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GRID review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“An ultimate refinement of the TOCA Race Driver series.”

Overall Score:

9 out of 10

 

Overview:

Codemasters might be smaller than EA but they sure do know how to code the BEST racing games in the world. This is the sequel to the sequels of Race Driver (TOCA Race Driver) but the game has been polished to perfection. The game consists of being a professional race car driver that is trying to make it as a world champion overall and within three areas of the world, the USA, Europe, and Japan. There’s 4 tiers mainly, with you starting at tier 1 for each area, and then you each championship points based on how well you performed on each race, potentially unlocking the next area within that region, and ultimately you unlock tier 4 which has the most challenging championships worldwide. Once in a while when you dominate a tier in a country, the top racer of a racing team will challenge you on a duel which usually gives a decent amount of points and a hefty lump of cash. All major race cars that are world class champions are found in the game. The game has a decent damage engine built into it and the physics of the racing are pretty solid for a non-sim racing game. You make money in the game by racing and getting whatever higher position you can and by repainting your car with the decals of better and better sponsors that have specific requirements for them to pay you. Most of the car customization ends there as the game does not let you modify the parts of your car but then again this is a game about professional racing, not street racing in the style of Need For Speed. In the real racing world, real race cars have specific rules they have to follow in order to be allowed to race in that league.

Fun Factor:

It’s thrilling to take control of a 500-1000 horsepower race car and push it to the utter limit. Since the game has a damage engine, one can’t simply drive the car straight through walls and one has to be strategic regarding making the car last the entire race. I think that makes the game a more fun vs something like Grand Turismo. The only part that kind of gets boring which you must do (not really but I’m a perfectionist) is the 24-hour LeMans race which literally is an endurance race which will take 24 real minutes to complete. I’ve literally done that over 100 times and I’m kind of sick of it. I would have liked them to have offered some variations to it like 12 hours at Sebring or some other real epic races rather than just that one over and over in between the transition of racing seasons. I give fun factor a score of 9 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The difficulty in this game is fully customizable, with about 5-7 settings and sub-settings that let you customize the experience to be as abusive as you need or want. I’m really good at racing and racing games in general and I always find a way to make this game challenging even after having played it 4 times through. Sure, it helps to memorize the tracks as it does in every racing game but the A.I. does begin to act like true professional racers in the higher settings and that’s always a plus for a challenge. The game offers “flashbacks” which let you rewind a crash and you might be able to save the car or avoid a spin-out. This and other assists can be disabled depending on how hardcore or masochistic of a gamer you are. The only complaint I have about the difficulty is that there is basically no point to money in the game. In the beginning of the game, money is scarce but after playing the game for a good hour or two, you will basically be able to afford any car you want. It would have been neat if they added the option for me to waste my money designing my own custom race car. (Ahem) Hopefully, Codemasters will add this function in a future racing game. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Value:

The game sells for about US$25 and sometimes you can get it bundled with other Codemaster racing games (like Dirt 1 and/or 2). Even at 25 dollars the game is worth getting because if you are a fan of authentic speed and a racing game with a somewhat realistic damage engine and well over 12-20 hours of solid game play, this is the game for you. I give it’s Value a score of 8 out of 10. Should you see it at 15 dollars or less, I recommend buying it on the spot.

Replayability:

I’ve ran 4 times through the campaign mode of the game. The races eventually become repetitive but the cars this game has are so godlike that it’s worth feeling the rush all over again. The game also has multiplayer online so you can also decide to take your competition there and see if you can best some of the other players in duels of skill. I give the game a Replayability score of 7 out of 10, despite my personal love for this game.

Sound:

The cars sound very, very mean, which I love in a racing game. When a racecar sounds like a toaster, it’s annoying. When a race car sounds like a wood-chipper with baby pumpkins being thrown into it a rate of 1000 baby pumpkin souls per second, my inner demon smiles and makes me want to drive it faster. Sounds get a score of 10 out of 10 for GRID!

Music:

The music is great especially the tracks from Queens of the Stone Age but an advantage/disadvantage is that there is no music at all while you are racing, for the most part. The only time that I really remember any music being played is during the last 4 minutes of the 24-minute Le Mans race to make you feel more tension. Because of the lack of music for the majority of the racing, but with the menu music sounding very pleasing the game gets a 5 out of 10 for Music. What’s there is great but it’s a minor detail in the game.

Graphics:

GRID is pure eye candy at its finest. Even one old hardware and DX9 the game is simple breath-taking. GRID deserves and gets a score of 10 out of 10 in the Graphics category.

Stability/Reliability:

The game rarely very has crashed for me and I’ve logged in over 60 hours of playing it. I would say it has locked up only 1-2 times while loading because my PC was by then overheating. The game has always launched, every time I’ve tried. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 9 out of 10.

Controls:

The game has pretty standard controls that basically need little to no adjustment, although you can pretty much remap all of it if need be. I played the game on keyboard and found really no problems controlling even the most dangerous, I mean fastest cars. Controls for this game deserve a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs for the most part glitch-less on even a 2-3 year old light-to-medium gaming PC. Compared to the bloated NFS games of late, GRID runs like a champ. The only problem I detected in the game is that the cheat detection system seems to create like a bug where the car will slow down stop for a fraction of a second and then the physics engine of the game will compensate and let you continue. Not that it makes you crash, but still kind of an unrealistic thing to experience. This however, rarely happens, but I’ve played this game for way too long. I give Performance a rating of 9 out of 10.

My history with this game:

I have been playing the Race Driver (TOCA Race Driver) games since they came out and I’ve always been impressed so how well done they are in the sense of making you feel like a real race driver and how they keep getting better after each version. Some of the TOCA Race Driver games got to a point where you HAD to do a race to keep going and it was basically impossible (ugh I remember one where you had to compete in the Ford GT90 that had like zero traction and the AI was godlike/had super sticky tires that used a different physics engine than what you had to deal with). Those days are gone. In GRID, you will actually see the computer making human driver mistakes, lose control of their car and wreck it. When GRID came out it’s basically all I played nonstop for a month, even after I had beat it. I come back to visit it once in a while as it’s one of my favorites in my game collection. Check out doing the super tight tracks in Japan with the prototype class race cars. It will leave a smile on your face. 😀