Gran Designs - Day Five: Gran Turismo HD

GT HD comes with ten cars, which is boosted to 20 in the Time Trial section thanks to selectable tuned versions of that original ten. Finally, after a decade of whining, you can select a proper, actual, red Ferrari. Not some clone or a body-kit rip-off, but the genuine Ferrari 599 - and it’s available in 17 colors. You’ll pick red, of course, but it’s nice that the makers have put the effort in and finally done the deal with Ferrari. Hopefully this means the full back catalog of Italian supercars will appear in GT5. That alone will make it the hottest GT yet.

As for tracks, well, there’s either one or two depending on who you listen to. You get the brand new Eiger Nordwand mountain circuit to race around, either forwards or reversed. Hence the possible miscounting. It’s a decent track. Narrow yet fast, it’s tough and has enough bends to let you get the hang of the controls - and start to use the PS3 controller’s “new” analog trigger as your car throttle. Good to see Sony finally catching up with Dreamcast.

When racing the Drift Trial, a line of ten empty flags appears on screen each time you approach a corner. By braking and powersliding you fill up these flags, with longer drifts filling more flags and giving you more points. That’s it - only you might want to turn off the Traction Control if you fancy your chances of getting your replay uploaded to the worldwide top-ten list for everyone else to watch. Traction Control is to powersliding what salt is to slugs - you know what to do.

When behind the wheel, things feel like they always have. Slippery, powerful cars punish you for mistakes, and if you’re brave enough to turn off the driving aids, it gets harder still. Touch a curb, put your wheels on the grass or bounce up in the air and spin around 360 degrees before smashing into a barrier and your Drift Trial score resets, so off you start again on the next bend. It’s simple, but with ten differently handling cars and loads of tire options to make them feel a little different each time you take them out for a ride, there’s plenty to do and you never run the risk of becoming bored.

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