Yes, GT4 has 700 cars (read Autoblog's first impressions here and here). Yes, the graphics are overhauled (1080i on my Sony HDTV looks incredible). Yes, there are a ton more tracks (of the race and sound variety) - but how does it DRIVE (at least compared to GT3)? If you don't want to read this whole post, the short answer is "harder and more realistic." Yes, we disabled all the driving aids - after all, everyone knows that only sissy-automatic- driving-bedwetters need traction control.

The first thing you notice is the sensation of speed. As your velocity increases, the scenery blurs at an increasing rate and the sound of wind rushing around your car heightens your awareness that you are moving. 

Then you hit the brakes for the first time. You?ll notice very quickly that the braking points are a bit more unforgiving. Late braking? Good luck - your buddies will be calling you Mr. Plow when they see you completely miss your first turn. Trail braking is tricky as the car will resist your efforts to turn depending on how hard you?re braking. Unlike GT3, when you brake you can see and feel the nose dive.

Steering and gas/brake input sensitivity has been greatly improved. GT3, while it supported the analog feature of the analog sticks (duh) was a bit vague in the gray areas.  Most of the time you had to steer all the way in one direction, and applying part throttle was sketchy at best. Turn on the controls display on one of your old replays and you?ll notice the controls pushed all the way one way or another. The GT4 engine on the other hand has upped the resolution on the old sticks and will let you precisely dial in steering or throttle correction.

The rest of the driving experience can be summarized in two terms - understeer and snap oversteer - both of which, while adding to the realism, takes some getting used to. Go into a corner too hot in the old GT3 and you can slam on the brakes or lift to compensate to pull off near miraculous powerslides at triple digit speeds to clear your turn. Look at a corner the wrong way in
GT4, and it?s off in the dirt you?ll go. Lift in the middle of a turn and your tail will come out.

Yes, I called in sick today to play GT4. No, I?m not ashamed. I need to practice for a track day next week.

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