GRAN TURISMO 5 The elementary school crossing guard never knew what hit her.

MY GAME LIBRARY contains two types of games: those I own because I adore them, and those I own because every few months I get an urge to do something specific, and they represent the best example of such. This is why I can never trade in Super Street Fighter IV, why I have a full complement of EA's latest sports games, and why I own Gran Turismo 5.

I'm not a car guy. Can't even change my own oil. Still, there is an innate, testosterone-laced part of my primal monkey brain that gets hot from the spectacle of half-million-dollar racing machines and exotic sports cars that can outrun jets. Racing too, when properly simulated, makes for a unique nail-biting competitive experience. Those are my two key arguments for the purchase of GT5 by those who don't actually get sexually excited at the sight of a Bugatti Veyron.

Actual car guys (and girls) won't even be reading this. They'll be too busy playing the latest in a series that certainly earns the title of "most meticulously designed, heavily detailed driving simulation in existence."

The bad news though, is that those who dug Gran Turismo 4 may be turned off by the evolutionary-at-best changes found in its sequel—especially given the game's six-year development cycle. GT5 added fewer courses than it lost from its predecessor, a huge number of the vehicles in its 1,000-plus car garage are essentially slightly aesthetically altered duplicates, and the much-lauded promise of realistic vehicle damage massively pales in comparison to series competitor Forza Motorsport 3. Still, GT4 was so far ahead of the field at the time of its release, that even baby steps forward keep this series ahead of the pack. Combine that with the additions that actually bring something new to the table (go-karts, Jeff Gordon's NASCAR Racing School, the GTTV video-on-demand service) and Gran Turismo easily maintains its crown.