Gran Turismo Sport’s high-end bonuses: HDR is incredible, but VR is not – Ars Technica


As Ars’s resident car guru Jonathan Gitlin tears through the racing nuts and bolts of this week’s new racing video game, Gran Turismo Sport, he has asked me to kill time by reviewing its higher-end elements. Namely, Jon owns neither a PlayStation VR headset nor a 4K HDR display, and both of those are specifically and uniquely supported by the latest Gran Turismo game (and first in the series for the PlayStation 4 Pro).

Basically, he wants to feel better about not buying either of those ridiculous gadgets. I have good news and bad news for him.

4K/HDR performance: A well-oiled machine

Let’s start with the high-end TV stuff. This applies specifically to TVs rated for both 4K resolution (a 3840×+2160 pixel count) and HDR-10 color gamut, and you’ll need a PlayStation 4 Pro to capitalize on the combination. All PlayStation 4 consoles are capable of pushing HDR-10 color, but its effects are far more dramatic with a higher pixel count, and you’ll need a PS4 Pro for that.

Anybody who owns a display rated for HDR-10 content knows how hard it is to find showcase material—the kind that looks amazing to anyone, as opposed to that sort of “I swear this is a pretty scene” TV snake-oil. Complicating matters are a variety of “HDR” films and content that aren’t truly mastered for the higher-gamut standard, not to mention the fact that for games to really be in HDR, they need a complete HDR-specific color and texture pass.

Forza Motorsport 7 looks quite good on my display, but as we said in that game’s review, it is an example of HDR shoehorned onto a project designed specifically for standard-gamut screens. Certain details, like a blast of distant sun or a hanging light in a tunnel, can pop in Forza 7 at an HDR display’s peak gamut rating, but the rest of the content, from racetrack details to car paint jobs to even the expansive blue skies above a course, can suffer from unoptimized color detail.

Gran Turismo Sport, on the other hand, is absolutely built for the “I spent way too much on my TV” crowd. There’s really nothing like it on the market, and that’s coming from a guy who has watched Planet Earth II on a 4K HDR screen at least 37 times since reviewing it.

The primary point of differentiation comes from the lights on all of the cars. Every headlight and taillight is, literally, brilliant. As in, they’re bright as all get-out, packed with pure red, yellow, and white color data. Most electric-powered lights in the game are cranked to the highest gamut rating so that they produce a natural glare effect in your eyes, instead of relying on the usual baked “light glow” effect you commonly see in any car commercial. With HDR enabled and less artificial glow in the way, you also get to see the tiny light arrays that sometimes come packed in high-end headlight arrays.

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