GRID (Xbox 360) review
"Imagine being able to reverse time and have a second chance at something - a misspoken comment, a rubbish exam, a failed date - wouldn’t that be pretty handy? Codemasters allows your Groundhog Day fantasies to come true in Race Driver: GRID, where you can not only write off beautiful cars by ploughing them into equally beautiful surroundings, but you can do it over and over again. "
Imagine being able to reverse time and have a second chance at something - a misspoken comment, a rubbish exam, a failed date - wouldn’t that be pretty handy? Codemasters allows your Groundhog Day fantasies to come true in Race Driver: GRID, where you can not only write off beautiful cars by ploughing them into equally beautiful surroundings, but you can do it over and over again.
GRID is the latest offering from the studio that brought us Colin McRae: DiRT, offering another quasi-realistic take on racing, blending arcade and simulation into a wholesome rubber scented smoothie. Instead of exclusively getting mucky in rally cars, GRID provides a dozen unique driving modes and types - muscle cars, drifting, touring, Le Mans, open wheel, destruction derby - there is a little something for everyone, and you get to sample the lot thanks to the varied career mode. GRID World gives you three different races to choose from, with acceptance fees and a bonus objective to achieve in each. You are drifting suped-up Japanese motors one minute and competing against your Le Mans class the next, and although the game flicks through modes like television channels, they are introduced at a pace that is manageable yet exciting. Where the Project Gotham Racing series asks you to push for places and kudos in slowly stagnating city environments, GRID constantly throws up varied modes with locales and objectives to match, making single player progression more rewarding and enticing, constantly keeping you on your toes.
Although thanks to the ‘Flashback’ feature, you don’t have to be. A little wide on that last corner? Rolled your car into the crowd and killed a few spectators? You can simply boot up the replay and resume the race seconds before your terminal impact. You can review the last ten seconds of a race at any time and resume it from where you feel comfortable, in effect giving you multiple lives. Harder difficulties allocate fewer Flashbacks, and players are duly rewarded for not using them. It sounds like cheating, but everyone knows the feeling of buggering up a perfect race on that last corner, and this is the perfect remedy. Better still, running out of Flashbacks transforms the race into a different affair, providing a unique tension that other games rarely have. It is a feature that is so simple in its design and integration, it is amazing this is the first racer to pull it off.
Flashbacks are supported by a stupendous duet of dynamic damage and whimsical presentation; sitting in the middle of the pack as cars buckle, grind and dismantle around you on the opening corner is something to relish through the various replay viewpoints. Your hot rod can be destroyed to the point of no return, and seeing the AI occasionally crash and spin out heightens the excitement and sense of actually racing more than the Gran Turismo series ever could.
Race Driver: GRID is a title that initially comes across a little generic and without grounding with its ambitious and overbearing range of race types. But thanks to a superbly paced career mode, satisfying difficulty and adept Flashback feature, GRID accelerates in all departments. It is something you’d want to play over, and over, and over.
Community review by Crazyreyn (June 07, 2008)
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