As mentioned before, players will begin racing right away without any practice runs. The absence of a tutorial may appear to represent a narrow learning curve, but be assured that there most definitely is one. While the slope of such a curve will be dependent upon prior experience with other racing games, those who are either new to the genre or simply do not play driving games very often should find their way after a few short races.

When you're ready to race, players have the choice of entering the game's career mode, called GRID World, or selecting Race Day that allows players to customize the racing experience by choosing the venue, track, car, number of laps, and race type. These two options are accompanied by Multiplayer which can be plaed via LAN or the internet. In the single player campaign, or career mode, GRID World starts players as a newcomer to the racing scene. With only a few cars at your disposal, the goal is to collect enough prize money to begin your own racing team. From there, players will begin to acquire more cars with their winnings. In addition, sponsorships will become available as your reputation improves throughout the circuit. While going fast and finishing first is definitely on the agenda, finishing in second, third, and even fifth place in some events still puts cash in your pocket. 

GRID features a number of different events that will have players testing their endurance skills, speed in time trials, and even drifting. Along with these various event types are a number of lavish venues to race though. Players will take part in events scattered throughout various regions of the US, Europe, and Japan. The location will typically coincide with the type of racing event. For instance, drivers will participate in muscle car racing in Detroit, grand prix events in Milan, and drifting challenges in Yokohama Japan. There are numerous venues to experience during the course of the game, each of which is rendered beautifully and plays a major role in the overall satisfaction of the game.

The vehicle types in GRID are also matched to the racing events and locations. As players forge their way up the ladder and become a force to be reckoned with, more and more cars will become available. Here's the roster of the 43 different licensed vehicles you'll drive in the game.

Many gamers have come to expect the ability to customize their vehicles in racing games. However, GRID allows only cosmetic customization in which players will choose their team colors that will be applied to the body and trim of all of their cars. Thankfully, the ability to update these colors exists to keep players from growing weary of the seafoam green they may have chosen. While it may have taken some guts on behalf of the development team to exclude such a feature as vehicle customization, Codemasters has made the game's direction clear in their tagline, "It's all about the race." Even so, cars will not be completely void of bling as sponsors will place decals on your cars as you take them on.

The racing in GRID is absolutely top-notch. Every car feels and handles differently. For instance, the Lamborghini takes corners very efficiently with minimal break application, while the Aston Martin requires just the right combination of break and hand break to handle a track's twists and turns. We likely aren't qualified to judge the physics behind the cars, but they tend to do a good job at mimicking the feel of driving a race car. The game doesn't offer up the realism found in some of the hardcore racing sims, but it definitely has more realism than others in the genre like the Need for Speed series. Whether that's good or bad will depend on what you're after, but we found the overall feel to be quite enjoyable even if it may not appease the gearheads of the world.

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  • honolululu - Friday, August 08, 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 07, 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. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 07, 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 07, 2008 - link

    recommended racing wheel:

    logitech g25

  • HDBanger - Thursday, August 07, 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. Reply
  • schwinn8 - Thursday, August 07, 2008 - link

    ... but it's "brake" not "break". I don't know why so many people make that mistake? Reply
  • MrBlastman - Thursday, August 07, 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 07, 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 07, 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. Reply
  • Omega215D - Thursday, August 07, 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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