We got a taste of what Sony's flagship racing simulation Gran Turismo would be like with F1 cars in GT3. Hopes were high that they'd return in GT4, and rumors were rampant that motorcycles would appear as well. Neither happened (nor did online play) but Gran Turismo with motorcycles is finally a reality in Tourist Trophy.
At first glance, it's just what you'd expect from a game essentially built from the same elements as GT4: the same graphics, menus and nuances are there - only the cars have been replaced with motorcycles. At second glance, it's ... just what you'd expect. There's no steering around the fact that this game feels pretty quick-and-dirty from the presentation standpoint, but at least they started out with great material to pull from.
Having the same "genes" as GT4 benefits Tourist Trophy many-fold. One, it's pretty. Two, the courses - most of which have been repurposed from GT4 - are painstakingly detailed re-creations of their real-world counterparts. Three, it obeys the laws of physics ... mostly. To the game's main audience, the motorcycle racing enthusiast, this is a benefit. Those looking to poke their toes in the pool, so to speak, should expect quite a challenge just getting around the track.
As in real life, cycle racing is much more technical than it looks, and the gameplay requires players to learn proper braking techniques or end up off their bikes and skidding - in an unfittingly comical manner for such a realistic game - across the asphalt. When you're comfortable with the handling and the often non-intuitive controls, the races become thrilling, but it's still going to seem like the bikes don't have the weight they should.
Also, die-hard two-wheelers will notice some odd gaps in the realism. The motorcycles don't "stand up" when you brake around a curve the way a real bike does, and the highest-end, real-world racing cycles use a different clutch - but these don't. The first-person view, handlebars and all, is a treat, but bike and rider often don't interact with each other all that realistically.
With its impressive roster of current and vintage motorcycles, GT4-style photo mode, and real-world tracks, Tourist Trophy is definitely heavy on fan service. While many gamers will be turned off by the daunting gameplay, the true superbike diehard can be sure they'll get their money's worth — though Namco's MotoGP series does the genre better on whole.