Gran Turismo 7 Accessibility
There are a lot of areas where Gran Turismo 7 does well, from assist features to DualSense haptics, but expect a lot of reading and little to no blind accessibility. It's still a good step forward for the franchise and an enjoyable one.
Score7.5 out of 10
- Legible subtitles for dialogue, but none is spoken
- Gentle assist features for braking and steering
- Haptics actually feel functional
- Difficulty modes to change AI performance
- Remapping available
- Lots of reading and numbers
- Immersive adaptive triggers feel uncomfortable
- No way to increase text and adjust background opacities
- No blind accessibility such as narration or directions
It’s nearly time to put pedal to the metal with Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 7 that is heading to PS4 and PS5, and we’re here to get into the accessibility of it all. Those wondering what to expect in general can find a racing simulator for the car enthusiast that bleeds proudness about cars, their history, and following circuit racing rules. It’s also set against a populated soundtrack that makes you feel like you’re racing in a mixture of an arcade but also a music video.
For accessibility, Gran Turismo 7 actually does a fair few things well, both through assist features and design. However, don’t come into this expecting the level of mobility assistance you can find in Forza Horizon 5, however, what’s available is still interesting.
Boot the Engines
When you first boot the game, you’ll find a number of the usual setup for display settings, HDR, and the like. However, there’s nothing in relation to game settings before you jump in, and depending on how installed your game is, there are 2 ways of jumping in. Either through the Music Rally mini-game or straight into the main game.
If your game is still installing, but in a playable state, you’ll be able to partake in 3 Music Rally races with 2 of those needing completion of the first. These mini-games find you driving around a circuit like the main game, but you’ve got to get through checkpoints for the duration of a song that’s playing.
That song also makes a few UI elements pulsate with the beat, while not all that intrusive for me personally, I could see the constantness of it being annoying.
It’s during these mini-games that you can start setting up and experimenting with your control schemes, so let’s talk about that next.
Control Configurations and Assist Presets
You’ll have to go through 2 different setup windows before you can jump behind the wheel of a car. The first is steering controls, allowing the choice of controlling the car with the left stick, the d-pad, or using gyro control. Gyro controls are something I tested and found the sensitivity, even set to low was too sensitive and so I ignored the feature after that.
Next is how the pedals are controlled, allowing the triggers to be used, the Cross and Square buttons, or the right stick. These also make adjustments to the manual transmission controls should you be deciding to go down that gameplay avenue.
Following that, 3 assist presets in Gran Turismo 7 are presented with some nice accessibility features.
One is for beginners and offers:
- Auto-drive for braking and steering control
- Visual indicators for corners and a driving line to follow
- Breaking indicators
- Breaking areas
- Automatically replacing the car after leaving the track.
Another is for intermediate players and offers:
- Auto-drive control for braking only
- Visual indicators for corners and a driving line to follow
- Braking Indicator
- Breaking Area
For the expert settings, there’s a lot less offered with only corner indicators for driving line assistance available.
With the auto-drive function, these do not control my vehicle for me entirely, instead, there’s still a large degree of control needed from my end. What it does is helps monitor how smooth the steering is. For example, I enjoy driving on Expert mode, but when I turn a corner with a heavy turn, I’m prone to oversteer, and if I just let go of the wheel on a full turn, it’ll snap back and make the car react accordingly, sometimes spinning out.
With auto-drive, AI takes over those bits in between and makes for a smoother transition rather than snappy.
The auto-braking is the one that requires little input as I could drive at a corner at 100mph and it would automatically start braking to help me reach a suitable speed to turn that corner. However, I still needed to monitor my speed and additional braking while driving around and leaving that corner so I didn’t lose speed or control.
What’s more, all of these settings can be adjusted to your custom preference at any time by accessing the start menu settings area.
More Settings Hidden Away
It was only after a handful of hours before I realized that there are other options hidden away.
Prior to this, I was under the assumption that what was available from the in-game pause menu was it — This menu only contains ways to choose from assist, controller, and display settings.
It wasn’t until I ventured to the top-left of the World area accidentally that I realized the game’s logo actually has more areas to explore. This can also be accessed by pressing the start button from this screen.
Features available from here include ones I was confused about not seeing so prominently, such as audio levels, vibration intensity, remapping, and much more.
Supported controllers come with remapping, allowing for every button to be assigned to specific gameplay actions, and there’s quite a bit available. You can also remap a player 2 controller and choose the vibration levels for that controller.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of everything available from the menus, you can check out our Gran Turismo 7 menu deep dive (Coming soon!).
