Game Name: Race Driver: Grid
Release Date: Available Now: Dec 31, 1970
Race Driver: Grid Race Driver: GRID is the latest addition to the TOCA Touring Car series by Code
“Race, crash, <<rewind, race, win!”
Racing games are usually tarred with the same brush, the same monotonous track, limited cars, adequate graphics and unrealistic reactions. Well it’s safe to say that GRID is none of these.
Want to find out more?
GRID from the makers of the TOCA touring Car series by Codemasters bring another big hitter with their attempt at an arcade and simulator hybrid. Codemasters have found a place in the ever growing racing genre to provide a racing game that does more than just race. Not only do you get the usual tarmac racing on tracks but also a chance like with other titles to street race and against one opponent or as a team. Then if you are bored with the monotonous racing, try a bit of destruction derby then a dash of Drifting.
How it looks
The graphical engine in has been revamped and also given a new modern look which gives the game a unique but realistic look. The crash system in the game which controls all the bumps, scrapes and full blown collisions makes your car look and react as it should. Plus with the rewind function to give that added ‘wow’ factor, makes you want to crash just so you can see the replay.
If you play the PC version like me you will need to make sure it will work on your system. I found that even with ‘adequate’ or low end systems you won’t have much if any trouble playing the game. Graphically it can struggle if you have a slow system like with any other game but by default you should be able to play it without compromising graphical detail to a great extent.
Game play is full of rich textures, highly reflective cars and details streetscapes and race circuits. The style of each race differs at every location; yes we have all played on a circuit and on the street but Grid adds that air of realism that can’t be matched. Every detail from the street on which you race to the distant landscapes all look realistic and draw you further into the game. There is nothing worse in my opinion as a racing game that delivers on graphics but let’s says not game play or feel. I think that GRID delivers all three and more.
As you play you will notice the effects such as motion blur, causing the scenery to fade and focus on the car. This is a cool effect and makes you seem like you are there. Like with the environments the cars themselves look highly detailed and polished, that is until you take a diversion off track or smack into a wall. Then your car looks more like something that you would find in a scrap yard. But with the usual views, inside and outside of the driver’s seat you won’t find something you don’t like the look of.
How it works
You have the choice to play either in career mode, single race or multiplayer. Each one offers the same great game play but at different paces. Let’s look at the career mode.
Career mode is composed of seasons and you as a player start off in a team. You can customize your team by name, members and colour etc.
The game is set in seasons in which you play a certain amount of races or events to gain your money and reputation. As you advance in the game through seasons you will gain more reputation in any one of the three territories; US, Europe and Japan. Each one tends to offer a different game play style but each one allows you to gain reputation, money and ultimately get to a new stage. As with each location there are also 3 stages to each, as you win races you will get more reputation which unlocks more races and cars.
At the end of each season you get statistics such as money you have gained, reputation and overall world ranking. Also if you have a teammate you can see where they lie compared to you.
Another way to gain money is sponsorship. You will have the option as you advance to get new and bigger sponsors. Each sponsor has requirements such as you must come in a certain position or win a certain amount of races. But using them and choosing them can make big money!
Checkpoints a thing of the past!
Making a mistake on older racing games meant either trying to finish in a decent position or starting from a pre-defined point, not GRID. In GRID if you make a mistake, <<rewind. Select the point at which you want to play from and play>. This means you don’t have to restart if on the last corner of the last lap you screw up and crash or get overtook. You can go back and try again. The only thing that gets me about this system is that you can’t go back too far and sometimes it seems a little unpredictable whether it will go back far enough before you made a mistake. But overall this feature is something that I will praise for it’s really like a lifeline, it is something that other games could do with and probably would make me pick them up again.
Playing on the track with 19 other racers controlled by AI is one of the games most thrilling and exciting parts of any game. Typically AI in racing games means passing waves and waves of cars whilst they happily plod around the track. The ones in GRID won’t let you win easily, making winning that little bit harder. Pushing, banging and blocking your every move, they have to be one of the ‘smartest’ and frustrating computer opponents in any racing game I have ever played. Whilst you race they will try their hardest not just to beat you but to make sure you haven’t got much of a car to race with. Playing on that factor can sometimes be an advantage as they don’t only scrap with you but with other racers. This gives you opportunities to pass, slipstream or even knock racers off the track.
But you have to be careful not to damage yourself too badly. Not to worry though it’s not hard to win this as far as I can see is to make you more aware of your surroundings and the tracks, it’s certainly more entertaining.
How it plays
So that’s enough of the stats and systems, how does the game play?
Each vehicle plays differently such as pure street racers, sports, rally, circuit, stock and more. Depending on your style you may only want to play a certain style but that won’t get you far. You have the option to use many cars which vary greatly in grip, power and acceleration. The responsiveness is quick but not jerky like with some racers. Picking cars makes all the difference, some are more for circuit racing others for close street racing. The learning curve on getting to grips with the feel of each car is not steep and can be easily mastered. However getting to grips is more difficult if you are used to the usual get in a line and stay there attitude.
Game play styles
Whether you like, GT, Open wheel, Pro Muscle, Touring Cars, Drifting, Touge, endurance or demolition derby you will most likely find something to suit your taste. You tend to find some of these styles more common in each territory but as you advance they all become harder to accomplish. At the end of each stage once you have won or completed every race in that section you have the option to race a driver from the leading team in the game, these are usually a lot harder to win and involve more concentration.
Controls and ease of use
The whole selection process and menu style is clear and easy to use, whether you are using a gamepad or even a keyboard and mouse. You won’t be easily frustrated as the controls are easy to pick up. The only problem I found was using custom controllers on the PC, I had to manually program in the controls outside of game in order for my controller to work. Since then moving onto an Xbox360 controller for windows I have had no issues and works better than ever. I would say one of these on the PC is a must and will make the game seem easier to use and more enjoyable, especially with Force feedback as you feel every bump gear change and road surface.
Multiplayer offers fast, high octane fuelled game play with all the same features as the single player. With GRID online you don’t need any other software to play and is again easy to control and find and create servers. The only thing that may stop you is if you have a shoddy connection.
- Beautiful graphics
- Excellent game play
- Wide choice of vehicles
- Wide range of tracks
- Replay-able races mean you don’t have to accept defeat.
- Realistic AI
- Realistic damage
- Sound which puts you in the driving seat
- Compatibility with some controllers for PC
- Slow loading screens
- None that I can think of.
GRID is a racing game, like others it offers game play styles which are fun fast and sometimes unpredictable. Unlike others it offers all this with excellent game play, superb graphics and a game play experience like no other game out at the moment. I think GRID is one of the premiere racing games and would look good if played on a 1080p TV in full HD!
Also available on PS3/XBOX360/DS