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Tourist Trophy - The Real Riding Simulator PlayStation 2

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Polyphony Digital
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Tourist Trophy – The Real Riding Simulator, an introduction.

For years now the Gran Turismo series has been regarded by many as the ultimate console driving experience so any other driving title Polyphony Digital declare they are working on is bound to get maximum attention, even if it doesn't involve cars. As soon as Tourist Trophy – The Real Riding Simulator was announced it was perceived by most as being Gran Turismo for motorcycles. Now that we've played the game I wouldn't necessarily go along with that view. Don't get me wrong what we have here is a game that shows promise but it's left us with a definite feeling that it could have been much better.

What's the game about?

Tourist Trophy offers two main game modes. There's the Arcade Mode and  the Tourist Trophy Mode. There's also a Replay Theatre Mode where you can access all of your saved replays and a Music Theatre Mode that allows you to play the various music tracks that appear in the game (which is totally useless for deaf gamers of course). The Arcade Mode offers you a choice of 1-on-1 races, races against 3 other opponents, Time Trial races against your own ghost and a 2-player split-screen mode. Of course the Tourist Trophy Mode is where most will spend their time with the game. Here you can acquire four different licences (Novice, Junior, Expert and Super), take part in a Challenge Mode, compete in Race Events, practice in a Time Trial Mode, access your Garage or simply take pictures of yourself in action with the Photo Mode.

What's good about the game?

Without a doubt the most impressive aspect of Tourist Trophy is the attention to detail that has been lavished on the included bikes. There are over 100 bikes in the game and they all look impressive. The racing model is definitely more geared to being a simulation rather than an arcade experience (in truth it never reaches the levels of realism that Microprose's GP500 did on the PC but nevertheless it's more of a simulation than most motorcycle games), which will please those who are looking for a more serious racing experience. There's no earning money in Tourist Trophy so you won't have to race the same races over and over again to afford better parts and bikes. Bikes are won by completing challenges in Challenge Mode. Customisation is rather limited in Tourist Trophy. You can tweak options for suspension, exhaust, tyres, brakes and drivetrain. You can also save three configurations, which is a nice inclusion. You'll also get to change your rider's gear for both racing and street gear. It's also worth mentioning that you have a proper driver's view in Tourist Trophy, something we've never had in the GT series.

What's not so good about the game?

Disappointingly there are numerous areas of the game that could have been much better. One of the biggest disappointments has to be that you're only ever racing against three opponents (at the most). Yes that's four bikes in a race, if you count the one you're driving. When you consider the MotoGP games have many more  bikes per race, you have to wonder why the developers have limited the game in such a fashion. It never feels like you're having a true race with such a low number of opponents. Such a low amount seems poor but it could be forgivable if the AI was truly impressive. Sadly the AI appears to have all the faults of the AI in the Gran Turismo games. The racing line is stuck to, at all costs (even when it would be beneficial to deviate from it) and the AI is far too cautious when it comes to cornering. The AI slows down far too much, which creates great opportunities for overtaking. What makes these AI problems all the more frustrating is that they are exactly the problems that have dogged the Gran Turismo series  since its beginning. Unlike the Gran Turismo series, Tourist Trophy is not immediately accessible. Circuit familiarity and mastering the art of cornering at the correct speed are essential here and whilst the game is enjoyable once you've invested the time and effort in learning to handle the bikes correctly. It's also disappointing that most of the bikes come from Japanese manufacturers. Honda and Yamaha have over 20 bikes in the game whilst Triumph has 3 bikes and Ducati only has 2. Other disappointments include recycled tracks from GT4, no online racing and as we mentioned earlier, streamlined customisation options.

How does it look?

Tourist Trophy is approximately equal to the GT series when it comes to the visuals. Most of the circuits you'll have seen before if you've played the latest GT games but it's the bikes that really catch the eye. Each of the bike models have been lovingly recreated and are genuinely impressive. It's also great to finally have a real driver's view in the game but you'll notice that the quality of some of the bikes, when in this view, leaves a lot to be desired (which gives the impression that this feature was added later in the development) .

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers won't have any problems with Tourist Trophy. All information in the game is shown in text . In fact there's no speech in the game. This means that all of the information on the licence tests and bike descriptions etc. are shown in text. All of the text in the game can be read at your own pace.

Final thoughts.

I honestly believe that the gun has definitely been jumped with the release of Tourist Trophy and that the game should have been held back and released as a PlayStation 3 game to take advantage of the extra power that console will undoubtedly have. With a full number of AI opponents on the track, improved visual quality (of the circuits in particular), online racing and even the ability to use the motion sensor to aid with  steering as an option (although you're not going to have force-feedback in a PlayStation 3 game are you?), the game could have really been a launch title to truly impress. Instead what we have here is a game that looks like it's been restricted by the limitations of what's now an aged console. The AI is particularly disappointing. The same faults from previous GT games are all here and I really hope that Polyphony Digital finally get it sorted out for GT5. If you're a motorcycle enthusiast you might appreciate what Tourist Trophy has to offer. Those looking for a casual motorcycle racing game should look elsewhere though. The learning curve is steep and no enjoyment can really be gathered until the learning curve has been conquered.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Tourist Trophy can't really claim to be on the same level as the Gran Turismo series. Those who are determined enough to spend time getting to grips with the game will find a game that rewards the time you invest. However only having three opponents to race against is only one of a handful of disappointments that take the shine off the game.