Review by lighty691

Reviewed: 05/03/10

If it says Gran Turismo on the box its definitely Gran Turismo in the box.....isn't it??

Gran Turismo - Review
by Andrew Light

Welcome to my review of Gran Turismo for the PSP. Gran Turismo is one of the leading racing games of the modern era and has experienced huge success through industry reviews and game sales. Gran Turismo is the first title (possibly of many!) that has been released for the PSP console. It is also considered to now be one of the most popular games too.

For fans of the Gran Turismo series the first thing to point out that although the title on the box says Gran Turismo that does not necessarily mean it is what you would expect as a traditional Gran Turismo game. For those not in the know, a traditional Gran Turismo game, based on past titles often includes a large arcade style game mode and a career mode. Gran Turismo for the PSP does not have a career mode. At all. Perhaps the game could have been more creatively titled as Gran Turismo Lite? However please do not stop reading as the lack of career mode does not make this a bad game by a long way. Admittedly I did also have high hopes for this game that were dashed when it was announced that there wasn't a career mode.

So without a career mode, what does Gran Turismo offer? Well the game is your typical arcade style racer. You begin the game with a set amount of credit and access to a limited range of cars to choose from. Once you have your car you can now head over to pick a race. The game gives players full access to any race available unlike previous incarnations. Other titles have required players to obtain licenses in order to compete in the best challenges and tournaments. Gran Turismo here is not the same in this area. You can pick from a list of 35 different tracks, although there are actually much more than this when you take into account different versions of tracks and the option to race the reverse versions. There are also several different levels that you can race at ranging from the beginners level D through till the advanced level A and expert level S. These different levels also provide another different challenge that you would not normally have in the regular career mode for a Gran Turismo game.

In addition to the various different tracks and racing levels that the game offers you also have over 800 cars to collect and race with. As expected there is a wide range of 87 different manufacturers. These range from the more basic manufacturers such as Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Nissan and Honda to the more exotic Bugatti, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini and Lexus to the downright bizarre in Panoz and Lister. Again fans of the series will see many of the usual manufacturers that have made the series famous. Each of the manufacturers have all their trademark cars, too many to list here but suffice to say cars such as the Subaru Impreza and Nissan Skyline are still very much a part of the game.

So although many elements of the game are similar to the regular games. However there are some elements that are different and affect how players will approach the game. When players have played other versions, the majority of the cars are instantly available (with the exception of some special models). Cars in the PSP version of the game are only available depending on the in-game day which is a strange arrangement. "Hello car salesman, I want to buy all your cars, is that ok?" "No, come back in 6 months." Exactly, wouldn't happen would it? Anyway this is what we are stuck with so we will have to get used to it. You will get a selection of manufacturers and a selection of their cars which rotates round on a rota. This means that you will need to go nearly 100 game days to potentially get at least 1 opportunity to buy any specific car. This can be frustrating as you don't always have the cash available when a car becomes available meaning you have to wait another whole cycle before it comes round again. To be perfectly honest I cannot see any reason why this was decided on as it has no benefit to players at all.

The other main change in the game is as previously mentioned is that the races are on competed on a single race basis only. There are no championships or continual tournaments to race in and you simply just pick which track, level and amount of laps that you require and get on with it. This means that races can become a little bit repetitive especially as there are only 4 cars per race, including your own and no option to increase this. Prize money is awarded depending on the difficulty and length of the race so at least this can offer a little more variety. The game still offers the usual other bits and pieces such as time trials and records of your progress and off road racing. License tests in the previous games are not here as such anymore as no license is needed to compete in races, however there are "driving challenges" which are in effect the same thing. However the fact that obtaining all these does not make any difference to the game makes them a little pointless.

So, there are lots of similarities and differences with the gameplay and game modes but what about the usual elements of the game? Well, graphically the game is pretty good, considering the limitations of the console when compared to the power that the PS2 and PS3 versions that other games in the series have at their utilisation. The cars look beautiful and are instantly recognisable when compared to their real life counterparts. The in game graphics are very good but you do occasionally see some glitches in the graphics on the tracks particularly. This is something that is unusual to the series as they are usually exceptionally good in this area. However these glitches are limited and certainly do not spoil the game in any way. One thing to mention is the introduction video which looks excellent and really shows off the power of the PSP incidentally.

Previous games in the series are often well known for the wide variety of music tracks in the game. Gran Turismo PSP is no different here and adopts many upbeat tracks in both races and during other game screens. Sound effects too are good and play an important part in the game, particularly for letting you know when a car is racing up behind you. One very good addition in this area are the wind sounds that you can clearly hear on specific tracks. Follow a car closely behind at high speeds and when you move around you will suddenly hear the wind rushing past. A nice little touch.

Difficulty wise the game has a few key elements that can be changed to make sure players can adjust the difficulty to their specifications. There are 5 different levels of difficulty as mentioned before that can be unlocked to provide a challenge. There is also the option to select whether you race against different cars or those identical to yours. This again brings in another level of difficulty for players.

So overall is Gran Turismo going to be remembered as a hit or a miss? Well probably neither. Its not a bad game by any means but we come to expect so much from Gran Turismo titles today. The positives are the wide range of tracks and cars available, whereas the negatives are no car upgrades, no full career mode and a lack of access to cars for a large part of the game. However for players who do enjoy playing the game there are plenty of cars to collect and lots of different races to win in order to have S grade on all of the tracks. Gran Turismo is a series that will be around for a long time, there is no doubt about that but this particular version is not going to be holding all the headlines...

Final Score 8/10.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Gran Turismo (EU, 10/01/09)

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