The World and Menus
The main part of Gran Turismo 7 is the driving, of course, but the second main part is exploring the world from a HUB screen with various areas to visit to achieve different tasks. This can range from maintaining your car from the wear and tear each vehicle gets over time, visiting garages for buying cars and gear, navigating the globe to participate in races, either single-player or multiplayer and even taking pretty pictures.
There are 2 ways of navigating menu elements, and that’s through either cursor style control, or through d-pad snapping control. I actually find the snapping to be really well done and I’m not snapping between a bunch of areas for ages before I reach my target selection. This is also the case when navigating the menus in racing gameplay.
The legibility of these areas is interesting because they all stand out clearly through their design, should it be through a noticeable logo, or through a nicely contrasted menu bar, even walls of textual information have a nice dark and faded background to stand out against the backdrop.
However, a lot of it would benefit from a bit of rescaling allowed, especially in areas where you can modify your car’s performance and have blocks of text.
But otherwise, I feel incredibly at ease using the menus and navigating the world in Gran Turismo 7, and the fact that driving happens only on the track means there’s no large slog between point-A and point-B. Generally, I never felt like I was lost in a maze of menus, and with the yellow icon indicator to direct your attention to a required point of interest, I was mostly aware of what to do next.
It’s only really where confusing car terminology can start feeling overwhelming, especially if you’re not as clued up on car terms. Thankfully though, knowing this information isn’t a requirement as I’ve upgraded my car by just reading the short summary of parts.
While there’s a large level of simulation available for performance tuning, I never felt like I had to go all the way into it unless I was instructed by the game to do so for a quick objective. Really, the best way to upgrade your vehicle is to buy a high-performance car, then ramp that performance up with some upgrades to increase the PP. There’s no need to get into the nitty-gritty unless you really want to.
Subtitles With No Audio
Gran Turismo 7 feels great with deaf accessibility. There is no audible dialogue at all, instead, all dialogue is presented as text, complete with a nicely contrasting background and a speaker name and avatar. The majority of the time, you’re able to progress through the text at your own pace, but sometimes there are timed moments where dialogue just vanishes.
For the contrasting backgrounds, the majority of dialogue appears on a faded but very black gradient, while sometimes other lines are on a type of glossy grey background. Thankfully both don’t appear to be too problematic and the text feels nice and clear in most instances.
Let’s be clear, Gran Turismo 7 is a simulator. You’ll experience engine troubles, oversteer, understeer, spinning out, electrical failing, clutch issues. You’ll even have to get your favorite car serviced to check on the oil levels and upgrade it to take part in other events that require a higher PP.
It’s also required that you follow the rules of track racing to ensure you get the best performance possible. What I mean here is that you can’t go approaching a corner at 60mph and expect to just carry on driving off-track. No, you’ve got to balance your breaking and your acceleration, and then you’ve got to control your steering as well.
As I highlighted earlier, the are assists that help to an extent, but the game still requires input from the player. The braking system really helps those who want to focus more on balancing their acceleration instead of constantly pressing the brake pedal, while the steering assist is remarkably useful to have when it comes to avoiding the whip from lacking the precision in steering that can be required for a better time.
Also, having visual indicators on-screen is wonderfully helpful, the driving line especially, however, the on-screen HUD is somewhat overbearing. While you can reduce what’s displayed a tiny bit, it’s still a lot of information to take in — from track layouts, speedometer, engine information, race standings.
There’s also a full track map in the top-right that shows where you are in relation to the whole map, but there’s also a 3D GPS view in the bottom-right corner that I would prefer to place in the top-right.
I would have liked to see some settings to adjust the background opacity of each element to help with legibility. When in cockpit view, these were always fairly visible, even with a blooming sunset appearing for a short period of time thanks to the darkness of the car dashboard.
Now the interesting part, which is where things get a bit more serious. There are some track events that have rules such as ensuring you’re holding the brake down at the starting line to avoid a penalty. There’s also a Sport mode for online races that requires you to keep guidelines in mind such as checking your mirrors before you brake, avoiding collisions, etc.
Thankfully, in my experience, most of these regulations felt quite separate from main story progression despite the odd few.
Progression Barriers and Difficulty
There is a bit of a forced requirement for progression throughout. Pretty much every race, training school, or mini-game has requirements to finish a race in bronze standing or higher. If you’re playing on the mid-tier difficulty, this can be challenging. Thankfully, difficulty can be changed at any point from those hidden settings I mentioned earlier.
