Gran Turismo finally hit the PSP, in October 2009, after years of delays; I recently got a PSP Go and took GT for a spin. The first thing that hits you about this game is the frame rate. It’s astonishing that Polyphony have managed to make a game look and run this well on such a small handheld. There has been a sacrifice in the amount of opponent A.I. you face with only 4 cars now on track. It’s a disappointment, which might be a big issue with some gamers. However, for me it was a worthwhile sacrifice as the controls are impeccable thanks to the fluidity afforded by running the game in 60fps.
Another sticking point has been the fact that there is no actual career mode to speak of. Instead GT features an arcade style progression system where you race on every track (around 70 with all the layouts) through 5 AI difficulties starting at D to C, B, A and finally S (for Super). Your position in the race is then rewarded with prize money, which you then spend on your next car of choice.
There is no upgrading of the cars though, in fact in the same style as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue you can tune them via car settings as opposed to purchasing upgrades. Certain cars are made available after completing particular races and various difficulty levels. So with only 4 brands being shown at one time it is advised you check back regularly to see all 800 models, just a shame you have to quit out of the single-player mode to access the car showroom.
GT is actually very open ended in its design offering up 3 different single-player modes with Time Trial, Single Race and Drift Trial available on all tracks. I just wish there was an inclusion of cup races as they were the part of Gran Turismo that I always enjoyed a lot. Instead to get your racing fix you’re left with progressing through the 5 difficulty levels on each of the tracks, it’s not a short game by any means but I felt robbed that there were no specific races like 4×4 or single car models. At least you can approach the game in the direction you choose so you if you don’t have time for a 10 minute Nürburgring session you can always come back to it later. You can even race online but as you have to your PS3 connected via a wire to run ad-hoc mode I was unable to test this.
Along with these modes there is a Challenge section with over 100 different challenges to work through which are all based on the old licence tests so expect to drive in a straight line and bake in a certain area and perfect driving lines through corners. I enjoyed this section a lot and found myself obsessing over getting gold times replaying the challenge over and over until I found that perfect run.
And that’s the beauty of GT PSP, it is so addictive, they’ve even added a clock in the bottom corner so you know what time it is and consequently you realise just how long you’ve been playing… The controls are perfect, you are able to use the D-pad or the nub, I found myself using the D-pad on tarmac tracks and switching to the nub for the rally races. GT PSP can suck you in for hours at a time yet it is also ideal for that one quick race on a short journey, it’s an ideal handheld game. Just a shame there isn’t a bigger wealth of modes or a full blown career.
*Ad Hoc mode was unavailable as PS3 needs to be wired to support PSP online play.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PSP version of Gran Turismo provided by Sony Computer Entertainment.
Written by: Trev
- Contributing Editor