Like copping off with Rachel Stevens an hour after you got dumped by Cameron Diaz, there's good news and there's bad news.
Bad news first: GT4 Prologue, the hatchback-sized version of GT4 released in Japan at a budget price, isn't getting a UK release. If you want a copy you'll have to buy it on import.
Good news: we've driven Prologue till the engine blew and we can tell you this - GT4 is going to freakin' rock!
Prologue may only have five of the 100-plus tracks in GT4, and only features 61 cars from a promised showroom of over 500. Plus, it only lets you drive time-trials and daft licence tests, and doesn't offer a peek at the online modes we've got such a massive boner about. But it does remind us why Gran Turismo is the ultimate driving experience.
Forget about the statistics for a minute and look at those screenshots! It's like developers Polyphony Digital have busted the PS2 wide open, yanked out all the graphics hardware and juiced out every last drip of sexiness. GT3 looked so good it still puts other racers to shame. GT4 really is even better.
Project Gotham Who?
Every one of the five tracks in Prologue looks beautiful. Tsubuka Raceway and Fuji Speedway are dedicated race tracks so there's not much background detail, but the Grand Canyon rally stage, New York and Italy's Citte di Aria all look wicked. Take a look at New York's Times Square or the amazing view across the fields of Tuscany and ask yourself - whatas the big deal about Project Gotham 2 again?
On top of that, added visual elements help to make the racing more interesting, especially on the Grand Canyon rally level. As you slip 'n' slide around, 3D crowds wave and cheer. Some really brave nutters even snap photos from the middle of the road, leaping from your path as you spray grit up their arses. It makes tracks in other racing games look more deserted than a Michael Jackson concert at a nursery school.
Car In The Community
But what about the cars? Well, you know how mint that Subaru Impreza looks as it growls down the high street? It looks even better wearing GT4's gleaming, polygon bodykit. From the crappest little dingers, to roaring beasts like the McLaren F1, they all look tastier than Jennifer Ellison swimming topless in a pool full of lager. More importantly, they actually look like they're riding the road surface. Hit a bump and the suspension will soak it up sending sparks everywhere, slam on the brakes and the nose will graze the tarmac. It's perfect.
The Drive Of Your Life
And it's possible because the guys who make GT care so much about cars that they drink petrol with their morning coffee. So much work has gone into researching, tracking down and recreating all of GT4's cars that our lazy-arsed brains can't even comprehend it. But it shows.
Oh yes, it shows. Each car handles realistically, accurately, and distinctly. Use the new Logitech wheel and you'll swear you were driving the real thing. It's sheer driving bliss.
Sex On Wheels
Bizarrely, this awesome realism could be the only black mark on GT4's MOT. It's going to be so in-depth it's in danger of disappearing up it's own carbon-fibre tailpipe, and if you couldn't give a monkey's nutsack about cars then GT4 will be more intimidating than an angry James Earl Cash asking for a lend of a tenner.
But if you know your Fiats from your Ferraris the whole experience will be more exciting and satisfying than an evening with Britney Spears in the back seat of a Bentley.
See, Gran Turismo 4 is going to be more than just a game; it's about loving the automobile. After razzing Prologue until the wheels came off we can't wait to get GT4 on the road, open her up, and fill her full of our five-star love fuel.
We'll have to wait until summer, but on the evidence of Prologue, GT4 is on the road to truly being the ultimate driving game.