Gran Turismo USA For PSP | IamMitul

By on March 18, 2012
English| Platform: PSP | Release: February 7, 2012 | Publisher: Sony ComputerEntertainment | Developer: Polyphony Digital | 902 MB
Genre: Racing

Itsbeen a long time in the coming, but Gran Turismo for the PSP is finallyhere, not so coincidentally launching on the same day as the PSPgo. Thenumbers are great, particularly for a PSP title, with it featuring some800 cars, 35 tracks and 60 track variations (meaning forward andreverse on most of the tracks), and all while running at 60fps.

Ima huge, huge fan of the Gran Turismo franchise, so it pains meimmeasurably to say that this is a greatly disappointing release. Seethose bullet points I listed above, what with the 800 cars and allThats pretty much all youre getting with the game – cars and tracks.Theres no proper career mode. There isnt a reason (or even ability) tobuy a car and gradually upgrade it to compete in bigger and betterevents. Its just racing, and largely without a good reason for doingso, especially when you consider that the experience had to be boileddown to the PSPs hardware and control abilities.

Now, before Iget into the negative stuff, let me first hit on the core of theexperience, which is obviously the racing. In large part, this feels awhole lot like Gran Turismo 4, which is certainly a good thing in manyrespects, though if youve been playing GT5 Prologue or have beenkicking the tires on games like Need for Speed Shift or Grid, itll feela little subdued in comparison. Still, this is the Gran Turismo drivingexperience at its core – realistic and smooth while beingsimultaneously rewarding and punishing.

The analog controls fromthe consoles, particularly for the acceleration and brakes, have beennicely transferred over to the PSP. In many cases, were you to slam onthe gas in any of the console releases, youd get a taste of excessiveamounts of wheel spin and fishtailing, while slamming your foot (orfinger, as it were) down on the brakes at the wrong time could give yousimilar results. In both of these cases, Gran Turismo subtly compensatesfor this and gives you just enough assistance to keep the digitalinputs from ruining your race. Its a rather transparent difference inthat I had to actually sit back and think about how it compares to theconsole variants, which I think is great.

The AI hasnt reallyseen much of an improvement in that itll generally stick to its racinglines and goes about its business almost as if you arent there. It willavoid you, which wasnt always the case in past releases, so thecomputer drivers do seem to have made improvements from the PlayStation 2titles, though its not a huge departure from what weve seen in thepast. Do note that you can only race against three other cars at a time,which is somewhat disappointing, but also not unheard of on the PSP.

Forme, and a lot of other Gran Turismo fans, the fantastic driving iscoupled with starting out at the bottom, slowly tweaking and upgradingyour starter car as you compete in event after event, and graduallybuying new rides to take on bigger and better challenges. And theneventually, after lots of hard work, youll get a car that can crack the200mph barrier and youll feel like youve accomplished somethinggreat.

Gran Turismo on the PSP contains none of this, and by and large, thats the entire problem.

Thereare two main single-player modes, Driver Challenges and thesimply-titled Single Player. The latter is essentially just a quick raceoption, allowing you to either take on a standard race, time trial ordrift challenge on any of the games tracks (theyre all unlocked fromthe start). These are all one-off events – winning them wont really getyou much more than cash, though you can increase your driver rank from aD to S ranking on each track, which is basically a fancy way of sayingthat you can race against better AI on that course (and earn more lootwhile youre at it).

Other than not being able to race certaincars on dirt or snow tracks, there are no limits here. You can racewhatever car you want on whatever track you want, and youll always raceagainst three CPU drivers. As I said, you can increase your level oneach track, which can then go to net you better competition and morecash, but thats all thats good for. You dont unlock new cars (atleast that I ever found) or anything of the like.

The driftoption is fun for what it is (its basically the same thing found in GT5Prologue), and you get cash for whatever points you earn. But, therearent rankings or anything that youll try to beat. The same goes forthe time trials – when you first go to a track, the times are empty andyoure the first one to set the bar. Are there really no pre-set recordsto go after That seems rather silly to me.

