TOCA Racing Driver
The TOCA series lands on the PSP with quite a statement against their rivals by being a realistic racer. Your role as a rookie driver is to climb the ranks amongst the worldâ€™s best by winning races, sponsorship and respect.
In all there are 15 different types of racing varying from formula ford, rallying to truck racing all on genuine circuits throughout the world. The feeling of weight distribution, traction and physics are rendered fairly well to the PSP and ensures a realistic representation of the sport thus far on the hand-held.
Damage simulation is also present with different icons on your display to tell you how damaged your suspension, tyres, engine, transmission and so forth is. However when my car was moderately damaged I did not feel the effects on my carâ€¦Only when I lost one of my front wheels!
The music is your typical rock affair however I tend to turn it off and listen to the real music â€“ The engines. The roar of each class of car is rendered well as are the screech of tires under cornering. There is also an option to allow custom soundtracks to be played from your memory card which is a welcome addition.
Graphically the game sports a matrix overlay, it seems almost like the road textures are dithered and the framerate is inconsistent. On some races there is a large amount of frameskip to keep the action running fast which is also a distraction.
One major issue I have with the game though is the inconsistent A.I. On the straights and under braking you are pretty much always faster and better, however if you take the racing line under braking the A.I. will almost certainly close the door. With stock cars this is not much of an issue but on formula ford cars it is common to see them run over your front left or right tyre damaging the suspension and handling.
Another gripe is the long loading times between races and through menus however upon re-starting the race it is instant. This is great because there will be many times where you will be forced to restart the event due to the clumsy A.I.
The tracks are plentiful and have favourites from the Nurburg Ring to Brands Hatch and Laguna Seca. Weather conditions also apply to throw you off guard and to push your driving technique. Overall this an enjoyable and frustrating racing title in almost equal amounts. If the sequel improves on the graphics and A.I. we could be onto a winner.