Genre: Sport Developer: Publisher: Codemasters Classification: G Release Date: 2nd May 2008 Platforms:PCPS3XBOX360
Login to submit your review score
The Good bits
Stacks of style and racing options
The Bad stuff
Can get a little easy in the early to mid stages (especially on PC)
The door’s flapping from its hinges; every time my souped up Chevy takes a right-hander it flings open alarmingly and threatens to join my rear bumper bar, currently forming part of the trackside scenery.
My pit crew is on the radio telling me the wheels are on their last legs, but the home stretch is in sight. And while second place is a corner behind I still flog the engine mercilessly past the finish line because this is Race Driver: GRID, and you never count your proverbial chickens until you’re safely viewing the race replay.
Codemasters know a thing or two about racing games. They bought us V8 Supercars (aka TOCA or Race Driver Pro), they gave us Colin McRae Rally and then DIRT. GRID fits very nicely into the lineup as it takes the V8 Supercars-style “throw a load of car types” approach, gives us a dose of DIRT’s handling, and melds it with the superior visuals.
The fact GRID is available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 should probably indicate to experienced gamers what level of complexity the racing model is. This is definitely in the ‘hood inhabited by EA’s Need for Speed games rather than a PC-style simulators or a faux-sim such as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue or Forza 2. It’s unabashed fun. It’s fair to say most punters will have gotten more than value for money out of the game by the time the slightly dumbed-down controls render the challenge no longer worth the effort.
Yes, GRID is easy to get into, especially on PC. Start the game, wait through the Hollywood-style credits and intro, enter your name (and also the name you prefer to be called), mess with options if need be and you’re off.. No preamble, you just go.
In the game’s career mode, Codemasters have taken care to tell a story. Admittedly it’s not much of a story, but even so it provides you with a lot more impetus to grind through the next three races when you know you’re doing it for much needed reputation (to open new parts of the game) or cash (for cars). Some small credit must also go to being called by your name. I know it’s a machine but it’s still hot.
Your reflexes will cop a taxing here, but probably not the part of the brain reserved for strategic thought. You literally blast your way around the track without the same level of concern as a more “complex” racing game on console, and nowhere near the level of “anxiety” as the likes of a Live for Speed on PC. If you really screw up and come to grief, you can “flashback” four times a race at normal difficulty – literally rewinding the action back to before you messed up and recommencing from that point. If you’re a disciplined driver and don’t need them – you’re rewarded with extra cash at the race end.
And when you hit the end of a race, one of the sweetest replay modes in racing game history is waiting for you. To be fair, it’s been eons since there’s been a bad car racing replay mode, but this one messes with the trusted “TV cam”-style angles and adds some neat effects to it. The Fast & the Furious style shaky cam is used to good effect to denote speed, and the pace of some of the action depicted will have you wondering if you actually took that corner as fast as it’s shown. Sadly, no save function exists. Why? Beats me, as it should be child’s play to do.
The level of variety in the racing deserves mention, and it’s a feature that puts this game ahead of Project Gotham Racing and Need for Speed in the “slightly fluff racer” class. Alongside the muscle cars and pro tuners are open wheeler disciplines, loads of drift comps and the oddly named Touge, which is the name for mountain pass racing – typically a Japanese and Bathurst thing. Together it adds a level of variety competitors cannot match. It comes down to what you like more – variety in your racing or building up a stable of super hot cars. In GRID you care less about the individual vehicles and more about the racing types… the car is more of a tool than an end in itself.
One thing that potentially is a miss (or a hit, depending on your stance) is the inclusion of catchup/rubber-band AI. It’s one of those things where people either are in the “I want to be able to build a monstrous lead if I have superior driving ability” camp, or they are in the “I need a car right up my exhaust pipe no matter how good a driver I am” crew. I’m in the former, but there’s no shortage of the latter.
Having played both console and PC versions the edge must go to the Xbox 360 – if only because a tonne of thoughtful Achievements reward you for doing the kind of things you’d normally try for the hell of it. Knowing that a developer has taken the time to reward the showoffs amongst us you like to close out a winning race by flinging the car into a 180 and crossing the finish line in reverse is tops. Destruction derbyists will appreciate the fact that if they massacre a certain amount of cars there’s points in it too. And the truly masochistic can try to roll through a full GRID challenge without crashing into any cars. Good luck with that.
The PC meanwhile manages to deliver the visuals nice, smooth and fast – but it’s a little bit easy mode compared to the console versions – if you’re opting for the keyboard. I opted for the keyboard because the controller I had hooked up was detected and able to be configured in options – but not picked up in-game. Hopefully something that’s been fixed by now. As it stood, using keys sometimes verges on being automatic – with default driver aids and difficulty. As long as you’re not 100km above the proper cornering speed, you seem to be able to blast through pretty easily and the car almost seems to correct itself too much at times.
Race Driver: GRID may be almost arcade-like as a racing experience, but its depth comes your way via a worthwhile career mode, a multiplayer mode that deserves exploration and a wealth of racing categories to try your hand at. Looks great, plays great. The PC is an excellent offering, but if you’re without a wheel and you’ve got the choice – grab it on console.
If you were a fan of the previous Race Driver Series then steer clear of this game because compared to Race Driver 3 it is total garbage
No V8's or DTM's (the most popular cars from previous titles i might add) is only the start of whats wrong with this game, the graphics do look great & the damage affects are amazing but the gameplay & depth is pitiful compared to Race Driver 2 or 3
really its just NFS with less options
If your looking to play online dont bother as its already dead (wonder why) instead pick up a copy of Race Driver 3 for about $10 which still has a healthy online following (lots of AUS players) decent graphics (on PC at least) & probably the most realistic driving physics to date
Yet another popular Code Masters franchise ruined by their desire to please console kids, way to go :P
Having played a lot of motor racing games over the years, I had concerns for the first 1/2 hour of this game, the controls seemed sensitive and I couldn't adjust and settings on the cars to counteract this, as I played futher into the game, I understood what codemasters were trying to achieve, and I now love this game.
This is a really fun racing game, gone are the over the top car set-up options like in Gran Turismo, or MotoGP or the hours of lower ranks to get a car that will do a speed over 200, but It still has a very high level of detail, the cars and tracks look stunning, the damage to the cars looks realistic but not to the point where if you clipped a wall or slam into the back of the car in front, your race is ruined, even when you do have a big accident, the flashback feature is a nice option.
The other nice touch is in the team management, It's great to be able to design your car's colour scheme, hire and fire team mates or even choose different sponsers depending on how much money they through your way.
Just a few small things to pick on are the rubber band catch-up programming of the AI cars, and the lack of basic set up options for the cars.
If you enjoy car racing I would strongly recomend you go out and purchase this game.