Race Driver: GRID
Posted 4 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
In a world where the racing game genre is flooded with Burnouts, Need for Speeds, Forzas, PGR’s and Gran Turismos, one developer decided to deliver not only “another quality racing game” but took a path that no one industry wanted to do: taking a bit of all the racers out there, put them in a bowl. Only difference: they made it better by putting their own special ingredient: Balls.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the best all-around racing game on the market and a serious contender for “Racing Game Of The Year”: GRID, Codemasters’ latest offering in the Race Driver series.
Before entering GRID’s single player career mode codenamed “GRID World”, you’ll need to create a driver profile and link it to an audio name (really cool feature by the way). There are male and female names available (not all of them but the most common) and if you don’t like to be called by your name, you can pick a nickname from the list. Once you’re done, you’ll be asked to complete a License Qualifier race in order to acquire your rookie license.
Did you get it? Then you’re ready for GRID World.
GRID World is a single player career mode that allows you to pick what sort of race you want to play, and which region you wish to race in. Each region (America, Europe or Japan) has 3 licenses – Rookie, Pro and Elite, and to gain them you need to earn reputation points by completing races. The more licenses you gain, the more events you unlock. If you were a fan of TOCA Race Driver series, the event types available in GRID will be very familiar to you. Of course, you won’t find any off-road events since those have all been moved over into last year’s DiRT but Codemasters has added three new events: drif racing, Touge racing, as well as a demolition derby. Yes…a demolition derby! You will need to master these disciplines in order to succeed and complete the 45+ events available in the game. By winning races in the different events, you’ll gain cash for winning races and/or completing objectives set by sponsors. This cash will be used to buy more cars that will allow you to enter different types of events and even hire a teammate to race for your team that you will eventually create.
Now before being able to create your own team, you will have to race for other teams since you start the game as a new driver with no money, but with lots of talent! Once you accumulate the money required for your own racing team, then you’ll have total control of your destiny. As you progress through your career, you’ll be able to put sponsor logos all over your cars. These can help you earn more cash if you achieve the objectives each sponsor requires. While you have total control on where all these logos would go on your car, its emplacements will have an effect on how much money you can earn. So as you gain more sponsors during your career, offers from the sponsors will be different depending not only on the kind of race but also on how and where your sponsor logo will be shown on your car. The choice is yours.
One of the new things that really helps the game play in GRID is the “Flashback” feature that allows you to literally go back in time and correct a driving mistake a-la Prince of Persia. If you crash and lost all hope of finishing first, just hit the flashback button, replay the past few seconds of the race until you get to a place you want to restart from, and try that tricky section over again. Of course, to be able to use this feature, your car has to be completely wrecked (something that will happen often). “Flashbacks” are also limited – you’ll get fewer the higher your difficulty setting is. So at the beginning of the game, you won’t use this feature very often but the further you’ll advance in your career, the more useful this feature will be, as the races tend to get more difficult, and the A.I drivers tend to be…more stupid and reckless.
The controls are very simple, you have gas and brakes done with the triggers, camera view changes done with one of the bumpers, steering with the left thumb stick, panning around your car with the right thumb stick. It’s almost like every other racing game. It’s nothing special but all really simple and easy to pick up and play. You’ll also be able to use the XB360 Steering Wheel. While it’s a great addition, the racing could turn really ugly at times. I would recommend to anyone to stay away from the steering wheel…unless you really want to. And I mean…REALLY want to.
The rest of the game’s features are very simplistic and generic. You don’t tweak your cars, team management is simple, the interface is downright elegant, and easy to browse (so you spend less time clicking around and more time on the track…GT 5 Prologue, I’m looking in your direction!). For example, let’s say you want to buy a new car. So instead of taking you to another menu, GRID lets you make all your purchases directly in the same screen where you choose your next event. Of course, that’s if I need to buy a car. If not, you can jump into the action right away. The only real “negative point” I see here is the eBay Motors branded screen where you can purchase and sell used cars. It doesn’t fit well in my opinion…But hey, it’s a racing game, the perfect paradise for advertisement.
Now, if you’re one of those folks who hates online gaming, you might feel ripped off by Codemasters because of the absence of a offline split screen option. I think that with the emergence of online play, you will see less racing games supporting offline split screen in the future. I’m sure the developers had their reasons. And if you play online, then I’m happy to tell you that is just as good as the single player, minus the flashback feature. You can play Ranked and Unranked matches with up to 11 other drivers, and runs very smoothly with almost no lag…that’s when the servers don’t die. We had some troubles connecting to different games during different review sessions…let’s hope a patch will be released soon and fix this little problem.
Running at a steady 30fps with plenty of motion blur and excellent lighting effects, Race Driver GRID offers some of the most convincing and beautiful racing visuals seen in a video game today. The game uses an evolved version of the Neon engine already used in DiRT, which has been completely rewritten to allow not only crisp graphics but persistent damage environments as well. In that area, Grid does not disappoint. If you thought Burnout had the most amazing crash effects, prepare yourself to be surprised because Codemasters has created the most dramatic racing crash effects EVER! Bumper’s fall off, cars lose their doors… The parts from crashed cars will even affect your driving is you happen to pass over some debris and sometimes, they will stick under your car and literally make you loose control. Talk about realism…
The audio in GRID is very good too. Crashes, bumps and car sounds sound realistic while crowd and ambient sounds are brilliant as well. The downside? Well, the lack of a great soundtrack. But that seems to be the problem with a lot of other racers out there… Then again, the in-game music can only be heard in the menus and at specific times during the race. So the music won’t be a big factor.
Does GRID have replay value? Of course it has, and more than you expect. Remember, you have 45+ events to unlock, five different difficulty levels, steering wheel support for the suicidal and of course online gaming. I don’t know any racing game on the market that has no replay value. So GRID is no different.
To whoever is doing a racing game as we speak, start taking notes. Codemasters are putting themselves on the map as very, very, very serious players in the racing genre for years to come. Race Driver GRID is an immersing, addictive, exhilarating, beautiful and fun racing experience you can’t afford to miss, the best so far. So to all the Forzas, Burnouts, GT’s and NFS out there…my advice would be to check your mirrors because it’s going to hurt.Verdict: A clear buy! ‘nuff said!
* Lots of replay value
* Flashback feature
* Excellent presentation, menus very easy and neat
* Car damage physics are incredible
* Interesting and fun events during GRID World Mode
* Good balance between arcade and simulation
* Good selection of cars
* Ebay Motors branded menu is useless and gratuitous
* No car tuning can turn-off some folks
* A.I opponents are crazy mofo’s
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Release Date : 2008/06/03
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Codemasters
Developer : Codemasters
Category : Racing
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10