Race Driver: GRID Review
More fun than a barrel of monkey’s & and Twice as addictive
© 2008 Arthur Kotsopoulos:
“`The very first thing you do in Race Driver: GRID is enter your name, country and nickname and bang, you’re straight away seated in a Dodge Viper SRT-10 going 200kph down the sun soaked, spectator filled city streets of San Francisco on a mission to win. This is how Codemasters’s Race Driver: GRID starts off, throwing the gamer straight into the action without the need of any tutorial on the controls or basic playing techniques of the racing at hand.
After successfully finishing the race you become a Freelance Driver with up to 3 various offers from within the 3 main disciplines within Race Driver: GRID. You can pick one from different racing teams offers, giving you the chance to drive fast exotic cars straight off-the-bat.
Upon successful completion of the race you get paid, and for completing the objective set by the team, you also earn the bonus cash prize. Once you earn a certain amount of $$$’s Yen or Euro’s, you are able to pull the handbrake on your freelancing days and start racing in earnest for yourself under the guide of the lovely Team’s Finance Manager. Earn more money and you can then start building your own team with your own garage to boot.
“`GRID World is the back-bone of the game where you will rise up in the ranks earning more cash and reputation as you win more and more races and unlock the next license so as to be eligible to race in the next Tier.
“`There is a plethora of race types to keep most of the racing fanatics buckled to their seats with Pro Tuned, Open Wheel, Drift, Destruction Derby and Pro Muscle just to name a few. With Race Day being the mode that gives you access to race in any event you want on any track available for that event with almost any car available in that “style” of racing discipline.
“`As you progress further and earn more funds you receive an upgrade to your garage to a Two Car Bay Garage/Workshop. Once that happens, you are now able to hire/fire a team-mate to help you through out the races and earn even more cash. This is an excellent addition to the game as it adds even more depth to the game-play as a whole. Each racer you hire may have specialties in certain race types, and therefore useful in some areas, but not others.
Click on any image for full rez view:
So for instance, you can hire a team-mate that specializes in Pro Muscle and of course the better his statistics are, the higher rank he’ll finish. But do be careful in your choices, as some team mates can be overly aggressive, and will bump you out of the way to get First Place. So you need to be careful in your choice as if you hire a team-mate with great stats he will always win the race thus only giving you 2nd spot and not winning the trophy for the event and earning the maximum rep. points and money.
With each race that you win and take home the gold, you acquire various sponsorship deals that have a set objective you need to fulfill in each race in order to earn the cash they supply. You have 1 Major Sponsor Spot on your vehicles, and 5 Minor Sponsor spots. This is a great idea, as with the Major Sponsor paying double the prize money if you achieve their target, it certainly helps fill those coffers very quickly.
This applies to you and your team mate of course. So if you win, well – he loses the Major Prize money if the goal is to take first place. The big payouts of course need you to come 1st in the race event but for those who are not good in racing games there are plenty that while they don’t offer as much money, their objectives are a bit more easier to complete with you only having to come 3rd or no lower than 5th to grab the prize money they offer.
One area that GRID excels in is with the AI. This especially applies throughout GRID World, as when you work your way higher up the Tier, the AI Drivers become more aggressive and often impatient – much like people on XboxLive. The AI racers don’t drive the same every time you enter an event either, even when restarting an event after a major crash, they will not do the same thing over and over again.
They might race conservative, race dirty or just race clumsily. This adds to the experience of immersion the gamer has in each single race and makes them feel as if they are actually driving against human opponents. The higher the difficulty the more aggressive and dirty the AI gets, which in the long run makes it harder to win and all the more satisfying when you do. And with 5 levels of difficulty, there’s a huge amount of scope to play with adding to the replay value of the game as a whole.
If this get annoying – as the AI will often cause major crashes right in front of you where you have no chance of escape and total the car, a feature called Flashback has been included which allows you to rewind to a certain point in the race and just continue from there. It works exceptionally well because no one “really” wants to be in 1st place only to crash just moments before the finish line and have to begin again by restarting the race.
Excellent details on the Flashback facility:
This allows the game not to get boring and repetitive and gives you that sense of closure of knowing your efforts have not gone to waste or been in vain.
Being an arcade racer and being one of the better ones available on the market, there is no need for any tinkering and tuning of the cars to make them drive faster and handle better, be that for better or worse. It simply means that for those gamers who want to get right into the action off-the-bat, they can do so and just enjoy a fun, exciting, adrenalin pumped game with an easy to get a hold of racer that can end up in hours of fun with friends and other gamers, either online or System-Linked.
Don’t be a wozzer, get inside the car for the REAL feel of the racing experience of GRID:
At first you may be in strife over the handling of the cars as they do tend to turn and handle like they are on ice but that just adds to the fun and adrenaline pumping racing action at hand. The relatively low car count of just 43 is a bit disappointing in a sense, that in most of the races you are only given the option to drive one car. This doesn’t really detract much from the game, but a higher car count would have been better which would have at least given a you little more variety to choose from in certain events than simply having only 1 car available for you in ‘some’ events.
“`The low track count of 15 isn’t as much of a problem either, as for people like myself, an experienced gamer of racing titles, have come to understand that you can never master a track after your 4th or 5th attempt. Simply because each time you race on the same track it will always be different. So the more times that you race a certain track, the better you will get at it after each race, never really mastering it until your 100th time or so, if that.
If you have played Colin McRae: DiRT then you will feel a sense of déjà vu while traversing the menus of Race Driver: GRID as they are very similar with their full 3D effects, exceptionally slick looking visuals, polished and easy to navigate through, with the background showcasing your garage with the last car you raced on sitting on the ground with your team mates up on the hoist. If you look carefully, you’ll even spot your mechanic working away at the computer behind the cars. Just another little added detail to have you feel more immersed in the game
GRID uses an updated version of the NEON Engine used in Colin McRae: DiRT which has been re-named EGO that really show cases the power of the XBOX360 with beautiful car models, extensive and realistic damage, both on the cars and on the track. The beautiful tracks are simply amazing to look at, in the day or night and most of all it offers a very smooth frame rate when there are 12-20 cars racing.
Although this game may seem perfect it does have its hiccups. When using certain camera views, at random parts during a race it tends to ‘hang’ for a second or two, then go on its merry way and run smoothly again. While this isn’t major, it is noticeable and does get annoying after awhile. The Multiplayer aspect is glitched when versing overseas opponents. After starting the race the game seems to freeze and certain people have received a “brown screen” and it has automatically unlocked 3 of the more time consuming achievement as easy as that.
Oh and the AI do seem to get on your nerves after a while because of their level of smart racing techniques, but it wouldn’t be a fun and challenging game if they weren’t then would it, or just their plan stupidity at times.
Multiplayer is basically the same as Race Day, except for the fact that you verse human gamers instead of the AI. There is nothing more satisfying then speaking with your friends or fellow gamers right up until they smash and scream in agony when you bump them from behind. This is where the fun factor of Race Driver: GRID really kicks in. Its only problem is as stated before the glitch when racing against gamers from another country.
While there are other arcade racers that try to capture the essence of speed and fun all in the one go, only to fail miserably after a while when it all gets very repetitive and slightly boring, that is not the case with Race Driver: GRID.
A career mode with plenty of options to keep you busy and racing, AI that is up there with the smarts (and sillyness) of humans and a multiplayer where crashing your friends car is almost as fun as winning, Codemasters have put the pedal to the metal and offered an arcade racer that has some simulation racing features implemented into it which makes the game satisfying and a racing title for both enthusiasts and leisure racing gamers.