PSP: Gran Turismo PSP
Published by SCEA
Developed by Polyphony Digital
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL, GRAN TURISMO!!! …Wait, what?
After 4-5 years of rumors, speculation, unconfirmed reports and dreams Gran Turismo has FINALLY debuted on the PSP! I’ll get straight to the point; if you’re expecting a portable version of the series proper, save yourself the trouble and just skip this review and the game altogether because you will be extremely disappointed. If you’re still interested or just want to know exactly what this game is about, then read-on…
First we’ll do a little history on the development. Back when the PSP debuted it was rumored that Polyphony had all intentions of releasing their famous series on the PSP. This is not that title. I have my own wild theories but I’ll just stick to what this game actually is: a companion to the upcoming Gran Turismo 5 on the PlayStation 3. There is no career mode. Yes, you read that right, no career mode. Secondly, there aren’t any structured events whatsoever- unless you count the driving challenges which are more like the license test without actually getting a license. GT PSP is a car collection game first and foremost. You participate in single races (racing, drifting, rally and time trial) and driving challenges to earn money so you can buy cars. In an attempt to extend replay value, you can’t access all the dealerships at once. You can only access 4 dealerships at a time and they change randomly every day or so. So let’s say you have money for a Ferrari, you’ll have to wait for a day that the Ferrari dealership shows up for you to purchase it. Based on reports I’ve seen circulating on various message boards on the internet, each person’s game is random, so don’t expect a FAQ on it anytime soon.
I’ve covered the lack of a career mode as well as the limited access to dealers, but that’s not all that missing in GT PSP. For the first time ever in the series, you CANNOT upgrade your car with parts, you can tune it, but NO upgrading is available. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink-in…
GT PSP isn’t all bad news! The physics are similar to GT Prologue and the overall handling and feel of the game is what you’d come to expect from a GT game. Sadly that means that the “rally” is still as dull as ever. Oh, before I forget, you’re on track with only 3 other cars. You can select the amount of laps for each track you want to race on which will in turn yield more reward money for the race. When you start the game each track will have a ‘D’ ranking, which is the level of the AI you’ll race against. You race the tracks until you unlock C B A & S ranks, which with 35 tracks will equal to a good amount of play time in the long run.
GT has always been a graphical showcase, yet with GT PSP it just does not stand out like its console brothers in their time. It doesn’t look bad or bland mind you and a few of the tracks do look pretty good as do the cars, but overall it’s just not the visual feast one would expect from a GT game, but on the good side the game does run at a consistent 60fps. Sound Effects are traditional GT, they’re good but not great. You can do multiplayer races via adhoc as well as trade cars (800 cars to collect, so trading can be very helpful). One of the main draws is that the cars you do have can be transferred onto GT5 when it releases.
After so many years of waiting, it’s sad that Polyphony gave PSP owners a mere collector’s sidekick to GT5 instead of a full GT experience on the handheld. GT PSP feels too much like quick a cash-in on the license and as a long-time fan of the series, I am disappointed. That said, there is a lot of racing to be had on its own and with the design of the game, it’s really good for a quick race when you’re out and about and need a quick fix.
Worth It? Die-Hard fans looking to get a jump-start on GT5 only. Everyone else should rent first.