For a more detailed understanding, difficulty works by changing how the AI drives, Easy difficulty makes for a more enjoyable experience for new drivers, Normal has a standard AI speed set, and then the Hard mode has the AI striving to do its best.
Now, while I can choose to use the assist modes in conjunction with the race difficulty modes, it’s noted that changing the difficulty apparently does not affect the prize money you earn which is great to see.
Additionally, when setting up a single-player arcade race it notes that regardless of your position, you should still earn the detailed credits for participating in a certain difficulty. The harder the difficulty, the more you earn.
For online play, while the default race creation settings allow assist options to be available, the host can set the use of some of these assist features to prohibited.
Basically, the lobby will have a mix of race types that allow assisting modes, and there’s a mixture of those that don’t, it just depends on how exclusive the host wants to be.
For single-player, that optional freedom to make it a more inclusive experience is great to have, and not being penalized for using assist or difficulty modes is always a nice touch.
I was pleasantly surprised by the haptics of the DualSense controller. There was never a moment where I felt overwhelmed by the vibrations, and moments where it can get rough off-track or on dirt tracks did feel heavy, I had the option to turn the intensity down.
Another thing, the haptics appear to only be confined to what you’d expect to feel from a real steering wheel. Small bumps in the road, rumbling from the apex of a corner, the road surface, another car nudging your backside, the clutch shifting. I was happy to experience these haptics because nothing felt unneeded.
I wasn’t feeling raindrops constantly tap against the window, everything had its place and helped me understand my terrain and car health as I drove, and that’s where Gran Turismo 7 does good for accessibility through haptic design.
However, the frustrating part of Gran Turismo 7 and immersion is actually the default settings for the adaptive triggers. The brake trigger has a resistance that is designed to mimic a brake pedal, so it’ll be a bit hard when you press down lightly.
Then there’s the juddering of the engine that is achieved through the triggers, with both the brake and acceleration making an uncomfortable judder as you press down on them. Not only does this feel horrible, but over time I started to grow concerned about the noise the triggers were making because they sounded like they themselves were dying. They weren’t, but it’s just that intense.
Thankfully, the strength of these can be adjusted, but I much prefer the haptics over adaptive triggers. Gran Turismo 7 feels like one of the few PS5 games where the haptics serves for a function rather than just for immersing players’ palms into a barrage of wobbles.
Cameras and Cockpit Shakes
There’s something odd about how Gran Turismo 7 handles cameras as well. In every other driving game, I prefer to use the chase camera set behind the vehicle, but for this, it feels much more comfortable to be within the car in cockpit view. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think it’s due to the chase camera being so tightly locked on the car that it feels unnatural and hard to gauge where to begin braking on the track.
I will say there are some nice features to adjust the camera in cockpit view, such as setting your height, depth to the wheel, offsetting the camera, and even choosing from 2 shake profiles. Profile 1 is the default and will reduce shake as much as it can, however, Profile 2 will let your head bobble more freely and will also result in the car’s frame moving around more with the track elements like bumps.
With ray-tracing, I will highlight that you should expect a lot of reflections on your window if you’re driving in cockpit view, and also there was a dirt track race that felt hard to see with the lights from behind illuminating the glass.
Gran Turismo 7 has a number of features and designs that are great for accessibility, and overall it does come together to make for an accessible track racing title. There’s not much point in comparing it to Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 5 because of the differences in gameplay with Gran Turismo 7 leaning heavily into the engine and performance simulations rather than fun action gameplay.
There’s still a large degree of player input needed with assist modes turned on, and the requirement to come Bronze or better could be a turn off, but thankfully using assist modes doesn’t seem to affect the in-game earnings certainly help with that.
The audio design is fantastic and with no dialogue only conveyed through text instead of spoken dialogue means that it’s mostly reading to follow the story — and there’s a lot of reading throughout the entire game. With the car’s performance rumbling through haptics and also on-screen indicators, I found myself understanding areas to improve on, such as not braking so hard on some corners, without the need of listening for issues.
Gran Turismo 7 has various successes with mobility and hearing accessibility, however, for cognitive it can be a touch overwhelming, even without the need to pay that much attention. There’s also no blind accessibility such as menu narration and options to increase or select and position the specific HUD elements would have been welcomed as well.
All in all, I found Gran Turismo 7 to be a pleasant experience, but it’s important to keep in mind that it is a simulator at the end of the day. That means, for this title, certain rules and requirements could keep providing a challenge no matter what difficulty you’re on.
A review copy of Gran Turismo 7 was provided by the developer / publisher.