Review by Phantasium

"Worth the wait? Maybe if you can't wait for GT5."

Man, I can remember when this game was announced. Back then I was convinced that I'd never touch a PSP.

I'll be honest, I am not a "car person." I couldn't tell you what my favorite car is because, well, I just don't care. Never did figure out what the difference was between a Camaro or a Trans Am. Or whatever car I'm supposedly thinking of, because somehow I'm sure that last sentence doesn't make sense. But what I can tell you, is that the Gran Turismo series has been kind to me. I got GT2 years ago during Christmas, and had some great fun with just figuring out what everything did, and what everything just was.

I went along and played Gran Turismo 3 sometime after I got a PS2, and rediscovered everything I liked about the second game. Funnily enough, I had not retained any of the knowledge from the second game, and was able to enjoy the same type of wonderment. But then GT4 took forever to come out, and I just stopped caring. By the time they had released GT5: Prologue, I had considered my interest in the series dead. Of course, that is until I managed to get my hands on Gran Turismo for the PSP.

Admittedly, this game is not as robust as its console versions. Sure, there's plenty of cars to choose from, and plenty of tracks to race them on,including reverse tracks and rally courses, but this game was clearly made with the portable mindset. There are no events, no career mode, or anything like that. The game is essentially arcade mode from prior GTs with some tuning added. You can not buy parts, you no longer have to take license tests (thank god), and everything outside of the cars themselves is unlocked from the start, aside from harder races. Also, there are additional challenge courses which take the place of the license tests, but seeing as how I never enjoyed those to begin with, they'll likely just be skipped over.

It's also a hell of a lot easier to afford a car. You start with a healthy amount of credits to begin with, and getting them is just as easy as completing a race or two. The problem comes with those of you that know what car you want. The game counts time in days, and one race will push that calender forward one day. Every two days, you're given the choice of four manufacturers, and a handful of cars from each. See nothing that you like? Well, go race a couple of times for a chance at finding something you want. With over 800 cars available, you can see how this would get tedious. With no in-game rewards other than credits and harder difficulty levels for courses, it may not be worth to continue on.

But this is still Gran Turismo. The attention to detail is astounding, and even though we've been reduced to graphics that necessitate cardboard cutout spectators again, the graphics are crisp and smooth. There's an attention to detail that you won't find in any other racer (save for maybe Forza), and you can feel the love coming from every car. Speaking of every car, there's a nice write-up and detailed spec sheet for every car in the game, and although I'm left mostly clueless for the majority of what they're talking about, they've done their homework. My one major complaint comes from the soundtrack, which has seen fit to be reduced to five or so utterly forgetful techno tracks.

If you don't mind the fact that you'll mostly just be doing standard-fare racing, Gran Turismo manages to be just as great as many of its predecessors. There's an Ad-Hoc mode that I wasn't able to test, and it's said you'll be able to import your cars into Gran Turismo 5 proper when that finally comes out, so there's that, too. Don't let the idea that it's portable turn you off, and you'll probably find a great racing experience.

Summary

Graphics
Great for the PSP, crisp and smooth. Some visual screw ups, but nothing major.

Sound/Music
Sound effects are godly, the sound track is not.

Replayability
I have a feeling you'll get bored before you've actually managed to do everything. But I've been wrong before.

Gameplay
You've played one GT, you've played them all. But that's a good thing.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/15/09

Game Release: Gran Turismo (US, 10/01/09)


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