Read a Game?: GRID

August 20, 2009

Gamerscore after one playthrough: 710/1000

This is going to be another long on.

GRID is Codemaster’s attempt to DiRTify the regular racing scene. In general, the additions GRID makes to the DiRT engine are improvements, but the core game is less appealing.

Sequel Bullet Point Time:

The Good:

  • Flashbacks are cool. The worries of one crash (or bad turn) at the end of the race requiring a re-start are no more. They are optional, but quite useful for someone with my middling skills.
  • The Le Mans 24 Hours of Racing event is cool. And removes the need to grind 400-500 miles in career mode for an achievement.
  • The build your own livery function is neat. Sponsorships are cool, too.
  • The arcade mode is better integrated into career mode.

The Bad:

  • You are trading rally racers for “Touring Cars”, which feels like you are racing the Griswolds from National Lampoon.
  • They stuck in drift racing; the drift racing is especially heinous since the drift physics is car and not event based. The drift cars are stuck in “drift physics” even if you try to use them in a regular arcade race. You want to race with the Mazda RX-7 or Subaru Impreza (two of my regular race cars when they are offered)? Be prepared to feel like you have no control of the buttery sliding you will get as a result.

The Meh:

  • Rep replaces racing points. Rep is dependent on difficulty level (and the cap drops once you complete the event once), so you cannot max out on rep nearly as easily as you can on DiRT’s racing points.
  • The career structure is based on racing seasons, so every 5th event is Le Mans. It makes the career seem more nebulous. You compete in races until you and your team are #1 in their respective leaderboards. The “brown screen” pops up and that’s it. Then again, Le Mans is a 25-50 mile event, which makes that 1000 mile achievement attainable before you finish the career mode.

Apples and Oranges for this sim racer:

  • Quantity of Cars: 43 cars.
  • Quality of Cars: The pro-tuned and Le Mans cars drive real well. The muscle and drift cars? Not so much. Touring cars are outright boring. The same lack of variety issue that plagued DiRT hits here.
  • Car Modification (Visual): You build your own livery from pre-set patterns (that you can stretch and morph to your liking). You win sponsorships, which you position to set spots on the livery (and get sweet cash for the effort).
  • Car Modification (Performance): No mod parts. You can tweak various performance aspects. It appears to be as deep as Forza 2’s tweak system.
  • D’s of Doom: Drift. It’s one of the 2 themes of the Japan racing scene (there is 2 or 3 drift events at each level of Japan, plus 1 or 2 at the Global level), so it’s pretty much unavoidable if you want to complete the career mode.
  • Unique Race Types: Touge events are like Carbon’s Canyon races, but the engine supports the technical tracks. There is also a Demolition Derby event, for what it’s worth.
  • Currency: Cash for placing in races (how much depends on the difficulty level) and completing sponsor’s requirements (how much cash and what the requirement is depends on the sponsor). You also get cash for your teammate placing (the teammate does take a cut) and meeting sponsor’s requirements. You earn global rep and the region rep for completing races (how much depends on the difficulty level, place, how many times you used the flashback feature in the race). Cash gets you new (or used) cars. The various forms of rep progresses the career.
  • Achievements: 880 are available offline. 30 goes to a glitched achievement (Gotta Drive ‘Em All is glitched out of the box; they apparently had a patch to fix it, but more current patches unfixed it). Some are ridiculous. Get a 50x multiplier in a drift event? Win an event with all assists off, locked on head camera, manual transmission, extreme difficulty, and no flashbacks? a 90 second lap on the long version of Okatama? A normal person should not expect more than 760-790 gamerscore, depending on your luck with lapping your opponents.

I’ll be brief with my other notes. The graphics are on par with DiRT. The career mode is interestingly arraigned, segmented by region. The AI is better, putting up a strong fight without being blindly aggressive. There is little reason to play after beating the career mode; even if you somehow get the glitched achievement fixed, you still cannot earn it after the “brown screen” and there is little to do outside of career mode. No drunkard yammering on about sweet champagne this time, as far as I remember.

Total time:

Gameplay: 4/5

Presentation: 4/5

Interface: 4/5 (glitched achievement made me mad)

Replay: 3/5

Morality: 6/5

Total: 4.2/5

I would think it would have rated lower than that. Oh well.


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