Codemasters know a thing or two about driving games. Already they’ve reinvented their Colin McRae series with DiRT and now they’ve done it again with Race Driver GRID. Of course, this is spiritually the latest TOCA game and you can race touring cars, muscle cars, and Japanese Super Cars around some very good looking tracks around the world.
You being by having to earn yourself 40,000 dollars by competing in races so you can do up an old banger you’ve got sitting in your shed and enter some proper races with some proper sponsors. As you start to create a stir about your driving you eventually get to manage your own team and even recruit team-mates to race with you and earn you even more money. You get cash just for finishing in some instances and also bonuses for beating specific opponents or placing higher than, say, 5th place.
As you’d expect the driving physics are spectacular. Cars drift and power round corners as you’d expect and take on damage if you slam into walls and other cars. It’s not easy finishing the race off when your car’s behaving like a drunk on his way home from the pub.
Fortunately, if you do slam into a wall too hard and you think you can do it better, you can press the ‘flashback’ button which does a similar thing to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Here you can rewind the action to a suitable point before your error and try again – now wouldn’t that be useful in real life eh? You can do it 4 times in normal difficulty and it can be a life saver if you have a blip at the end of an otherwise perfect three laps.
As well as standard races there’s also drift battles where you string together combos for sliding round corners sideways and downhill races where you must catch up to the car in front at breakneck speed without hitting them – do so and you get crucial penalty seconds added on to your time.
Racedriver GRID also looks awesome. Detail of the cars and tracks is fantastic and even the presentation in the menus has a cool sleek look – I think Codemasters must have had a bit of a makeover.
If you like Project Gotham Racing and Forza Motrosport then this is another one to add to your collection. It’s not a simulation but neither is it a straight arcade racer. Race Driver GRID gets a very good 8 out of 10.