|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Polyphony Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 1, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While the streamlined controls work great for experienced drivers, they also make Gran Turismo a wonderful starting point for those who aren't big fans. While console iterations have featured plenty of amazing cars and tracks, none of them have felt quite as user-friendly as the PSP version. This is augmented by the presence of the Driving Challenge mode, which is a 9-stage tutorial mode. These stages give players basic instructions for beginner concepts like controlling speed, determining braking rate, and steering to start things off, and then evolve into an advanced technique tutorial that emphasizes concepts like driving through different types of curves and on different terrains. The driving challenge mode is great for beginners, but it is also a welcome refresher for players who haven't fired up a Gran Turismo title in awhile.
Whether you are a newcomer to the franchise or a diehard fan, one thing everyone can appreciate is the visuals. Gran Turismo simply looks amazing on the PSP. Special attention has always been paid to the vehicle design in previous entries of Gran Turismo, and this entry is no different. Cars have an exquisite amount of detail, and everything from the stark lines of the Polyphony Digital Formula Gran Turismo to the sleek curves of the Mitsubishi GTO has been presented with amazing care. The tracks also look great, and while nothing on a handheld could match the track design in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, this one comes fairly close. Each track has its own unique environment, complete with special details like snowy peaks on the Cathedral Rocks tracks to a bustling skyline on the Seattle Circuit. The only issue I noticed with the visuals occurs if you have a vehicle that goes more than 170 MPH. Although there are only a handful of vehicles that do this, once you do, the screen starts flickering and some elements of the track don't render all the way. However, I was only able to see this small issue during my time on one of the game's speed rings, as there is no way you can go that fast on any of the other tracks.
As far as the car collection is concerned, Gran Turismo has everything a gearhead could want. From middle range racers from Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Toyota to performance-intensive brands like Ferrari and Aston Martin, you are sure to find plenty of vehicles to suit your tastes. The number of cars found in each collection varies, but notable vehicles like the Mitsubishi GTO and the Nissan GT-R are there. One interesting feature included in Gran Turismo is the Favorites Garage, which allows you to quick-tune your favorite cars at the touch of a button. While the quick-tune doesn't allow you to tinker with the inner-workings of the vehicle, you can adjust things like damper and spring rate, which can give you the edge if you need that extra jolt at the beginning of a race or added stability on rough courses.
Gran Turismo for the PSP has been a long time coming. Like many others, I had just assumed that the project had died a long time ago. However, Polyphony Digital has not only delivered on their promise to make a great portable Gran Turismo, they have created the best portable racer this generation. While portable versions of other driving franchises are content to be squashed versions of their console brethren, Gran Turismo has created a brand new experience that is tailored for the handheld platform -not sacrificing any aspect of the blockbuster franchise in the transition. From the monster garage to the tight control and splendid visuals, Gran Turismo stands head and shoulders above any other racing title for a portable platform. Whether you are a diehard Gran Turismo fan or someone who has yet to experience the franchise, this is definitely one title that is worth your time. Whether you download it or buy it on a UMD, Gran Turismo must be experienced if you have any interest at all in driving simulators. You may never pick up another potable racer again!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor