After feeling your heart flood with air guitar warmth during the opening sequence, going on to nail a couple of new tracks in Arcade mode and opening up the Gran Turismo Resort map, how does GT4 reward you for completing your first cup?
With a 1.4 Volkswagen Lupo. Geez, not much has changed, then. Developers Polyphony Digital still want to make you drive your ass to breaking point before you can afford to take the fastest, most desirable motors in the game for a test drive.
While some of the new features in GT4 do ultimately feel like padding to make up for the lack of a broadband multiplayer element, they do give you an appreciation of the craft that's gone into producing this supreme driving experience.
Now you don't have to simply put up with flooring a staggering collection of contemporary and classic cars around the most testing, beautifully realised racetracks on PlayStation 2, you can take on the role of race team manager and photographer as well.
Naturally, you'll dip into Arcade mode first to try out the new courses and cars. It's here that you'll find that as well as racing in the regular fashion, you've got the option to see things from a different perspective.
You can select your car and course as usual, but instead of putting you in the driving seat, you're charged with making difficult decisions from the viewpoint of a team manager. Difficult decisions like, er, 'overtake now', 'pit stop', 'drive slower' or 'drive faster'.
As always, GT mode's where you'll spend the bulk of your game time, passing licences, entering races, spunking your winnings on new cars and tuning them into next week. It's more enticing than before, with a guide map presenting you with the various routes you can take.
The game's problems? The AI of your rival drivers still proves a little basic at times. Combined with the lack of car damage, it does just enough to briefly spoil your suspension of disbelief.
No. Gran Turismo 4 isn't perfect. Nor is Metal Gear Solid 3. Nor (whisper it) Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. But life's too short to worry about their imperfections. Buy GT4. It's the only real driving simulator worth getting.
Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.