GRID Demo Review

By Mike on 5:06 pm

Filed Under: ,

Last year, Codemasters had a hit with Dirt, the latest in the Colin McRae racing series that was renamed after his untimely death. This year, Codemasters is releasing the next generation edition of Race Driver: GRID. The demo was made available today for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

GRID is a bit of a small fish in a big pond. There aren't a lot of off-road racing games out there so Dirt was a shoe-in to be a hit. GRID however has a lot of competition, including Polyphony's venerable Gran Turismo series.

Grid is an on-road racer. It takes a different turn from other racers in the genre by adding a more in depth career mode. You start as a free lance amature racer. The better you do, you might get picked up by a professional team. The demo of course does not feature that, though it does have a competition in time trial mode to beat the top time for a prize. Kind of superfluous but it gets people to try the game. The game is divided into three parts. There's professional street racing in the US, grand touring in Europe, and drift competitions in Japan. The demo provides a taste of all three in the limited career mode. In the US, you drive a Ford Mustang GT in San Francisco, in Spain there is a grand touring track in a BMW, and in Japan there is a drift event at Yokohama in a Nissan. Time trial features the San Francisco Track and the Spanish track. There are only three cars and three tracks. Cars are locked to the specific tracks.

Onto technical. The graphics in GRID are fairly decent. The cars look realistic, not shiny and clean like in Gran Turismo. GRID also features one of the best damage models out of any racing game out there. As you race, if you hit something, you'll see realistic dents. Parts will fall off realistically, windows crack and break, tires wear out over many laps. When you or another driver looses a part off the car, that part will remain where it fell for the entire race, presenting a new obstacle. GRID however is not much different than Dirt was in this department. The games engine is the same, or at least looks the same as Dirt's was, just revamped for on road. One problem is that the graphics seemed a little dull and blurry. Also, Codemasters used HDR a little too liberally. This is one of the games I've talked about that overuses HDR as a method of putting lipstick on a pig. Not that GRID looks bad but the HDR really needs to be toned down.
Audio wise, the sound effects are nice. Cars make a realistic sound. A new feature in the game is name recognition. If you have a common name like I do, your team leader will call you by your name and you'll hear it over the loudspeakers at races. I must admit it's a little strange hearing a video game calling me by name but it's a nice touch.
For control, all of Dirt's bad habits have been transfered to GRID. If you're expecting a Gran Turismo 5 like experience, forget it. While the controls don't seem as sensitive this time around, the cars do feel very floaty. It's a more arcade like experience where the GT series goes for realism. Most of the time though, it feels like your driving on bald tires. The game play is what makes or breaks a game and Codemasters simply has not improved it.

If you like the arcade experience, then GRID might be worth considering. However, it can't hold a candle to GT5 Prologue. If you want to drive on-road, then I would stick with GT even if it doesn't have damage modelling. While that may be important for some people to achieve the ultimate in realism, GRID's controls are just too sloppy. You can download the demo to see for yourself. It weighs in at about 950mb. Lets get to the ratings.

What Works:
-Innovative career mode in full game
-Excellent damage modeling
-Nice snapshot of cars and tracks for the demo.
-Good sound effects, name recognition interesting

What Doesn't Work
-Blurry graphics, too much HDR
-Cars have a floating feeling. Unrealistic physics.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

0 comments for this post