By Philip Dunkley
It seems like the video gaming industry seems to think that there is no way near enough Racing franchises out there, as it seems that every second month or a so a new game is announced. I also believe that publishers, not all, use this genre of game to show off the technical brilliance they are capable of producing, as they generally look and feel very impressive. Enter Grid, the spiritual successor to Race Driver, based on the technically superb Dirt engine, and throw in some intense street racing action, and you get an interesting final product. Let’s take a look shall we.
If you were a fan of the TOCA / Race Driver series, things are going to feel somewhat familiar here, yet it has obviously been updated to cater for the latest Gen machines, and seems to have upped the ante on technical abilities too.
It basically goes like this. You’ve entered the world of racing as a rookie racer, you need to prove your skills, so you get thrust into a race in a beautifully recreated Dodge, and look to score a contract with a team so that you can earn enough money to start your own team and buy a car. One thing I did notice about this game is that there is no real easing you into it, it’s just throw you in the thick of things ,and just make sure you win!! Not a bad thing I suppose.
Throughout the game you are also guided by a business manager, who will keep you up to date on whatever is going on in the world of racing. You will also have the comfort of team members chatting to you during the race, but this can get quite irritating, as it seem like they say the same thing over and over again.
Now let’s get to the crux of things. Grid is basically separated into three Regions, Japan, USA and Europe, each with their own beautifully rendered tracks. These regions are unlocked the moment you get the license, and they basically have multiple levels of competitions that will unlock as the game goes on, and they will present more cash, prizes and sponsorships.
So how does it play, I Hear you asking? We’ll let’s put it this way; it’s fast, very fast. At first it feels completely wrong, as I’m used to the most realistic feedback after spending many hours with both Forza and GT5, but after a while, you get used to it. Be prepared to be wiped out over and over again, in some of the most spectacular crashes I have seen in a game before. But fear not, should you get wiped out on the track, and you will, you will have the ability, depending on your difficulty settings, to flashback time, so that you can correct that little error you made of clipping the wall at 270 Km/h. A nice feature and one I used almost every race. It also has a fantastic replay function, in fact one of the best I have ever seen. It looks amazing watching the replays, and I am not usually into this kind of thing at all. Just taking a look at some of the crashes over and over, is simply unreal.
You also have different kinds of racing, from long windy tracks to street racing, and some serious drifting to Endurance racing. It’s all catered for, in one neat package. One thing that is a little disappointing in the following: 45 Cars, and that’s it, but they all feel solid, and they are all beautifully recreated.
From a visuals point of view, Grid looks amazing. It runs at decent framerates , and has an overall system that looks like it’s taken years to create. I think this has something to do with the EGO engine though. Cars look incredibly detailed, and the crashes will simply blow your mind, and the fact that all pieces of your car you leave on the track stay there, is another nice little touch.
From an audio point of view, I have no complaints here either. Except for the annoying Manager and Team mates, everything else sounds good, from the engine of the cars to crunching of the body panels in a crash; this game sounds amazing, and captures the essence of racing really well.
In conclusion, this game is a very decent entry into the world of racing, but don’t go comparing it to the like of Forza or GT. This is a totally different game, which sits way on the arcade side of things. There are no tuning features, and the visual customisations are very limited. If you are in the market for a fast paced, semi arcade racer, and looking to have some serious local or online fun, this is the place to do it. On that note, I found a lot of online games to play on the PS3 version, and the lag was surprisingly good in some races, but sometimes it just got unplayable.
I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoys racing games, it a break away from the norm, and even though it has some shortcomings, this series has the potential to blossom into a contending franchise.
Gameplay: 9/10 (Fast Paced and Exciting)
Presentation: 9/10 (Looks great)
Sound: 8/10 (Very good sound, but stop the jabbering)
Value: 8/10 (Very Good, but would like a few more cars)
Overall: 8.5/10 (A very capable Racer, and a fresh taste from the norm)
Last Updated: June 25, 2008