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5 Best Gran Turismo Games of All Time, Ranked

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Gran Turismo 7

Video game racing has never been the same since Gran Turismo debuted in 1997. This exhilarating racing game featured incredible aesthetic detail and an unparalleled level of realistic gameplay that earned it the title of “the real driving simulator.” Packed with real-life circuits, 175 customizable vehicles modeled from existing car brands, and authentic mechanisms of race car driving, Gran Turismo shifted gears and speedily became the all-time best-selling title for the original PlayStation console. 

More than twenty years later, this racing masterpiece developed by Polygon Digital still holds an impressive track record. Having sold more than 80 million copies to date, it is evident that the Gran Turismo series has not seen the last of its glory days. If anything, it has grown into a franchise with the GT Academy, which trains the best Gran Turismo players to become professional race-car drivers in the real world. 

There's a lot to say about this revolutionary racing game. However, this article will focus on the top five titles of the Grand Turismo series and let you in on what made them such an all-time success. 

Here are five best Gran Turismo games of all time, ranked.

5. Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2 - Offical trailer

When Gran Turismo 2 was released in 1999, it was an instant success. This second title in the Gran Turismo series is renowned for its stunning efforts to bring variety into the series. Gran Turismo 2 introduced not less than 360 new vehicles from remarkable car manufacturers worldwide. It didn't matter whether players wanted the ease and class of an Aston Martin or the roaring rage of a Dodge Challenger engine; Gran Turismo provided it all down to the last detail. The game also features 20 different racetracks and 40 exhilarating race combinations for its speed-driven fans. If road racing still isn't enough to scratch the racing itch for their players, Gran Turismo 2 also has an off-road mode. This adrenaline-filled mode demands utmost precision and completely challenges even the most skilled racing experts.

Critics may have bashed the game for not having unique environments compared to the original. Still, the introduction of off-road rallies and the wide range of vehicles in the car list secures the game a spot in the top five titles on the Gran Turismo series.


4. Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5 Trailer - E3 2010

Another Gran Turismo trailblazer title is Gran Turismo 5. This 2010 Playstation 3 title took video game racing to a new level. For the first time in the Gran Turismo series, Gran Turismo 5 introduced Downloadable Content (DLC), a groundbreaking feature for the series. Having DLC meant players could now get their hands on new content. With a range of course packs and car packs, players could now download fantastic features and new car editions like the real-life imitation of the 2014 Corvette Stingray. This enhanced the gaming experience and added to the thrill of playing the game.

Gran Turismo 5 received some backlash for feeling like a remastered version of Gran Turismo 4. Professional critics thought that it didn't have new environments, which lowered its ratings. Even so, the new features it unlocked make it worthwhile. 


3. Gran Turismo 4

Gran Turismo 4 - Trailer TGS 2004

Gran Turismo 4 may have had an 18-month delay from the expected release date, but the game was every bit worth the wait. Despite being released six years before Gran Turismo 5, Gran Turismo 4 brought a revolutionary concept that spiked its ratings above its successor. Aside from having A-spec mode, where players did the driving, Gran Turismo 4 launched B-spec mode, which had players controlling an AI driver in the race. B-spec mode was a gamechanger for the Gran Turismo series because it opened up alternative ways to enjoy the gameplay. Besides that, it gave a more realistic way to gauge performance. Instead of merely considering a player's win against their opponent, B-spec made it possible to determine a winner based on their car's performance in a race. 

Gran Turismo 4 also added a Photo Mode to add to its appeal. Photo Mode made it possible for gamers to take and save photos of their cars in different environments. This gave players the feeling that they were not just racing but traveling across the world through the game. So despite having negative reviews about its similarity to other games in the series, Gran Turismo 4 is a must-play title.


2. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Gran Turismo 3 Trailer

As a debut title for PlayStation 2Gran Turismo 3: A-spec, also made its mark, mainly where graphics and technical details were concerned. When it was released, Gran Turismo 3 was among the most detailed race-car games, and with good reason. Gran Turismo 3 features some of the most impressive car features of its time. The game uses 4000 polygons to bring out the detail of each car's exterior. It also comes with real-time reflections on the car's surfaces, dust particles left behind when driving, car surfaces shimmering from heatwaves, and tons of other jaw-dropping effects. The game also split gameplay into Simulation mode for highly experienced racers and Arcade mode for speed fanatics. 

Heavy criticism went into Gran Turismo 3's car list. Unlike its predecessor, which had more than 600 cars, Gran Turismo 3 only had 200. Despite this, Gran Turismo 3's cars have more superior detail than any vehicles in the first two titles in the series. This makes it a memorable title to date.


1. Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo 1 TRAILER

Holding firmly to the top spot of the best Gran Turismo games is the original Gran Turismo. The sheer amount of detail in this title is perhaps what makes it impossible for it to rank any lower. At the time of its release, most racing games were nothing more than cartoonish setups, with unrealistic-looking cars and even more unrealistic environments. However, the original Gran Turismo introduced features that blurred the lines between game racing and real-life race car driving. With impressive 3D replicas of existing car models like Nissan Skyline GT-R, that obeyed the concepts of driving physics in realistic environments, Gran Turismo set the bar for what race car gaming is today. 


So what about you? Which of the five Gran Turismo games in our selection did you like most? Do you believe that other games in the series deserved these positions more? Drop us a comment on our socials here or in the comments section below.

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Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.