Gran Turismo: Ranking every GT game ever

The real driving simulator used to be the king of sims, but which titles are the best of them all?

179290097 168489101828607 1228396287122330352 n by George Howson
Gran Turismo best list tn

Gran Turismo is one of the most-recognisable video game series of all time.

GT basically invented the modern racing simulator, having been at the forefront of racing game technology since the PS1 days.

While fans wait for Gran Turismo 7 to arrive, we go over the very best, and worst, installments in the Polyphony series.

7. Gran Turismo 6

As with every GT game, at the time of its release, nothing could match this title in terms of the quality of its simulation. However, as a game, Gran Turismo 6 wasn’t playable.

Gran Turismo 6
LOW POINT: GT6 is generally regarded as the worst in the series

What makes a good game great is accessible to both hardcore and casual fans. You had to be a hardcore sim racer to enjoy GT6, a casual fan would not have fun with this.

Its collection of “premium” cars and cars in general did increase from GT5, as did the number of circuits available, so those are positives.

If you aren’t in a premium vehicle, though, it’s still like playing a PS2 game, as sound and damage are poor for a game which came out in 2013.

The graphics were cutting-edge on PS3, but the PS4 was released months earlier and we never got an upgrade to the new system.

This was a huge missed opportunity for Polyphony, and it reflected in the sales, being the worst-performing GT commercially. This is a long way from a bad game, though, but it doesn’t cater to every crowd.

6. Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5’s long and troubled development had us worried at the time and parallels can already be drawn between it and GT7 in this regard. GT5 was the first Gran Turismo on PS3 and also the first where Forza Motorsport overtook the series.

Like GT6, this is far from a bad game, but it felt like a remastered GT4.

Gran Turismo 5 1
CRACKS BEGINNING TO SHOW: GT5 started the downward spiral of the series

If you were driving one of the game’s 275 Premium Cars, nothing else in racing could match it. However, if you were in one of the 850 Standard Cars, you were driving GT4 on PS3.

It was impressive how many cars and how many circuits were included in GT5, but Polyphony bit off way more than they could chew.

The biggest thing than GT5 brought to the table was arguably its track creator, something that many series have failed to replicate since. Multiplayer (when it worked) was impressive, as was the handling model.

5. Gran Turismo Sport

GT5 and GT6 were below par by Polyphony’s very high standards, but GT Sport marked a shift in emphasis and rejuvenated the GT series. To date, this is the most recent GT title and the only one on PS4.

Gran Turismo Sport
A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: GT Sport brought the series’ fun factor

GT Sport changed gears to an online approach, something that was bittersweet. The good was that it’s very fun and refreshing, but the bad was that the single player mode suffered.

Track and car selection were at their lowest since GT3 and the penalty system is problematic to say the least.

However, the VR support was cutting edge, and both the sound and graphics were markedly improved. It was good to see more modern cars too, as the car models from the PS2 had finally been ditched.

Sport was arguably the worst GT when it released, but consistent updates by Polyphony have meant that GT Sport has climbed the rankings to fifth on our list.

4. Gran Turismo 4

This is where the list gets difficult to order, as Gran Turismo 1-4 are all true greats of racing games. All of these titles are at least 9 out of 10 titles, there’s no question about it.

Gran Turismo 4 was released only three years after GT3, but it made huge strides to improve upon its predecessor. The car collection was expanded to the series’ highest at the time (722) with over 50 tracks to race them on.

Gran Turismo 4
BEAUTIFUL: Even today, GT4 looks impressive

The handling and physics models were also improved, but a certain Forza Motorsport emerged on Xbox and was beginning to challenge GT.

GT4 was definitely better than its Microsoft rival, but the gap was shrinking between the major racing sims.

Graphically, this was stunning for the time, being the first GT to be optimised for HD (even if the graphics weren’t HD). GT4 also brought in a driver manager mode, something that was a decade ahead of its time.

3. Gran Turismo 2

It feels so harsh to put GT2 at third on our list, but such is the quality of GT, a 10 out of 10 game finds itself here. Despite only being released two years after GT1, Gran Turismo 2 expanded the car collection four-fold, up to 650.

Gran Turismo 2
A TRUE EVOLUTION: GT2 improved hugely on the previous game

Graphics were hugely improved, and the track collection (27) was more than double its predecessor. This was the last hurrah for the original PlayStation and what a way to go out!

The sound and handling model were also refined, but there was an issue which sees this game miss out on the top two. Upon release, there was a major glitch which saw cars disappear from your garage.

In the days before the internet was the beast it is now; this would’ve been hugely frustrating and confusing for gamers. However, this was rare and when GT2 worked, it was the best out there bar none.

2. Gran Turismo

The one which started it all, the first true racing simulator. Gran Turismo took five years to develop, beginning before the first PlayStation had even been envisioned.

Gran Turismo 1
THE PRODIGY: What began a small project became the biggest racing game ever at the time

Graphics, sound, handling, car collection, soundtrack, everything was cutting edge. You were left in no question as to how good this was and how much effort and time were invested in creating it.

Before Gran Turismo, racing games were generally arcade games. They were fun, for around half an hour until your change ran out of.

Gran Turismo was a game you could play for hundreds of hours and still come back for more, it was truly revolutionary.

When an entire sub-genre is based upon your game and trying to emulate it, you know it’s something special. That was Gran Turismo and we really hope that GT can recapture this on PS5.

1. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

If you read our list of the best racing games of all-time, you should’ve seen this coming. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec is the best experience that GT has ever produced and the best racing game of all-time.

gran turismo 3 a spec
THE BEST OF ALL-TIME: GT3 is not only the best of the series, but the best racing game ever

GT3 was the first of the series to be released on the PS2, and Polyphony made perfect use of the new hardware. This is still the best-selling game in the series’ history too, shipping over 15 million copies worldwide!

GT3 has a handling model that some games cannot match even today. While the number of cars was heavily reduced from GT2, (181 compared to 650) the detail in the car models was unparalleled.

The level of detail that was also put into the game’s single player mode was incredible too. You did feel as though you were a real driver, not someone controlling a computer-generated racer.

Maybe we’ve got nostalgia goggles on, but the graphics don’t look bad at all, especially considering this game came out in 2001. So, quality definitely won against quantity.

George Howson

Currently playing F1 2021, Gran Turismo Sport and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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