GRID Review

GRID is all about speed and presentation. The races are insanely fast and you only need one wrong turn to lose (and to create an awesome crash). As for the presentation, GRID immediately pushes you into the game without a tutorial. To put it bluntly, GRID doesn’t cater itself in either direction in the racing game genre.

Instead of leaning too much towards the hardcore racing fan crowd or the flashy “underground” racing crowd, the game is nestled in the middle. There aren’t any qualifying races or any tinkering with what’s under your cars’ hood, neither is there much of an “underground” feel (no running from the cops either), other than a few drifting missions here and there.

Like most other racing games, getting wins earns you money and reputation, which in turn opens up more races, including the game’s highlight track, a beefy 24-hour race. As you accumulate more and more wins, you’ll eventually begin scraping together a team of other racers like yourself. Of course, your teammates won’t be the top-dog racers so adjusting your sponsorships (detailed below) is a factor, in order to earn even more money.

After winning races, either through team wins or individual wins, you accumulate money. While each win will get you a decent amount of cash, a large percentage of your earnings will come through sponsors. In an interesting marketing angle, you have control on where you can put advertisements and sponsors on your car — for the right price, of course. But just slapping on the sponsors and driving around won’t keep them happy; all of the sponsors will have specific requirements in order to keep the money rolling in. They range from the easy (finish the race) to the moderately challenging (beat a specific racer or finish in XX place).

I liked the camera work and found the different modes to be accommodating. One thing I liked is during a harsh crash, the camera pans out a little and gives a little slack as the carnage and the flying pieces of metal fling around. It’s a neat little cinematic experience during the gut-churning moments.

Damage plays a central role in GRID, not only because it looks so good but also because it can have lasting effects on your vehicle. Using an upgraded engine from Colin McRae DIRT, crashes and collisions never looked better. While there’s no harm in rewinding and watching your spectacular crashes over and over with the instant replay feature, you don’t want to engage in crashes during a race. In other racing titles, damage tends to either have no effect on your car’s performance or have a major impact; for GRID, the damage model takes a nice medium plane. Damage will affect your car’s racing abilities: your damaged radiator will eventually burnout the engine or your twisted axels and tires will cause your car to turn in other directions.

You can also take a mulligan at difficult parts. Called Flashbacks in-game, if you happen to screw up the last turn before the big finish or just want to avoid an upcoming crash, you can rewind up to 10 seconds prior to the event and play it out differently. Depending on the game’s difficulty level, which you can alter track to track, you’ll get a set number of flashbacks. I’m not a normal racing gamer so even with plenty of flashbacks at my disposal, I still found the game to be difficult at times.

The audio never sounded better. During crashes you can hear the heart-churning metal grinding against other cars, the window glass shatter and tires screeching before impact. During races, you have a buddy that feeds you information, such as prominent opponents you should beat and serious damage to your car — sometimes he would report on car damage that didn’t even occur.

There’s something for everyone here in GRID, and Codemasters gets the checkered flag for crafting a fine game. While I’m more of a relaxed racer, I’m having plenty of fun with GRID. For the hardcore fans, there’s also a fully functional online racing environment that I’m not going to touch — for the sake of my dignity.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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