There were screenshots. There was video. There was even a picture of the PSP 1000 sitting next to a UMD with 'Gran Turismo' on it. So why has it taken five years for the damn thing to finally appear on Sony's handheld?
We can only assume that this is what Polyphony has been doing to it in that time:
Above: So... you've taken the '4' off the title? Oh, and the UMD. Good work
May 11, 2004 we saw that PSP box art and swanky UMD that implied it was ready to go. TWO THOUSAND AND FOUR. We could go on but, for the sake of our blood pressure, let's just forget that the last five years ever happened and start again. So... what have we got?
The new game features 800 vehicle models and 45 tracks. Impressive figures, although some cars are only different in name (like 5 variations of the Hyundai Coupe/Tiberion) and some tracks mere alternative routes around the same course such as Suzuka's East and West variations. You can also drive them in reverse to get even more lifespan from the game. Duplicates or no, it's bewildering when you're actually presented with the choice.
Above: Aaargh! We can't decide
The game is almost identical to PS2 Gran Turismo titles in terms of style and sensation of movement and, as you'll probably know, that means quality. Few sims manage to make every car model feel unique, but GT pulls it off just as convincingly on PSP as it does on PS2 or PS3.
The depth of the simulation means that G-forces (no, not the guinea pigs) are shifting as you take the turns, apply the brakes or gun the throttle. You wouldn't think a handheld racer could truly convey that sensation of steering a superpowered car around race circuits or through narrow back-streets, but PSP handles it with aplomb. At 60fps, the simulation of driving is never compromised and the faster cars are simply a pleasure to drive.
Above: Laguna Seca's challenging corners are a real proving ground