Thursday, May 25, 2006

VG REVIEW: Tourist Trophy

Sony, for PlayStation 2
rated E for Everyone, $39.99.

Tourist Trophy" is essentially "Gran Turismo" with motorcycles.

I could end my review right there, but I’ll keep going, for those readers who want to know more.

Developed by Polyphony Digital, the studio responsible for the well-known "Turismo" series, "Trophy" bears the same marks of high quality, shiny metal surfaces and esoteric vehicular lore that mark its other games. This is a racing game for serious motorcycle enthusiasts. Casual fans need not apply.

"Trophy" is identical enough to the "GT" franchise to be its twin. As in those games, you move up to better vehicles and tougher challenges by going to "License School."

As in those games, you can tweak a variety of aspects of your ride, including the angle you handle turns and the position of your driver’s arms.

As in those games, you can watch and save photo-realistic films and photos of your races, suitable for printing or downloading onto your computer.

What’s different this time is the difficulty level. In "Gran Turismo 4" you could cut corners and knock into other drivers to gain first place, but that doesn’t fly here. Spend one too many seconds on the grass and you’ve in effect forfeited the race.

Also, the "Trophy" bikes are much harder to maneuver than the "Turismo" cars. It’s far too easy to spin out or topple on a hairpin curve, never mind getting enough speed to overtake your opponent.

Success is possible, but it requires a good deal of trial and error, more than many gamers are willing to put up with.

For hardcore gearheads, "Tourist Trophy" will provide hours of entertainment as they can endlessly tweak, race and admire their virtual bikes. Less interested gamers, however, will grow bored quickly.

But then, you already knew all that after reading the first sentence of this review.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006


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