Race Driver: GRID was developed by Codemasters and released in 2008 for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Nintendo DS. It was the evolution of the TOCA Touring Car and TOCA Race Driver series which began back in 1997 with the PC and Playstation One.
Two years after release, it’s still remaining popular with multi-player lobbies thriving, and the Race Driver: GRID Reloaded pack also bundling the 8-Ball Pack DLC content for a budget price, enticing a new round of race drivers to get involved.
Race Driver: GRID consists of three main modes – Grid World (Career), Race Day (Quick Race), and Multiplayer. Race Day is pretty explanatory, whilst the Multiplayer menus and lobbies work effectively and give you quick and custom searches, plus the ability to create your own race or pick a pre-determined series.
Grid World is a pretty comprehensive career mode, following your personalised racer through each season as you compete in the American, European and Japanese leagues to build up experience and cash. You’re aided by a business manager advising on finances, a crew chief watching the track action, and after the first season or two, you’ll be in a position to hire a team-mate for your personalised team.
You’re able to pick and choose your sponsors by objective and reward, and filter team-mates by expected pay, in order to maximise the cash you get when you’re successful. This enables you to enter events with your own team, which is the quickest way to build up your reputation as a driver, but you also get the option to race for other teams via Driver Offers which lets you into more powerful cars but doesn’t have the same level of reputation reward.
Events range from closed and open-wheel circuit racing through to demolition derby (in the American league) and Drift events (In the Japanese League). And every season offers you to take part in the Le Man 24 Hours event as the full day and night cycle occurs and forces you to rely on your headlights and memory at 200mph+.
Handling is on the more arcade side, and is fairly quick and twitchy, but it’s possible to use the quick steering and quick brakes to still produce smooth and fast laps whilst avoiding the reasonable AI drivers. Your AI opponents will make mistakes, including spinning or crashing, which can certainly help you progress through the field in what are pretty short events in default mode (2 or 3 lap races in general).
Audio and graphics:
The cinematics and menu screens still look good two years after launch as they were done with an element of style and finesse. In-game, the graphics are good on the track, with the internal and external views both looking good and moving at a good rate of speed with over 20 cars on the track at times. Beside the track, the surroundings aren’t as spectacular as some later games, but certainly haven’t aged badly enough to detract from the action.
Audio tracks are OK, and there is a reasonable amount of information conveyed by the in-game characters (And you’ll always enjoy the fact that loading the game launches a personalised greeting). The main source of irritation will be your team-mate, who will inform you if he’s in front of your or behind in a suitable regional accent – but this can happen every single race and with no actual change in how he’s driving, making it essentially pointless and a bit irritating.
A good game and well worth buying – and there’s a sequel currently in development.
The ORD review of Race Driver: GRID:
Latest News and Videos:
Buy Race Driver: GRID or Race Driver: GRID Reloaded:
Buy from Play.com (Including an exclusive special pack with ‘making of’ DVD and hardback artbook.