gaming with audio, visual, and optimized latency settings.
The TK700’s ability to deliver 3,200 ANSI lumens and display 96% Rec.709 color space ensures that the projector delivers a bright, colorful image while retaining highlight detail when in HDR Game mode.
You can select several views while playing Gran Turismo 7, but I usually choose the in-car view. When I was playing the game on my 100” screen, it felt like I was sitting inside a full-size vehicle looking through the windshield. Gran Turismo on a projection screen is the closest most of us will ever get to driving a multi-million-dollar sportscar at 150 miles an hour on the Tokyo Expressway.
Each car’s cockpit view is rendered with amazing accuracy. For example, the interior of the 70’s Datsun Z car in my Gran Turismo 7 car collection looked nearly identical to the real vehicle I have sitting in my garage.
Under Gran Turismo 7's settings menu, you can maximize frame rate or utilize ray tracing. I choose ray tracing to maximize picture quality. While ray tracing isn’t enabled in races, it can be utilized during non-gameplay (photo mode, replays, and the garage), and on the BenQ TK700, it looked amazing. It really looks like you are interacting with the real world. Since the TK700 can display a sharp 4K image, small details like loose gravel on the ground or a sign in the distance are easily visible.
The projector’s accurate out-of-the-box color reproduction ensured the Ferrari Red looked like Ferrari Red in real life. The BenQ TK700 HDR game mode delivered a vivid image while maintaining highlight details like clouds in the bright sky. With or without raytracing, GT7 delivered the most realistic-looking driving gaming experience from a gaming console I have ever seen.
The PS5 version of Gran Turismo also supports immersive 3D Audio. This technology does a great job accurately recreating directional sounds coming at you. While the projector’s 5-watt sound system is surprisingly good for its compact size, I wanted to utilize a bigger sound system. I connected my PlayStation 5 directly to the TK700 and fed the audio to my soundbar using the projector’s Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) enabled HDMI connection. HDMI eARC can pass very high bandwidth and supports uncompressed audio surround formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio. This ensures that the A/V receiver or soundbar receives the maximum quality audio signal that my PlayStation 5 could deliver.
Gran Turismo 7 is described as a “real driving simulator,” and the game’s physics simulation model has been carefully refined over 25 years to deliver the most immersive and realistic driving experience possible. Factors like the time of day and weather conditions impact handling and even engine output. For example, when it rains, tire grip is reduced where there are puddles. Whether you’re driving a Porsche 911 or a modified Subaru WRX, every car looks and drives how you would expect them to in the real world.
Gran Turismo 7 is designed to be challenging to the driving game fan but still enjoyable for the casual gamer. You could spend months exploring road courses around the world and collecting and customizing vehicles. The game is centered around a car-themed resort full of different pavilions.
If you are playing solo, you will spend most of your time in the World Circuit Pavilion, where you’ll find tracks and events on three continents - Europe, America, and Asia-Oceania.
To learn the driving fundamentals like braking and cornering, there is a License Center Pavilion where you are awarded trophies and credit by completing time trails as quickly as possible.
When you complete challenges or win races, you are rewarded with vehicles to add to your collection and credits. For example, you collect a themed trio of vehicles like European compact and classic cars by achieving goals listed in the menu books available at the GT Café Pavilion. You will gradually unlock the rest of the pavilions and additional challenges along the way.
While the game costs about $70, I spent $20 on 2,000,000 credits to buy and modify the additional cars for my collection. While I could have earned the vehicles and credits by winning races, I was too slow and impatient, so I took the easy route. There is a Used Car Pavilion where you can spend credits buying additional cars to add to your collection.
There are over 400 cars to choose from and nearly 100 different track layouts. Not only is there a huge variety of vehicles, but users can also enhance their rides' performance. In fact, more than 60 tuning parts are available for each car in the game.
If you want to customize the look of your cars, more than 650 aero parts and 130-plus wheels are available. You could spend days in the Tuning Shop and GT Auto Pavilions just modifying your race car before you even hit the track. Livery Editor lets players edit the exterior appearance of their car, like changing the paint color and adding stickers/decals. There are over 1200 available paint colors.
Your vehicles are stored in the Garage Pavilion for you to admire. Use the Scapes mode to take photographs of your favorite cars in more than 2500 locales. Each "Spot" was captured with HDR technology and projected in amazing detail by the BenQ TK700 on my 100” screen. Lastly, you can share your photos, designs, and replay with other enthusiasts around the world in the Showcase area
If you really want to maximize your GT7 gaming, you should seriously consider purchasing a steering wheel and peddle set. There are several great options available from companies like Thrustmaster and Logitech. As we mention, the TK700’s input lag is just 16ms when gaming 4K@60P, so when you turn the steering wheel, the one shown on screen responds nearly instantly.
Even if you just use the DualSense controller included with the PlayStation®5, GT7 makes full use of the Haptic Feedback and Adaptive Triggers so the controller’s vibration closely matches what is happening on screen.
Up to 24 people can compete online, but the game includes a two-player split-screen option so you and your buddy can sit on the couch and race other. This is another situation where gaming on a massive projection screen is much better than utilizing a tiny 55” or 65” TV.
I do not consider myself a hardcore gamer and have the reflex of a three-toed sloth, but because I am such a big car enthusiast and there was much to explore, I enjoyed playing Gran Turismo 7. In the past, I have used projectors to play older versions of Gran Turismo, but the immersive bright HDR image delivered by the BenQ TK700 enhanced the game experience.