Race Driver: GRID (PC)

by Eddie Turner on August 7, 2008 2:00 AM EST

In June of this year, Codemasters released yet another game devoted to fans of those things that have four wheels. With extensive experience in the genre, starting with 1999's Touring Car Challenge to the highly acclaimed DiRT: Colin McRae Off-Road released in 2007, the developer/publisher continues to pick up speed with GRID. GRID is not your typical rally style racer, nor is it the street racer that many might label it after seeing a few screenshots of the game. Instead, GRID borrows from both racing styles and finds its niche somewhere in between. Does it work? Read on to find out.

Upon starting the game for the first time, players will be prompted to enter their first and last name that will appear in the game's HUD next to your position in the race. To take this a step further, GRID allows you to choose from a fairly extensive list of names (male and female) that the in-game announcer will use during audible communication with the player. While the name Eddie was not immediately available, Edward was chosen in its stead. Since it's highly unlikely that they will have every name, you can also select from a variety of handles instead. This is just one successful implementation that lends itself to the player's immersive experience with GRID. Once this information is squared away, the game immediately tosses the player to the wolves with no available tutorial.

As most PC gamers have discovered, racing games offering a high level of realism are best played with either a racing wheel or a gamepad. With controls that require touch sensitivity, a keyboard simply does not allow for the degree of functionality that is required. In fact, getting the game to function at all with the coveted combo may prove to be an impossible feat. With this in mind, recommended racing wheel peripherals include the Logitech Formula Force EX, which is available in the UK for a retail price of £49.99, and the Logitech MOMO Force Feedback Racing Wheel available in the states for around $79.99 depending on the retailer.  And, of course, there's always the more expensive option for those without a budget.  In this case, the Logitech G25 that retails for upwards of $250, again depending on the retailer, might be the wheel of choice.  Which ever wheel you choose, the game's options menu will help you tweak its sensitivity to your satisfaction.

While steering wheels are great, the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows has a preset in the game's options menu and it works very well. This controller is an excellent alternative to racing wheels and offers great performance with GRID. Third party gamepads are also supported and should work seamlessly.

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  • honolululu - Friday, August 8, 2008 - link

    Gotcha. I don't have any problems with the steering range of action, but damned if I don't have to hold myself back with that throttle.

    I have noticed that it seems floored when the throttle is only about 70% applied, and if you increase deadzone that just decreases the range of action.

    Next patch maybe. The saturation levels for steering and gas should not default to 100% me thinks. It says "Decrese saturation if you feel the steering is not sensitive enough."

    Well where do we go if it's too sensitive!

    I can't get enough though. Love that Demolition Derby.
  • flobo - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    Good game, they only forgot the driving part. Not the car is steering, but the landscape is turning before your eyes, suggesting speed.Physics? Still pivot after all this years.I wonder if the critic ever played a serious driving game. Next time better give space to Iracing, not this childish stuff.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    Lots of people enjoy games for gaming's sake, not because they are a perfect reconstruction of real life. I will readily agree that the physics and driving model of GRID are not realistic in terms of the hardcore sim crowd, and we said as much. Of course, they're also not as unrealistic as most arcade racers. But the bottom line is: do we think the game is fun? Yes, we do.

    I don't think I personally would enjoy the "serious" racing games as much as this "childish stuff". Then again, I've spent a lot more time - and got a lot more enjoyment - out of Mass Effect than from GRID, which is why I confined most of my comments to the benchmarking and performance section. (Yeah, Eddie didn't write that page, though he did run the tests for the two graphs.)
  • dare2savefreedom - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    recommended racing wheel:

    logitech g25

  • HDBanger - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    I race alot of sims on pc, and Ive raced most arcade racers also, GRID is 100% arcade, and it has so many bugs, I had to wear misquito repellent when I raced! I finished the single player game in 3 days, and the multiplayer is atrocious! Huge lag, all kinds of cheats, just pure BS online. Hot lapping was the only thing to do after single player, I had about 52 world record laps at one point, then I went back to real racing (gtr2, rfactor). Codemasters should be renamed CodeDisasters, they have alienated their whole sim base.
  • schwinn8 - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    ... but it's "brake" not "break". I don't know why so many people make that mistake?
  • MrBlastman - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    It is a shame the demo doesn't support Track IR.

    I hear the full game does now via a patch. Has anyone tried it? Racing games (or any type of sim for that matter) are impossible to play properly without Track IR.
  • n00bxqb - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    I got this free w/ my Radeon HD 4870 and I must say I'm thoroughly impressed with the game itself; it's fun, immersive, and the graphics are quite impressive (though I wish it supported 24x CFAA). Physics are more realistic than DiRT, but it still feels geared more towards arcade-style handling than realism. More car choices would've been nice as well, but now I'm just starting to nitpick :P

    My only real complaint is the DRM. Half the time the game doesn't even launch (original disc), it gives some random SecuROM error code (with a link that only takes you to SecuROM's homepage; not a page that explains what the error code means). I always try to rip a disc image to my hard drive with any game I own so I can play w/o having to fish out the disc, but that's a no-go, even w/ YASU and other anti-SecuROM utilities. It's not a huge deal as the game doesn't seem to load anything off the disc during the actual game, but it's a pain to have to track it down and find it when I want to play it. On the plus side, it's offered through Steam, meaning no DVD.
  • HDBanger - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    The Reloaded EXE works with any version of Grid, and it works better than Codemasters EXE with less crashes and graphical glitches. Also, it works online just fine, Codemasters didnt do anything to thwart pirates whatsoever. One of the reasons the online is so atrocious.
  • Omega215D - Thursday, August 7, 2008 - link

    I was debating whether to get this game for the PS3($60) or PC ($40) but I heard there were many bugs for the PC version so I wasn't sure if I should pick this one up. The cool thing about this game is that it is more action packed than Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.

    Now I have something to keep me occupied till GTA IV for PC in November (hopefully).

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