There's an open-world thing going on in The Fast and the Furious, and in between crew challenges, you can drive around the city, hitting various hot spots, dealerships, and tuner shops. However, you can just as easily pull up the game's city map and instantly warp to a specific location, further shrinking the game's already streamlined, miniaturized take on Tokyo. There are a total of 80 different crew members for you to challenge, as well as 40 racers you'll meet out on the open road, whom you can challenge to a race on the spot by flashing your headlights. It's a good amount of racing, but even early on it seems like you're just racing on the same strips of road over and over again.
It'll do in a pinch, but there are already plenty of superior street racers available for the PSP.
To its credit, the game does feature a great variety of licensed production cars and aftermarket parts, with a focus on Japanese makes and models, which adds an air of authenticity to the game. In addition to loads of performance enhancements, you can customize the look of your cars with body kits, rims, spoilers, layer upon layer of vinyl decals, and a veritable rainbow of paint colors. For all the visual customizing you can do, in the end it's not very satisfying, due to the game's jagged presentation.
As is rather popular within the genre of street racers, it's eternally nighttime in The Fast and the Furious, and artistically, the game does a decent job of presenting you with a cool, neon-tinged vision of Tokyo. Unfortunately, on the technical side, the game can't support that vision. Cars tend to look like boxy approximations of their real-world counterparts, and the colors always seem to look flat, with lots of color banding and low-res textures in the environments. There's some wicked aliasing, too, which fuzzes up the horizon to the point that it's difficult to tell where the road goes beyond a couple hundred yards ahead of you. The frame rate is also real choppy, something that the game tries to cover up with a screen-rattle effect, though the constant shaking just makes it that much harder to look at. Save for some really unnatural-sounding squeals that you can get out of your tires, the sounds of the cars are unremarkable. The licensed soundtrack gets dragged down by some songs that sound like they're there on behalf of the marketing department, but there's also some good dark electronic music and Asian hip-hop that's more in line with the tuner feel.
More than anything, The Fast and the Furious evokes a sense of indifference. The PSP already has a wealth of similarly styled street racers, several of which offer a greater variety of driving, some semblance of a story, and a slicker presentation. Those looking for an extension of the films will be sorely disappointed, and those looking for some solid street racing have no shortage of other, better options.