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Race Driver: GRID Review
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Jun 03, 08 (released)
|» All About Race Driver: GRID on ActionTrip|
Codemasters is doing a pretty decent job so far with its rally series Colin McRae, the latest edition of which is known as DiRT. DiRT has shown Codemasters' effort to go beyond traditional rally driving, offering races against multiple opponents (a new moment for the CMR franchise), improved visuals, etc. The series has definitely shown progress in many aspects. Moving away from conventional rally-type vehicles and races, Codemasters decided to turn its attention towards its Race Driver series. The presentation and style changed somewhat, to make way for a more up-to-date look. So, clearly enough, their mottos were: bigger, faster and more intense. There are also a few interesting features that have spiced up the genre a wee bit. Does it all fit into place? Let's find out.
We gave the Xbox 360 version a try. Things appeared agreeable right from the start. Everything has been designed with intuitiveness in mind, so you won't have much trouble finding your way around the game. While playing the main campaign, you'll be given an impressive variety of challenges and events. Your main objective from the outset is to collect as much cash as you can, which is done by outperforming your adversaries during each race (which, believe me, is easier said than done). The better your performance is in a race, the more money you can stick in your pocket, thus open the door to a greater variety of cool-looking vehicles. Don't think opposing won't put up a fight. They are prepared for anything and will take every opportunity to nudge you off the road if they can.
The developers have re-worked the physics, in an attempt to adapt GRID to a wide range of players out there. You might say, they sort of tried to balance it out to suit everyone. From our experience, vehicle handling is solid, overall. The only problem is that it may take a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Things could be exceptionally difficult for gamers who prefer hardcore racing sims, which focus on realistic physics and down-to-earth vehicle handling. At the same time, cars don't always perform as you'd expect. For example, when you come across a sharp turn at high speed, the vehicle could easily spin out of control - not to mention that some collisions may cause serious damage, leaving your car out of action and forcing you to restart the race. At any rate, if you take the time to get used to the controls and vehicle handling, you'll be able to avoid such situations.
The developers incorporated a rather neat feature, setting this game apart from other racers. Like I mentioned earlier, driving comes to a swift ending if you're not careful behind the wheel (pretty much like in real life, eh?). The game, however, gives you a second chance, so to speak. There's a handy replay option that, basically, allows you to rewind time and correct any wrong moves you made. This proved very useful on more than one occasion. It also represents a refreshing gameplay element, adding a little variety to racing events. Of course, you won't be able to utilize the rewind-time option infinitely. It all depends on the difficulty you choose - 'Normal' difficulty gives you a rewind 4 times.
You could say GRID's greatest strength is also its weakness. Rewinding time and watching absolutely spectacular race scenes or car crashes is restricted to a particular event. In other words, you cannot save any races and replays to the X360 hard drive, which we -- and I'm sure many of you -- regard as a great major bummer.
Another extremely cool thing about GRID is the apparent effort that evidently went into conveying a sense of speed during races. The atmosphere throughout each race is highly realistic, which can be attributed to the first-rate production values, superb design and overall beautiful graphics. Though when it comes to sound, things aren't perfect. Recurring pre-recorded dialogue frequently gets in the way of player immersion, but other than that, nothing too serious. Visually, GRID has everything a modern-day racer needs to make it look believable - excellent and highly detailed car models, nice-looking tracks and above all an utterly stunning damage model. In fact, I often caused massive crashes on purpose, just to enjoy the outcome and the sight of smashed up muscle cars. So, once again, a splendid job by the devs.
8.4 Very Good
Captures the essence of high-speed racing, plenty of tracks, cars and events to enjoy, brilliant damage model, well-structured single-player campaign;
Missing multiplayer features, may not be fun for those who prefer realistic racing games, vehicle handling requires some getting used to, can't save replays.