I’ve been playing a lot of this over the holiday. As I said in my Best Games of 2009 post yesterday, it’s a brilliant game. I know some people don’t like the lack of career mode, but the open nature of the game appeals greatly to me. I don’t have to grind round boring oval tracks if I don’t feel like it, I can just take one of my cars anywhere I please. (Often Laguna Seca, it being the racing track I know best. One day I’d love to drive it for real.)

Last, though, I mainly did the driving challenges, which are rather like the licence tests of old, but are a bonus, rather than a requirement. I got through a lot and now have over a million credits in the bank, but I’m having real trouble at the overtaking challenges. I’m just not a great driver, really.

I enjoy myself, though. I just wish I knew someone else with the game so I could sit there trading cars and racing against them. One of the chaps I work with loves the PS2 games, but hasn’t got any plans to get a PSP (or a PS3, for that matter).

And, lastly, I know the Gran Turismo games are often dismissed as tedious simulations for spotty car nerds, but that’s absolutely not the case here. I don’t car about cars in real life, but I love the excitement of the back end slipping out as you power round a corner or trying to keep the car straight when landing a jump. Gran Turismo is exciting, damn it – and even more so in this incarnation, because the structure means you’re not forced to tinker with incomprehensible settings or grind out races to afford a car that can get you through the next stage of career mode. It’s a huge, thrilling sandbox of heart-in-mouth, edge-of-seat driving excitement.

So there.