GRID is the latest noticeable racing game release from Codemasters. GRID mixes up a career style of play while keeping an arcade feel to it. This game is more of a match up to Project Gotham games instead of trying to be like Forza or Gran Turismo. With a fair amount of cars and several different types of racing disciplines let’s see if GRID is worth a race or just a drive-by.
GRID, which was released not too long ago is the latest arcade racer from Codemasters. Although based as an arcade styled racer, GRID does have a simulation feel in its career mode. GRID starts by having you input your name and selecting an audio name. A neat little feature that was added so every time your manager speaks to you she doesn’t just refer to you as Racer 1. After your name has been selected your thrown right into the action with a pre-selected race in a nice Dodge Viper. Once this race is completed you get to choose races to do for other racing teams, with pre-selected cars and certain criteria that must be met. Once you have enough Rep you can start your own team with your earnings and proceed to do races with your own cars. Another neat feature about GRID is the ability to either buy your car new or buy it used off Ebay Motors, a sneaky way to add in game advertisement. Each option has its ups and downs, for example buying new is more expensive but used cars could break down easier. Once you do start racing for your own team you get to brand your car with the paint combo of your choice and you can choose your sponsors. Even though you race for your own team you can still do races for other teams for extra cash just no Rep will be earned.
Time to Earn Your Progress
Winning money can be a little difficult at times; one of the reasons why GRID is such a good game is that the A.I. is realistic. There are several different types of racing disciplines in three different parts of the world, the U.S, Europe and Japan. You start with a rookie license only allowing you to enter certain events but as your Rep is increased to certain benchmarks new events are unlocked. To earn Rep you simply race, there’s no need to win just race. Depending on the difficulty level you choose depends on how much Rep you will earn per race. To win money you have to win races.
The Way We Race
There are several different types of races. The first is grip racing which is nothing special just your typical lap race. After that there is drifting, something all games lately are trying to get into. There are several types of drift modes though; drift GP is a drift tournament where opponents are knocked out based on their scores while the winners move up a tournament ladder. Drift Battle is a normal race with several racers on track and you must drift while keeping top spot. Freestyle Drift and Downhill Drift are pretty much the same only downhill drift is done in a mountain course and freestyle gives you many options of track to do your drifting. After drifting there’s touge racing, essentially you start at the top of a mountain and have to race to the bottom. Pro Touge means you start behind your opponent and are not allowed to make contact or else you are given a penalty, and Midnight Touge means there are no rules. The last two modes are Endurance which is a normal race, except you should expect to race for a few hours and demolition derby, which is just plain fun. One race mode that’s in a league of its own is the 24 hours of LeMans. As the title says you race for 24 hours on the same track, you’re given the option to participate in this event at the end of each season, if you say no you can always try it again next year.
Loaded with Features
GRID has quite a few features that make the game different from most other racers. The first thing is you can deck your car out with some sponsor decals. But they aren’t just there for looks, each sponsor has a certain criteria and if those criteria are met they’ll reward you with a cash bonus. With the ability to add on 8 sponsors the cash is sure to keep coming in. Another great idea is Flashback, this gives you the ability to pause after a big accident go into replay mode and rewind time to a more convenient spot in the race, Prince of Persia anyone? Depending on the difficulty you choose determines how many times you can flashback. There are also driver offers, so once you earn enough Rep you can have someone racing on your team with you and bringing in more money. GRID has decided to incorporate damage, whether this is a good thing or not that’s for you to decide. Damage ranges from engine to suspension all the way to tires. Each damage criteria has different effects on your car. The last feature that caught my eye was the loading screen. In most games the loading screen isn’t an eye catcher but with every loading screen you’re given different stats about your racing career and different achievement you have yet to complete.
Something very interesting about GRID is the A.I. Unlike most racing games the opponent isn’t perfect, as hard as this is to believe it’s true. During each race you’ll see some A.I racers frequently spinning out and at times taking themselves out of the race by incurring too much damage. Also the A.I will try to ram your car at times. When there are two teammates in a race one will stay in front while the other will stay behind and try and block the pass, so needless to say Codemasters has done an excellent job controlling the way the A.I performs and in some cases doesn’t perform.
GRID has some of the nicest, next to Project Gotham 4, graphics for an arcade racer. The cars all look beautiful with smooth lines and great rendering. The courses look amazing and the fans move with a degree of realism. One complaint which isn’t a bad thing, at times the sun can definitely get in your way, but this is extremely realistic so graphics wise it’s excellent but race wise it might not turn out so good. The only complaint I have about the graphics is that the damage mechanics aren’t the best, I have seen much better in several games but either way bumpers flying off cars are still pretty cool. Something that is great is the smoke from a burnout or when you do doughnuts, possibly the best looking smoke I’ve seen.
As for the sound, well there really isn’t much to say on the subject. The environment sounds great. Unfortunately the cars could have used some work, every car has a very monotone sound and some even sound the same. When you hit a wall or another car there’s a very generic crunching of metal sound. Other than that though the sound isn’t too bad and balances out very nicely with the graphics.
GRID is a solid racing experience whether you like arcade style racing games or not. There’s nothing to really complain about, the game is all around good. The graphics are excellent and easy on the eyes, and the sound is well rounded and helps you get into the game. The car views make it easy to see unless you’re in the in car view with a shattered windshield. The only complaints are that the controls feel a little floaty and take a little getting used too. Also with today’s popularity in the car tuning business the game lacks aftermarket mods. The last real complaint is that there’s no split screen multiplayer option. Aside from these few bad things the game is wonderful. The career mode will take a long enough time to finish that you’ll be busy for a while. If you liked Project Gotham, or like racing games in general, this is certainly worth the $ 70 price tag or at least a rental.