All in all, an improvement over the last instalment, though an undertone of GT5... 'homage' drifts in and out (much like how windows is looking more like mac OS over time). Bigger means everything. Bigger car list and bigger event list mean more choice. More parts are available for the tuners and more stickers for the painters, more opponents for racers and more multiplayer for those who just don't find the AI quite enough. You can see where they're coming from, after a while - the AI is supposed to adjust to you, but it still seems to trail.
Better looks at where it matters. The feel is improved through pad or wheel (and you even find some semblance of a feeling through the mystic ghost-wheel of kinect). Telling the game what you want to do is *very* cool, although still easier to do with controller when it's already been ingrained in muscle memory from the last 10 years ("turn, you cow" still doesn't work, either!). The lighting is better, Autovista is just a dream, and the models look somehow better placed in the world around them, if a little garish in the light.
And that's where brighter comes in. You thought that new Star Trek film had a lot of lens-flare. Not even close, especially on Turn 10's much-touted new Alps track. A point well made by my inexpert father is that if the line to tell you where to go disappears in the reflection from the road, chances are you haven't thought enough about lighting or colours used.
Longer is just as it was above. More events to choose from means a lengthier experience, though there are much fewer laps in each race - not quite as satisfying, but then again less boring on that track you just really *hate*, and for the same sense of accomplishment on crossing the line. Longer also is the career progression, ramping up driving xp three times and xp for cars a whopping ten times - credz mean prizes, kids, and you get them in abundance with each of these levels. Spend less, too, when your upgrades are free after a half-hour hooning around in one car.
All in all, could have been worse. Not quite the GT5 killer they wanted, but then again, GT5 was not exactly the climax for driving games they'd hoped for either. There's a much greater sense of ownership, here. While it would be nice to auto vista your own cars (you're limited to around 30 in the game itself, all specially-modelled extra-high-poly versions of the ones that you can drive in the game. Except the Warthog. Damn, warthogs around the top gear track would have been *awesome*), it's still nice to peer into the boot or under the bonnet, start the engine, watch it explode in the "explore" mode (do it with the Mclaren F1, but make sure you've got a towel handy - drool ensues).
five for five is mainly down to that extra sense of feel on the track and ownership in the menus - there are some moments you look and you double-take at the car you built, indistinguishable from a real one bar the bright pink paintwork and green wheels, squatting low next to that Toyota Hilux in the top gear studio, and the smile you get rarely drops from your face, however brainless the AI can act.