Developer: Polyphony Digital
Release Date: 10/1/2009
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Superb visuals, lots of tracks and cars, simple interface
The Bad: No career mode, no vehicle upgrades, no online play, iffy audio, slipstream is a bad idea, random dealerships
Hate me all you want, but Gran Turismo on the PSP is a huge disappointment. Why? Well, first off this game has been floating around the vaporware bin since 2004 and now 5 years later we get a half done game. Where’s the career mode? That’s my biggest question. Instead we are forced to pick everything ourselves. This doesn’t have anything to do with laziness either. I like my career modes in Gran Turismo and this is the first game in the series that doesn’t have one. Another thing you’ll notice missing is there’s no way to upgrade your cars…ouch.
Like every GT game once you start the game up you head to the dealership, but that’s where the problems already start. It’s random…yeah you get four or five random dealerships every day in the game. You see a car you want? Sure! Normally you just save up for it, but then when you go back the dealership is gone…why Polyphony chose this stupid idea is beyond me.
The game also lies about there being 500 different cars. There are a few models of each different car so you’re only looking at about 200 some odd different types of cars. The game gives you some interesting back story on each car, but viewing the stats is a nightmare since they just scroll by without a still data sheet or something of the like.
Once you start getting into a race it’s simple enough. Choose your track, number of laps, and the car from your garage. You can use quick tune options or do a bit of fine tuning, but the default works just fine. The number of laps and length of track determine your winning outcome, so you can always change accordingly. If you want money faster try the license tests. They range from passable to impossible thanks to the game’s new and weird slipstream system. This is only normally seen in street racing games, but GT doesn’t even give you any visual clues as to if you are doing this right or not. The point of the slipstream is to stay behind the opponent so they block the wind for you giving you a small boost in speed. While it works on paper it’s very hard to execute in the game.
Once you start racing you are in for a treat because the cars feel very close to their console counterparts, and it feels like our beloved GT. The game even sports an impressive cockpit view for the tiny handheld that could and not just the floating rear view mirror view we’ve been accustomed to seeing pre-PS3. Each car handles differently and buying and stocking is a lot of fun, but without a career mode, vehicle upgrades, or even an online mode it makes you wonder why they even bothered. All of the most beloved features of GT have been stripped out as joke to us fans waiting for GT5.
When it comes to the looks the game delivers, but I know it could be pushed just a bit farther. The vehicles look like no other racer on the system, but the tracks are lacking a bit. Still, the game accomplishes a lot more than most PSP games ever have. The audio however is also a bit of a disappointment, with a dull soundtrack, and a lot of the engines sounds sound the same as well as sounding a bit tinny. This is probably for hardcore fans only so fans of other PSP racers should stay away.