Arts&Entertainment

sore thumbs

By Matthew Scott Hunter

 

Burning rubber
Racing game comes up short at finish line

 

‘Gran Turismo’ (E)
***
Sony Computer Entertainment
PlayStation Portable

 

Gear-head gamers have been hoping that the portable version of their all-time favorite driving simulation would be like a sleek, sexy little sports car — compact, but still fully loaded. Unfortunately, the UMD disc is so small, that “Gran Turismo” has lost a lot more than a little trunk space. The first thing franchise fans will likely notice and promptly complain about is the complete omission of any sort of career mode. It’s about as shocking as buying a Ferrari only to discover that it doesn’t come with seats.

This leaves us with a collection of one-shot single-player races, a few challenge modes and your basic 4-player Ad Hoc multiplayer. All of these features work well enough and run at a seamless 60 frames per second, but it still seems like a light package for a “Gran Turismo” game. Rather than allowing auto aficionados the opportunity to tweak and upgrade everything under the hood, the game simply provides an unlockable collection of 800 cars that you can trade with your friends like Pokemon. The races themselves favor a gentle touch, and the game is hyper-realistic in just about every regard (with the exception of the licensed vehicles being absolutely dent-proof). It’s still “Gran Turismo,” but it’s “Gran Turismo Lite.”

 

‘Saw’ (M)
***
Konami
Xbox 360

 

Given Jigsaw’s affinity for games (well documented in half a dozen Saw films), it was just a matter of time before he segued into the realm of interactive entertainment. And while his macabre brainteasers have grown a little stale on the silver screen, they do fit rather nicely into the survival horror genre. The gruesome tasks you’re forced to perform are challenging and good, twisted fun. The clunky melee combat can be a bit torturous, but “Saw’s” all about being tortured, so fans of the series might just feel like it adds to the immersion.

 

‘Star Wars the Clone Wars: Republic Heroes’ (T)
*1/2
LucasArts
Xbox 360

 

“Control! Control! You must learn control!” This is what Yoda told Luke in “The Empire Strikes Back,” but I wish the diminutive Jedi master had told the developers at Krome Studios instead. Obviously, they don’t know anything about game control. In “Republic Heroes,” you can assume the role of most of the characters from the “Clone Wars” cartoon. And then you can watch in horror as Jedi fall off floating platforms because they don’t stop moving when you stop moving them. Or you can watch clone troopers blast away at battle droids without landing a single shot. Or you can turn off this garbage and play something else.

 

‘MotorStorm: Artic Edge’ (T)
****
Sony Computer Entertainment
PlayStation Portable

 

If you’re looking for a sense of speed in your racing experience (and why wouldn’t you be?), then you can’t do much better than “MotorStorm.” Maybe it’s because the weather and mud splash effects are constantly spraying across your screen, or maybe it’s because you’re A.I. opponents crowd you relentlessly, but every race feels frantic and every victory feels sweet. If you like off-road, arcade-style racing on the go, this is the game to get.



Coupon Guide




Max Fights


Brewfest Footage



Click here for larger viewing


Coupon Guide
Relish


Coupon Guide
Fall Coupon Guide