2010 was a year of returns for the driving genre...F1, Need For Speed, and of course Gran Turismo. But there were a number of new acolytes hoping to shake things up a bit too. From arcade motoring to hardcore racing sims, the year had petrolheads of all kinds pretty much covered.
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Hard as nails but incredibly satisfying, Codemasters delivered another excellent instalment of F1 action this year. Built on the same impressive tech as DIRT and GRID, players could expect highly detailed car models, impressive backdrops and some ferocious driving. Perhaps more arcade than true simulation, F1 2010 was still an excellent addition to the Codemasters stable.
Well we had to wait a pretty damn long time, but finally Gran Turismo 5 saw the light of day. Though it was perhaps never going to live up to the mountains of expectation, once you got on the track the GT pedigree shone through brightly. For driving purists it was still the series of choice, with some of the finest vehicle handling ever seen.
More Play Create Share goodness on the PS3 came courtesy of ModNation Racers in 2010. Stacking up like Mario Kart meets LittleBigPlanet, here was a racer where pretty much anything was possible. Fancied creating a Wipeout-meets-Desert Storm kinda track? Done. Another tour de force for user-generated creativity.
With Criterion at the reins, Hot Pursuit was always going to be fast and furious. Although some might argue that it didn't quite hit the heights of say Burnout Paradise, the new Autolog feature made the online sphere engrossingly competitive. The multiplayer modes were really the draw here, with some of the finest racing action for you and your mates.
Effortlessly playable and a constantly vibrant visual feast for the eyes. Screw realism, SSASR wanted you to know you’re playing a videogame rather than trundling around a crappy imitation of a real-life city or painfully recreated tarmac track in a field. It was undeniably most fun as a multiplayer game with some of the most entertaining party racing seen on modern consoles.
Imagine if instead of karts driven by Nintendo characters, you're in supercars, and instead of green shells you can call in an apache or trigger a mild earthquake. Split/Second replaced conventional arcade battle racing weaponry with natural disasters, massive explosions and aerial armour. And it we loved every minute of it.
Winner: Gran Turismo 5
There were several notable challenges but, let's be honest here, the pomp and circumstance of Gran Turismo 5's eventual arrival simply swept the board. PS3 fanboys finally had something to throw back in the face of the Forza crowd who'd been smugly lording it for the past year and purist petrolheads rested happy. True there were niggling bugs and irritations, and it was never going to please everyone, but once you hit the track it was impossible to deny Yamauchi and co.'s dedicated genius.