The Driver Challengeis the other half of the single-player experience, and it does offergoals to achieve. Unfortunately, the mode is essentially just anelongated set of license tests with no reason to beat them other than tosimply do it (and earn cash). Unlike the console games, there are noevents that require certain licenses, so they dont act as aprerequisite. Thats fine, some folks will be happy about this. But witha total of 102 events, you might think that theres a prize at the endof the tunnel should you beat them all. Nope. I completed 100% of themand received nada. No movie, no car, nothing. Granted, I didnt get goldin every event, though even when I did get all golds in a grouped setof challenges I still didnt get anything to show for it. You do unlock acustom soundtrack option and the end credits film along the way, butyou dont get anything for completing all events or going for goldmedals.

So then, the entire game is about winning cash andbuying cars. From a PSP gaming perspective, this makes some sense inthat the idea is to sit down to a race or two, buy a couple cars withyour winnings and then come back later for more. With 800 vehicles tocollect, that could easily tickle the collector bone in GT fans. But,the collection process has a couple huge issues.

Firstly, unlessyou click on a vehicle to look at its stats, you have no idea if youalready own it or not. So, if you choose to view Toyotas vehicles andthere are a dozen cars on the screen, you cant just glance ateverything on sale and tell what you have and dont have. No, you needto click on an individual car, look at a stat that tells you how many ofthat model that you have, back out, choose the next car and thenrepeat. I really dont understand why there isnt a green checkmark orsomething next to rides that you already have.

The second issue,which is actually not quite as debilitating (but still annoying), isthat the game runs on a calendar system and on each day (days areadvanced by entering an event) you can only buy vehicles from fourmanufacturers. Every two days these four choices change to offer up newcars to pick from. So, one day you might have Honda, Toyota, Mugen andDaihatsu, whereas two days later you might be able to pick from Ford,Lamborghini, RUF and Mitsubishi. Note that you have no idea whatmanufacturers will be available when, so you cant say, Oh, Ferrariwill be available in two days. It could be 100 days for all you know.Also, even if a manufacturer is available on a day, you will only haveaccess to a limited number of its vehicles at any given time. By mycount, you can purchase about a dozen at a time at most, though youmight also only be able to choose from one or two cars. So whenLamborghini or Ferrari does eventually show up, dont count on beingable to totally stock up as your selection may be very limited.

Now,while your car collecting may end in madness, Gran Turismo on the PSPdoes offer two (theoretically) nice options for having your garage gothe extra mile. Firstly, you can trade cars with other players over anAd-Hoc connection. Some cars can be shared (a.k.a. copied, so youllstill have one) while others can be traded (which means youd have togive it up to get something else). The shared functionality (where carsare copied) works in one giant process, where the game will compare yourgarages, figure out which cars your buddy needs and give them all tohim at once.

Secondly, the game will allow you to transfer yourgarage to Gran Turismo 5 on the PlayStation 3 once its out. Obviously Icant really test this yet as GT5 is unfortunately not out yet, but itsounds like itll be a painless transfer. I have my own personalfeelings about this in that I think itll essentially break your GT5experience (I dont want to start my game with the 250+mph BugattiVeyron I recently purchased), but the option is there for those who wantto take advantage of it.

In terms of competitive play, GranTurismo also lets you race against up to three of your friends at a timeover an Ad-Hoc connection. You have three options – one is astraight-up race with whatever you have, one gives less-skilled players ahead start, and a third puts those same players in better cars whilemore skillful drivers will be in slower vehicles. All three modes workwell enough, though theyre all one-shot races. In other words, therearent any tournament or multi-race options here. But, you do win moneythat goes straight into your bank account, which is nice.
Beingthat Im such a massive fan of the Gran Turismo franchise, Im having ahard time coming to grips with the fact that this isnt a great (oreven just good) game. It pains me to say so, but its the truth. Whilethe driving mechanics are great, if somewhat dated, the numerouspresentation issues (like the complete lack of a career mode) reallykeep this from being what it could, and should, have been.




Hollywood: The Directors Cut Extended Edition


About Mitul Narula

Mitul Narula is a Student, blogger, and Web Designer. Connect With him on Twitter | Facebook| Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge