Racedriver GRID

Codemasters have a long history of producing pretty decent games. Most people would instantly associate them with the mostly superb Colin McRae rally series. Indeed last years DIRT was a worthy addition to the series, if slightly overly Americanised, but with the quality of the game it was easily forgiven. This year we are being treated to the utterly sublime GRID, much in the same mould as DIRT but in many ways far superior.

GRID features both on and offline play, both of which are implemented fantastically so to start I’ll detail the offline. As with the previous TOCA series, to which GRID is the next evolution, you start as a rookie driver who has to win his way through different races to earn more money, better cars and increased reputation. A nice feature when first starting is that you can have the game use your own name from a pretty large pre-set list of male, female and nicknames, I love to hear it say “Hello Martin” when I first boot up! The first thing that grabs you about GRID is that it looks absolutely incredible, the attention to detail on the cars is breathtaking. I’ve noticed on the Formula 3 cars that you can see the rear drive-shafts (rods of metal that turn the wheels) spinning as you drive. On other cars you can see the exhausts move as you rev up, realistic plumes of fire spew from exhausts, every panel, nut, bolt, fixture etc is there in astounding detail and the smoke effects are the best I’ve ever seen in a racing game.

The main game has you racing in several different disciplines over USA, Europe and Japan. You start in a basic car with only a few races available, but in a short while you have earned enough money for some better cars and more races become available. As you win races you gain reputation points which then go towards your licenses, the licenses then level up over three scales and unlock more races. It all sounds a bit heavy but in reality it’s great progression, I’ve never felt stuck or like I’m going nowhere. Once you clear all the races in one region you unlock a head to head race which brings in huge amounts of money and then the next tier is available.

One of the most important things a racing game needs to get right is the handling and GRID gets it spot on. Neither arcade or simulation, the basic setting is slightly twitchy initially but after a while is sublime, you can pretty much put the cars exactly where you want them, and at speed. You can turn off all assists and auto gears which does put it more towards the sim type game, but it really just makes winning even more sweeter. GRID takes in several different types of cars, ranging from touring cars and muscle cars all the way up to super cars and formula 3. Indeed each style of driving feels suitably different and you have to adjust your driving style to each discipline, but there is a familiarity between all the styles that means one is never standout hard to master. The interesting feature of the game is a rewind feature where, if you crash and lose the race you had been winning, you can pause the game and rewind a few seconds before the crash and try it again. Sounds a bit cheaty, but it works great, especially if you have been in the lead for 8 laps and crash at the end.

Online play is exactly as you would expect with ranked and unranked matches, using all of the styles and tracks to good use. You can also specify damage, race length, driving aids etc. if you are hosting. It all plays like the main game and there is no slowdown, just the occasional kangaroo car lag. It is great fun with a group of people but watch out for being rear ended at the first corner! Other than that no problems or complaints with live play.

One interesting thing to note is that Codemasters have recently obtained the license to make Formula 1 games and in the game you can race Formula 3 cars, which aren’t a stones throw away from F1. It has to be said they are pretty spectacular to race in so it bodes well for the future F1 game. Maybe seeing this game in action is what swung it for the FIA in deciding who got the license.







6 responses to “Racedriver GRID”

  1. Simes avatar

    Started playing this one on Monday. It is sweet.

    My only gripe is that they don’t have my name in their list, but at least I can get them to call me “Iceman”. It’s almost the same…

  2. Kirsten avatar

    Quick question – What’s the difficulty like?

    Simes knows how utterly abysmal I am at driving games. I’m no good with PGR, Forza or even Flatout but I got on reasonably well with DiRT (probably because there was well pitched gamerscore incentive). Will I be able to spend as much time with Grid or will I be useless by the second tier?

  3. Martin avatar

    Has to be said, the handling is twitchy to start but I got used to it very quickly, it’s not sim-type difficult or arcade easy just a nice balance, and I got nearly 500 points in just under a week!

  4. Evil Harb avatar
    Evil Harb

    It’s very addictive – I picked up a copy the other week and have found it very engrossing so far. Lord knows what it will be like further on but until then I’ll keep on drifting 🙂

  5. sport cars avatar
    sport cars

    Ciekaws stronka , dodalem ja do ulubionych, bede tu napewno wpadal czesciej

  6. Smoke Assassin avatar

    Can this be utilised by someone only needing to lose around 10 pounds?

Leave a Reply