There's little else that can be as satisfying as peeling the plastic wrap off a brand new video game. Last Friday, I was the first at my local GameStop to buy Gran Turismo 6 15th Anniversary Edition. From a young age, we were taught to never judge a book by its cover. But how can I not? The 15th Anniversary Edition cover art features the extreme Renault Sport Megane Trophy V6 and it's awesome.

Historically, every installment of Gran Turismo presented an epic opening intro that evoked a tremendous sense of occasion on first play. Gran Turismo 6 is no different. Developer Polyphony Digital embarked on a number of ambitious endeavors including a collaboration with the Senna Institute as well as its big Vision GT Project, which involves the participation of design houses from all over the world. Of course, Gran Turismo's cinematic intro made sure that the gamers understood the level of passion and obsession that was required to complete the game. Relax, the opening intro is embedded to the end of the review.

However, as is the normal for all new video games these days, Gran Turismo 6 could not avoid the frustrating day-one-patch. The patch include small nuances like an updated layout on the status screen and a handy tire type indicator while racing, to big updates including the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision GT concept as a gift car.

FINALLY, we get to the game itself. The new Gran Turismo 6 home screen design has completely changed yet feels instantly familiar as the selections are virtually unchanged. A useful tutorial guides first-time Gran Turismo players around a surprisingly crisp and snappy interface.

The menu is thoughtfully divided into categories. "My Home" contains your garage of cars as well as your career stats. "Online" delivers you to the lobby and the seasonal event challenges. Next, "Arcade Mode," "Career Mode," and "Cars" are undoubtedly the meat and bones of the game and need no introduction. In particular, buying a car has changed significantly in Gran Turismo 6 but we'll get to that later.

Next, "Tuning and Maintenance," "Special Events," and finally "Tools" complete the menu. "Special Events," which is separated from the other game modes, offer delightful experiences including the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb time trial as well as the novel Lunar Exploration missions. The 'Tools" category directs you to Gran Turismo's Photo Travel.

Of course, the majority of Gran Turismo's appeal are the countless vehicles and tracks. Naturally, I hopped on arcade mode first and chose a red Pagani Huayra (new for GT6) to tackle the Mount Panorama circuit, the legendary home to Australia's Supercar V8 Bathurst 1000 race (also new for GT6).

The combination of the Huayra and Mount Panorama is as sensational and thrilling as it gets. However, first impressions also uncover a lot of the same old flaws that plagued Gran Turismo in the past. Sound engineering lacks the drama of the real thing and is only slightly improved to feature distinct hissing noises to mimic the Huayra's turbocharged engine. Recall that BMW found it necessary to pioneer an artificial engine note through the speakers of the BMW M5. If anything, video games are capable of recreating sounds that are even more aggressive than the real thing. Anything less is inexcusable.

What's more, the A.I. still feels extremely unrealistic and follow a preset flight path regardless of your pace or your real estate on the track. Really, the true challenge of Gran Turismo is between you, your car, and the track itself. Dramatic elevation changes reveal the complexity of the new Gran Turismo 6 physics engine. The new circuits are laser scanned for accuracy and include every bump, pothole, or ripple that can be found on the track surface in real life. 

Polyphony Digital's partnership with both KW suspension and Yokohama tires has changed everything we once understood about interpreting physics digitally. Every input in acceleration, braking, and steering causes a vehicle to pitch and yaw that will load on the springs and tires. At the risk of sounding like a pansy, I am willing to admit that I believe the 700 hp Pagani is a little too much car for such a technical and narrow track.

Beyond the new cars and new track, the environmental renderings are artistic marvels. That said, most players will be flying by the scenery way too quickly to appreciate the details that Gran Turismo thoughtfully include. Next, updates to the default heads-up display (I've yet to investigate the custom HUD options) include the aforementioned tire type indicator as well as weather forecast. Gone from the default heads up display is the G-loads bar.

Career mode is where you will be spending most of your time and it all starts with 30,000 cr. to buy your first car. Thankfully, players will not have to go through all the driver's license tests to get started on the entry level Sunday Cups. That said, licenses will be inevitable as you continue to move up the ranks. If anything, they're a good refresher to get the basics of fast driving.

However, unlike past Gran Turismo games that offered a multitude of choices to begin your journey, Gran Turismo 6 inexplicably forces a Honda Fit RS upon you to get things started. What's more, despite the promise of over 1200 cars in game, some rather highly anticipated vehicles are not available yet, notably the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari hybrid supercars.

The car purchasing experience has completely changed as well. Both the used car dealership and the online dealership are gone. In the past, Gran Turismo players preferred used cars and online dealerships as useful ways to acquire cars for new seasonal events at a fraction of the price. Gifting cars to friends is no longer an available option either.

Instead, Gran Turismo now features a new function known as Micro-transactions. Sort of like the hopelessly addictive mobile games like Candy Crush, Gran Turismo players can go to the PSN Store to purchase Gran Turismo credits in order to buy more cars without having to grind races for it. Yes, you will still have to grind races for credits if you want to have enough to afford that Audi LMP1 car in Gran Turismo 6.

An alternative to buying faster racing cars is to tune and upgrade the trusty weapon that you already have. Following tradition, level 1, 2, and 3 upgrades are available across the board. In addition, nitrous makes a delightful return! However, the desirable NOS kit requires players to shell out a disgusting 100,000 credits. Apparently, this is done to discourage players from unnecessarily abusing the privilege. Compared to the sense of freedom players may feel when personalizing their cars in Forza Motorsport 5, Gran Turismo 6 is definitely a lot more structured and constrained. Not only is the purchase of nitrous discouraged, even popular tuner cars like the Nissan 350Z do not have any body kit modifications beyond an enormous GT wing.

Despite Gran Turismo's tendency to force players to grind races, there is definitely a fair bit of variety in race modes. Beyond the cups and championships, "side quests," if you will, include "Mission Races," "Coffee Break Challenge," and "One-Make Races."

All in all, we give Gran Turismo 6 an 8 out of 10. Unfortunately, Polyphony Digital developed Gran Turismo 6 before details on the highly anticipated Playstation 4 console were announced. Gran Turismo 6 was designed around the limitations of the dated Playstation 3 rig. While graphics and rendering have no doubt improved, the gameplay ultimately feels like a significant chunk of content and data has been ported from Gran Turismo 5.  Grating observations include the dull sound effects, the dull A.I., and the necessity to grind races for funds to purchase new vehicles.

Gran Turismo 6 is a rather difficult game to review due to the vastness of the variety of things that players can do. DLC Packages in 2014 will add even more content to the video game. In the long-term, race grinding is something Gran Turismo 6 is capable of eliminating by releasing well-scheduled event updates to keep the racing fresh and to keep players motivated. Many of the features that Gran Turismo 6 promised to offer aren't available yet, including its GPS Visualizer custom course maker, and Gran Turismo's collaboration with the Ayrton Senna Institute. We will keep a close eye on the continued developments of Gran Turismo's Vision GT project as well.