From rallying at the Grand Canyon to drag-racing on the Vegas Strip to lapping the Nrburgring Nordschleife, Gran Turismo 4 offers a little bit of everything. The attention to detail is fantastic-the virtual ‘Ring is even covered with graffiti, just like the real thing.
More than 700 cars are available. Only Jay Leno has a more esoteric garage-and, in fact, his one-off Tank Car is featured. Taking a page from Need for Speed Underground, GT4 offers more tuning options than GT3. Nitrous, anyone?
Never has a song named for a small Latin American country so made us want to drive fast-Van Halen’s “Panama” is the highlight of the GT4 sound track. The song list leans toward rock (as opposed to Need for Speed Underground’s hip-hop flavor), so our only question is, where’s Golden Earring?
After several eye-reddening hours, the game’s built-in progress meter noted we were 1.1 percent of the way toward completing the game and 50 percent of the way toward being dumped by our girlfriend. You’ll be playing this game until Volkswagen makes back its investment on the Phaeton.
You can take your car to locations around the world and direct a photo shoot, then save your shots in a photo album. Show your imaginary-car photo album to others and experience real-time taunting.
Gran Turismo 4 ($50, www.playstation.com) usurps the Best Driving Game title from Need for Speed Underground 2 and ought to hold it until the arrival of its biggest challenger: Forza Motorsport for Xbox.