TOCA Race Driver 3 Challenge
Can this PSP exclusive improve the formula?
When is a game not a game? When does the addition of realism and accuracy cross the line between what is ostensibly interactive entertainment but what starts to look and feel like a simulation? Can a sim still be a game? Is it still 'fun'? What about turning a simulation into a game?
If this was a philosophical essay on game design theory, the latest TOCA exclusively for PSP, TOCA Race Driver 3 Challenge, could be the case study. Incredibly detailed, this is what one imagines motor racing would be like if only we had access to the vehicles on offer and could race them around the track with up to 19 fellow drivers. For those of us that can't though, there's TOCA - with the added advantage of being able to race wherever and whenever you want, and minus the insurance worries when you write your motor off...
That's 'when', not 'if' - rest assured, it will happen. Many times too - at least initially, for TOCA is tough and not for uncommitted learner drivers. Even the novice mode is unforgiving for a while until you get the feel for your car and its handling. By which time of course you have to worry about other not-so-insignificant factors such as other drivers and how to beat them. There's no arcade style power-sliding here, no hints or visible racing lines to ease your progress - the only lines on the track are those you'll see marking the edge of the course.
"There's no arcade style power-sliding here, no hints or visible racing lines to ease your progress."
Each event within a level helps you hone your skills and prepares you for the final qualifying race and subsequent championship. Events such as steering through several cone gates as quickly as possible, recording an average speed over a certain number of laps, performing a pit-stop at the correct time and stopping several times on the track within certain zones ensure that TOCA has its bases firmly covered, with an abundance of variety, entertainment and most importantly tuition to gear you up for the championship. Place in the top three and you can progress to the next tier.