About as fun as a car museum.

Premise 1: Racing cars in real life is tons of fun. Premise 2: Most racing games are not very realistic portrayals of the real-life racing experience. Premise 3: Most racing games are pretty fun. Conclusion: An extremely realistic racing game will be even more fun than those other racing games.

As far as I can tell, this has been the logical motivation behind the Gran Turismo series since its start on the original PlayStation; a logic still in force for the much-anticipated PSP version of the game. But, as my logic professor used to say, the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises.

Don’t get me wrong, Gran Turismo is as detailed a replica of real-life racing as you’re likely to get on a portable system. The years of development effort are apparent in the almost fetishistic attention to detail in almost all elements of the racing experience. It shows in the hundreds of lovingly crafted car models — ranging from million-dollar racing coupes to pickup trucks (yes, really). It shows in the dozens of accurately recreated racing locales, including city streets and race tracks but also dirt- and snow-covered rally tracks. It shows in the feeling of power and acceleration as you push your feather-light car forward with hundreds of horsepower, past scenery that seems too beautiful for a portable system. The fact that such a realistic and physical racing simulation has been packed into a handheld system is an amazing technical feat.

But none of it makes the game any more fun.

(full article)