Gran Turismo PSP

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Developer: PolyphonyPublisher: SCEA
Release Date: October 1, 2009Available On: PSP

I remember a time back in the nineties when the gaming industry was jam packed full of mediocre attempts at realistic racing games. Oh the days of 2D block model cars accompanied by blurry scenic value! Then one day changed the rules for all racing games to come: The release of the first Gran Turismo in 1997. Gran Turismo has yet to dissatisfy it’s customers, not even with their new release available on the PSP. On October 1, 2009 Gran Turismo was made portable for the first time, setting new standards for the racing game industry, while still upholding the reputation of its previous releases.

Being that this is a racing game, I feel it is only appropriate that I first tackle the nitty, gritty details of the graphics and gameplay. As is tradition for the Gran Turismo scene, the game is set up and based upon both real and fictional tracks providing a more in-depth experience for its players. Polyphony created a graphics engine made specifically for the PSP. That’s right fellow gamers, that means our racing experience is made crisp, concise and is loaded with stunning visuals running at 60 frames per second! The graphics are extremely vivid and hold up the to scale of an overall pleasing game experience.

During gameplay, users are also offered an Ad Hoc setting, which allows up to four players at a time. In my experience, the Ad Hoc does not disappoint. It allows you and your fellow friends to battle it out for the prize or even release some built up frustration. The ability to play with other players, while even on the go, away from the comfort of your platform gaming systems and plasma TVs really adds an extra something to this game that you seldom find in other racing games.

From my perspective the only downside to the gameplay depends on which PSP system you find yourself playing on. If you’re playing on an older model PSP, the steering and shifting is smooth and extremely easy to maneuver. On the other hand, if you’re exploring the realms of this game on the newly released PSP Go, then it can be a little tight. Due to the system being smaller it can get kind of tiring trying to make sure you’re holding the system comfortably while still being able to steer and shift. More than anything, that’s more of a personal preference. I’ve played on both, and while the PSP Go doesn’t take away from the game, I’ve found it to be more comfortable playing on the PSP 3000.

Gran Turismo has gone above and beyond in providing a realistic game experience. The extensive research of cars, engines, makes and models is illustrated in the accuracy of real life vehicles and sounds which are provided to you during gameplay. The audio of Gran Turismo is nothing short of success. What every gamer expects out of their racing endeavor is to be delivered with believable and accurate audio material. It is clear and easy to hear the difference in your car and engine even to the point of shifting. The experience is not 100% accurate to the sound of the actual make and model, but it does allow for you to differentiate vehicles during gameplay.

Up to this point, Gran Turismo has been a sole home console gig. So now the question is, how does the PSP version compare to our longstanding relationship of gameplay on the PlayStation consoles? Really, it depends on your preference and needs. While I would much rather play Gran Turismo on my home console, the portable version does have its advantages. For example, need some entertainment in those pesky waiting room scenarios? Gran Turismo for the PSP is as good a way as any to have your racing fix away from your beloved stationed console. One advantage to playing on the new PSP Go is that during those situations, you are offered a new pause option, which doesn’t force you into premature saving or game closure. This provides us with the ability to jump right back into where we left off with no hard feelings.

In the end, while still proving to be an overall successful game, there’s not much difference between playing on the PlayStation consoles and the PSP. The portability is a step in moving forward with the game genre, but has not provided us with much of anything new. Is Gran Turismo becoming a bit repetitive? Probably, but hey, it has exceeded the realms of other racing games providing us with visually, audibly and time consuming experiences. Not to mention you now have the option to where you can transfer your collection of cars from the PSP to Gran Turismo 5 to get a head start! It’s a step in the right direction in providing us with more in our experiences on Gran Turismo, while not letting us down with the experience that originally captured our hearts.

Replay Value/Game Length:8.5
Final:8.6 out of 10