Race Driver: GRID (PC)

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


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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  • mesherman - Sunday, September 21, 2008 - link

    looks good, but the game makers are just into what it looks like and not what is in the game. These racing games now days suck ass.. All they do is hurry up and put the game out so thay can make money. There is so much more they could have done with this game to make it real. What would you think about a car game you can buy and sell car's, and parts to other players online. And have a caution, that you can still drive under caution and have a black flag for the people that just dont know how to drive. Car setup on the game and a temp gage for your heat on you tires in the caution. plus a pit... Make the game real.. if they did this we would finally have a good racing game.
  • djfourmoney - Saturday, August 23, 2008 - link

    I downloaded the demo after I installed my Visiontek HD3870 512mb card and Wow this game looks great (when its not crashing my system). Too bad I only get to drive for about 1 lap maybe 1 1/2 laps before the darn thing crash to BSOD with that stupid IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL (if anybody knows what is causing that, let me know, all the drivers, including motherboard drivers are NEW, RECENT, Up To Date).

    I ran it at 1920x1200 default detail (AAx4)(which I hear in the demo is set to high, not ultra) and FRAPS didn't give me an average but mid 20's is the lowest and down the longest part of track in the Muscle Car Race about 40-42fps. Like I said it looks great, fun and I wish I could get to stop crashing so I can enjoy it more.

    Best looking PC racer out there, bar none and Codemaster's have outdone themselves.

    System Specs -

    HTPC Windows Vista Home
    AMD 64x2 5000+ Black Edition (2.91Ghz)
    Dual Channel Memory (3GB@800Hz)
    Visiontek HD3850 512MB
    MS Sidewinder Wheel (Non-FF)

    I know Codemasters uses motion blur in this game because at 30-40fps it looks faster than GT-L looks@60fps *Vsync. Hardcore SIMs should look this good, they would sell more games...

    I hope this is only an issue with the Demo. I'll know when I get the full version. Should I download via Steam or get the DVD? I'm going to replace this HD3870 with a HD3850 because its under $100 at New Egg and includes a free copy of GRID and I can't find a HD3870 single slot cooler for the same price I paid for the current one ($119).

  • marc1000 - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    Just to let you guys know: I am playing GRID-demo (wich I guess defaults to maximum quality) with a 20-30 fps average at 1280x1024 without AA, but on a old Pentium-D 3.4ghz on single-channel 2GB DDR2-667 and a cheap Radeon HD3850 512mb.

    This system also runs Crysis at Medium quality with no problems. We do not need the absolut top hardware to have a great fun. BTW I joust bought a good XBOX360 controller too. very good to someone who just wants to have fun and is used to play NFS-series on the keyboard.

    No complaints about the physics. I want to have fun, and not learn how to be a real racing driver.
  • marc1000 - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    i'm back to fix my own words: i bought the complete GRID game, installed, and entered the "advanced" graphics settings. i'm with almost everything on MEDIUM, with mirrors disabled, and 2xMsaa. the rest is the same as above. I know that my CPU is the bottleneck, because Rivatuner shows about 60~70% of GPU usage. even this way, it still looks beautiful to me. bye.
  • marc1000 - Thursday, August 21, 2008 - link

    now I maxed out everything, except mirrors, and got the same FPS... if someone mind to know about a aging system! haha!
  • M Farkus - Monday, August 11, 2008 - link

    In nearly every race, especially the drift races, I can't hear my engine AT ALL. The sound options are extremely limited and by the time I crank up my volume to hear my engine, the other sounds are deafening. Maybe it's my older SoundBlaster card, but every other game I have sounds fine. Anyone else have this problem? A fix? BTW the replays are gorgeous, esp with enough horsepower to run the game. 4870 x-fire E8400 @4.0 1900x1200 full AA all around = 90 fps. Amazing. The lack of (adjustable) engine sounds is a real deal breaker with one, unfortunately.
  • shortylickens - Saturday, August 9, 2008 - link

    Its pretty, but wasnt much fun to play. Other racing games have been much more enjoyable for me.

    Wait, when I said "pretty" what I really should have said was: "scared the crap out of me". This game is so photorealistic I had to stop playing every 5 minutes to remind myself it was just a game.
    Of course, thats with a 4870.
  • flobo - Saturday, August 9, 2008 - link

    I commented on this game Grid. But later on I thought it is not being very realistic that is the point, but it is a shame such a good site is not more interested in Iracing, which is a whole new concept in onlineplaying with laserscanned tracks the best physics until now, and a >learn to drive clean and fair< that no other sim has. It is very sophisticated and would match this site much better, then a game that is in many ways a setback.Maybe something about Iracing in the future?
  • TantrumusMaximus - Friday, August 8, 2008 - link

    I haven't had a chance to read the review here but I will add this game ROCKS. There is great value in the wide range of cars and I love the adaption of the formula cars... the sound is dead on.

    Before this I really loved the Flatout racing games and GRID really sucked me in because not only does it have great damage modelling... the damage actually impacts your driving performance unlike Flatout.

    Flatout was not a serious racing game so I realize it's apples to oranges.... it's more that this game sucked me away from Flatout. My more casual gaming friends however hate this game because guess what... you have to learn how to drive, you can't just come into a turn full throttle and come out ok like the other.

    This game caused me to run out and get a better gamepad... got the xbox 360 windows controller.

    The one track that just makes me furiously upset is the Le Mans course.... in the beginning of the track there is a dipsy doo right then left slant that almost always has me spinning out due to the physics. ARGH!!! But I love it.
  • Googer - Friday, August 8, 2008 - link

    I have played the PS3 version online and the one problem that seems to persist is people who don't want to race, but instead wish to cause accidents. It gets annoying after a while when the person at the starting gate holds down the reverse key to cause a large 12 car pileup or goes the wrong way or goes round the track trying to make others wreck and no one votes to ban that individual. If the PC version offers a dedicated, moderated, privately owned server then the PC version may have an edge over the console where the PS3 acts as the both the client and session server. The console version lacks moderation, does the PC version offer a dedicated server option?

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