Then there’s Europe, featuring classics like Ferrari, Aston Martin and Lamborghini, and famous tracks including the likes of Le Mans and Spa Francorchamps. Milan features some beautifully detailed street circuits too. And in Japan, where drift racing is what you’ll be specialising in, the EGO engine is pumping out polys at full pelt, making sure that you’re dazzled by a heady combination of tight car physics, crowds and kaleidoscopic, blinding neon signage.

Yes, GRID features drift racing, but Codemasters is adamant it’s something they’ve wanted to implement for a couple of years. The fact that some notable other driving games featured it merely provided some pointers for what and what not to do. In the docks of Yokohama in Tokyo you’ll be competing in four types of event: Drift GP, which has you racking up as many points as possible over a section of a circuit; Freestyle sees you doing the same thing in an open environment; Drift Battle is a race which awards you points for style and track position; and Downhill Drift takes a leaf out of cult racer Initial D’s book and pits a pair of cars on looping, downhill lengths of open road.

It’s a driving model that works extremely well. It sits neatly within the rest of the game, rather than feeling like a bolted-on extra to have to get to grips with. The ultimate success of a chain of drifts depends on a subtle blend of steering, feathered throttle and pure confidence. And like the rest of the game, it feels right. The driving is a real pleasure. We’ll have to see how its Career mode works out to see whether or not GT5 will have anything to fear.

Apr 2, 2008