Race Driver: GRID
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-12
Words By:

Firstly I guess I should apologise if this review upsets anyone, from looking around the net it seems the GRID already has a very loyal fan base and many people are loving the game, however from within seconds of loading the game it did nothing but annoy and frustrate me.

GRID was a game that interested me, it looked great from the preview shots and a racing game with a story-driven campaign (as opposed to just races one after another) sounded very good. I was soon to be let down. Upon loading the game I got to name my driver for the single player events. Not only do you enter your name in text you can choose a name for the game to actually refer to you as in full speech. The problem (and the first thing to really annoy me) was that my real first name was not among the very limited choices, so I have to have the game refer to me by some “Top Gun” sounding handle. Okay this may be a small (and petty) point you may think, but to me if a game is going to offer a feature then it should do a full and proper job of it. Links 2004 did it FOUR years ago for golf games and Euro 2008 not only has my first name but also my surname should I want to be a footy player! Anyway at the time it was just a small matter, and one I was thinking would soon be forgotten about. However as it turns out GRID just seemed to do all it could to annoy me...

CAR HANDLING – Now I don’t drive and I’m no Jeremy Clarkson but surely cars (no matter their make or model) should handle differently and not as if they were made of Balsa Wood, with skates on the bottom, driving on Ice. The cars just seem to float around the track, the slightest nudge of the control stick sending your chosen chariot into a spin. Even when slowing down the problem was still there and made even worse by the fact that other cars seem to like nothing better than ploughing into you at high speed.
The cars just don’t feel heavy enough or that they are in any way connected to the track. Spin outs are far too common, even when not going round corners, and made worse by the other racers who seem to make no attempts to avoid you at all. However, once they have hit you they seem to be able to get themselves back on track and speed off into the distance a lot more quickly than you can.

THE 'Flashback' REWIND FEATURE – Now this sounds a very good idea and perfect for someone (like me) who isn’t the best at racing, the chance to replay a dodgy corner or undo a horrendous crash. It also seems apt that a game that sees you spinning off the track with the slightest twitch of the steering has this feature. The problem though is it is such a pain in the arse to use. I was under the impression it was going to be “instant access” – in other words: hold down a button and the action would reverse until you take your finger off said button and carry on racing. But no, not here, you have to pause the game, access the replay, watch the replay (changing the angles to make sure you can see what is going on) and then press the x button to take over at your chosen point. It’s made even worse by the annoying loading that you have to go through at each stage in the process. Other games have managed “live” rewind features in the past without being so annoying, so why can't GRID with all the power of the 360? Some form of Sky+-like “pause and rewind” would have been a great feature if done well. FULL AUTO is one such example of a similar feature done well. An instant rewind feature needs to be just that - INSTANT.

LOADING TIMES – Maybe it's because the game was really getting on my nerves so early and maybe it's because (due to the handling) I was doing a fair bit of restarting but the loading times again got in the way and continued to build on my frustration with the game.

Online GRID plays just the same, even with 12 racers the admirable bodywork damage is all present and correct but sadly so are the light handling and odd physics, making race-ruining collisions an all too common occurence.

In short, the game did nothing to make me want to keep playing it. The Project Gotham and Forza games all at least made me feel like I was achieving something. They started me off with cars that I could control and made the races fun. They actually made me feel like I was “racing” and that as the game got harder I progressed with it and got faster and better. GRID has none of this; all it did was annoy and wind me up, so much so that the first two attempts I had to switch off to save my temper.

Now as said, I apologise if I have upset any GRID fans out there who have managed to persevere through the above (and who have one of the included names) but I can only base a review on my own opinions and experiences. Yes, the game may look nice and be presented well, but it just left me cold and as such I have to base my score on this. I’ll be generous though and award it a 6 as the game does look great and I realise there are some out there who will like the game more than me.


Best Bits

- Well it does look nice
Worst Bits

- Handling
- Loading
- Wasted and poorly implemented rewind feature

by: dUnKle

Copyright © Gamecell 2008