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GRID

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 15 - 2019

Track racing with Codemasters’ latest.

 
When it comes to serious driving games, there are the big hitters, Gran Turismo and Forza, and there are the more specialised titles, such as the Formula One games or the DiRT series. Then there is Codemasters’ GRID series, offering multi-discipline racing for the serious contender. I get confused when games don’t follow a simple numbered release schedule, but it all started with Race Driver: GRID, followed by GRID 2 and then GRID Autosport. Now, some years later, we have GRID. Buckle up, we have some driving to do.

 


 
Codemasters make racing games, and have done for quite a while. The long history of Codemasters wouldn’t have been as successful if they didn’t have a knack for making these games as engaging as possible, while also accessible to players of different skill levels. With GRID, the player is able to tinker with the wide range of assists in order to make the game more or less serious, meaning fans of arcade racing and the more casual gaming crowd will be able to pick up GRID and hold their own for more than half a lap. At the same time, GRID keeps all of the serious racers in mind with the likes of heavy duty car tuning and even support for a wide selection of steering wheel controllers, for those who want to take their simulation to the extreme. In all, despite the theme of serious track driving with multiple different car types, GRID is a game for anyone who wants to race. And what exciting racing it is.

 
The racing is where Codemasters long history really comes through, providing some of the best car handling and moment to moment racing drama I have ever experienced. The different cars, which all feel as different as they should, have realistic handling where the player can actually feel when the car is about to lose control, or when a corner is taken too fast. For an aggressive driver like myself, it doesn’t really matter too much as I will spend much of my time bouncing off the other racers anyway, but for the more precise driver, I would imagine the level of the handling would allow for some really tense moments of skill as they balance very much on the edge of disaster to take the race. As I am sure you can see, it is difficult to describe how good the handling is. Trust me, it’s good.

 
GRID also looks very nice, which certainly doesn’t harm how well the game plays. The cars all look authentic, and the damage models give some consequence for aggressive drivers like myself. The damage is not only cosmetic though, and the less careful drivers may find themselves totalling their cars and having to restart the race. The now pretty much standard rewind option is available in GRID, allowing the player to rewind their actions by a few seconds to hopefully perform better. However, this option has a limited number of uses in a race. There are a nice varied selection of tracks in the game, some familiar, some less so. Again these all look stunning, if the player has time to look around, from standard tracks to city circuits. The most impressive aspect of the lighting is the light, which plays a big part in the realism as the sun shines in the drivers face, obscuring the track, or at night when the bright lights can be just as dazzling. The weather is no slouch either, and driving in the rain is great fun.

 


 
When it comes to the competition, Codemasters have opted to make their AI races as realistic as possible. The players opponents are good, and they have a memory. This is something I discovered as I applied the brake as late as possible on the first corner of my first race, using an opponent to slow my car for the corner. As I mentioned, I am an aggressive racer. It turns out that the opponent I had used took offence at my driving and then became my nemesis, going out of his way to cause me trouble for the rest of the race. It became a bit of a thing as I managed to upset one driver after another, with my crew constantly telling me I would be best to avoid them. While this system doesn’t make too much difference to the racing, if you stay in front these nemeses can’t cause any problems, it really does add another level to the immersion. Never before have I remotely cared what the other drivers’ names where. Now, I like to know who my enemies are.

 
When it comes to modes, the career is where most of the action is. There are more than 100 events to compete at the moment, as the player moves up from simple racer to GRID World Series champion. The different car types keep events interesting, and players do not need to come first in everything to progress. There are some 90 cars at launch, with many more to come I am sure. Keeping the races competitive, players are not able to upgrade their cars, rather keeping them all standard. But there are customisable liveries so players can make their cars look unique, which is handy for the multiplayer races. Playing online is fairly standard stuff and works well, but the lack of local split screen is a real shame. The only other mode is free play where the player can make their own events up for their own enjoyment.

 
This is where the games real problem lies. The racing is absolutely spot on, but the career lacks variety and content. More is promised for players who purchase the season pass, but it just doesn’t feel enough to justify the price tag right now. More modes, more cars, more tracks, more events. It just feels like the core game needs more of everything.

 


 
When it comes to being on the track, following those racing lines and taking corners as fast as possible, GRID really does shine bright. The game is a visual accomplishment and offers the most intense, competitive driving I have seen in a long time. However, it needs more of everything to feel like a full package. While I am not sure how long it will last, at the moment GRID is the hot driving game for racers of all levels.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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