You could to say there are two distinct types of driving game fan – arcade and sim – but that would fail to account for possibly the largest group of all: the dreamers.
For this group, driving games are just as much about slipping into the seat of their dream ride and building up a garage of classic vehicles as they are about coming first in some race or other.
While there may be a few faults with how GT Racing Motor Academy HD goes about recreating this Gran Turismo/Forza-style fantasy ride, it still manages to impress with its sheer depth and breadth compared to its nearest rivals.
Gentlemen, start your engines
The career mode in GT Racing Motor Academy HD should look familiar to anyone who’s taken the PlayStation’s greatest racing series, Gran Turismo, out for a spin, right down to the way it requires you to obtain a license to drive each of the four categories of vehicle.
Like the home console franchise, it’s not exactly skimping on the range of cars and trucks you can drive, with masses of brands and famous models from the past 60 years available to drive.
The number of races, too, should be more than enough for any petrol-head, ranging from Contract Races (driving a pre-selected car), Championships (a long series of races for a certain weight or model), Constructors Events, and unlockable invitational races.
Where the game hits the barrier in terms of content is in the tracks, coming in at a measly 11. Even when the mirrored versions are taken into account, you’ll have driven everywhere the game can offer before you’ve even completed the first license.
When it comes to the pre-racing preparation, you can alter a number of differing aspects of the car, like the distribution of weight and the level of downforce on the front and back of the vehicle.
However, this extra level of detail in regards to the inner-workings of the vehicle is at odds with the driving itself, which, due to a variety of factors including a lack of manual gears and lack of wheelspin, remains a little too far inside the arcade camp for the game’s ambitions, even with the driver's aids off.
Another disappointing aspect of the game is the lack of damage modelling. Admittedly, this is an area car manufacturers seem unwilling to sanction most of the time, but some form of internal damage (or at least a cracked windscreen) would have added a bit more punishment when you over-egg a corner.
Despite GT Racing Motor Academy HD being more arcadey than it first appears, the cars are still fun to drive, and they each handle appreciatively differently from one another.
Whether it’s sliding out the back of an F150 across the corkscrew corner at Laguna Seca, nipping through Montreal city centre in a Mini, or blasting through the banked speedway in a Bugatti Veron, GT Racing Motor Academy HD always manages to conjure up something to get the pulse racing throughout its 8-10 hour Career mode.
The repetitive nature of the events will likely put most people off from going the whole distance, but it’s still a great ride while it lasts.