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Gran Turismo review

Sony’s premiere racer guns the throttle and zooms onto your PSP

Driving games may have been out of the spotlight in recent years, and while Colin McRae DiRT 2 may be enjoying UK chart success as we type, it's not really a serious racer like Gran Turismo. But this is the real deal - a racing fan's racer. The enjoyment here comes from careful braking, setting up your car for the turns ahead and practising until you're as close to perfection as your fingers allow.

To help you understand these fundaments of driving, the game features the usual license tests, here named 'challenges' which are no longer integral to progression in the game. Yes, that does mean driving 100m and stopping again before you can move on to harder challenges (like driving 400m and stopping. Yawn.)

Above: Surely we've outgrown the need for the go/stop test now...

Consider your career OVER

The single-player mode has been greatly simplified. Shockingly, there is no championship or career to speak of – just all of the tracks available from the beginning with a D grade next to them. Racing well earns you 'AI points' which let you progress through the ranks until you're racing on S grade. Sadly, these points are pretty much invisible and you'll often win a race with no tangible advance in level, making the sense of progression hard to enjoy.

There are two more types of racing too. There's a drift challenge which sees you attempting to drift through marked zones on the same courses, attempting to fill a bar of flags and beat your best score. The game encourages you to tweak the car settings to unbalance it, such as putting soft tyres on the front and hard tyres on the rear, but it's not very exciting.

Above: The drift mode in full swing. Geddit?

Much more enjoyable is the time attack mode, which lets you save ghost cars onto your memory stick (or hard drive if you're a 'Go-er'). This is classic GT and exactly the sort of thing its hardcore fans want from the game. Shaving tenths off lap times and pushing braking points may sound dull to some, but to us it's petrol-head heaven.

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Gran Turismo on PSP is not quite as slick as its PS2 or PS3 brothers and the lack of a career mode is surprising. It's clumsy at times and the quality varies immensely, but it's still a class act. (Also available as a download on the PlayStation Network.)

Franchise nameGran Turismo
UK franchise nameGran Turismo
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Alternative namesGran Turismo Portable
Release date1 October 2009 (US), (UK)