|System: DS, X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: FireBrand||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: CodeMasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
At times the A.I. can seem a little unfair, as they tend to lose control much more easily when bumped by you or another A.I. vehicle. In later stages, they tend to dominate the lead positions. You'll always be playing catch-up, but they aren't totally unfair. Some good driving and the proper deployment of your powersliding techniques will put you back into the running.
Overall the A.I. does a good job of simulating actual players, but if it's real players that you crave, the developers have taken care of that also. Multiplayer modes can be accessed locally or online through the Wi-Fi connection (it will accommodate four players). There were not a lot of online players at the time of this review, but I did manage to find someone willing to let me beat them during the wee hours of a weekday morning. Gotta' love those unemployed game addicts; the more the merrier with the multiplayer component. With the local network, you don't need multiple copies of the game, but you are limited to only a few different races and vehicles.
The track editor is incredibly comprehensive. You will feel like a game developer as you literally plot your own course. Using the stylus, you outline the route of your track and select the various objects, obstacles, and scenery. New sections and locations are acquired in-game, further fueling your incentive to both excel in the challenges and experiment with the create-a-track mode. These new tracks can be shared with other players. You can even design your own billboards. Cool!
Thanks to improved camera angles, the draw distance has been improved dramatically. It's easier to see the turns and obstacles in your path, which reduces the trial and error style of gameplay that occurred in Race Driver, where you had to memorize sections of the track. In GRID, you'll have a few seconds to react, and that can mean the difference between overtaking an opponent or taking a guardrail on head-first. The scenery is impressive. It's varied, colorful, and nicely detailed. The vehicles are nothing to write home about. They look great as display-models but lack the same details in-game. Just as well, as there is some perceptible slowdown on busy corners. Lighting and weather effects are subtle and highlight the realism without obscuring any of the onscreen action.
From the opening credits, GRID lets you know that it not only wants to be seen but heard. The tunes rock, the engines roar, the tires scream, and the crashes really make you feel as though a lot of things have been seriously broken. You will hear a lot of the same samples, especially with tire squealing and engine revving, but at least the impact sound effects are varied to complement the appropriate amount of damage.
GRID is a great handheld racing game. Compared to Race Driver, it's more like an expansion pack. It's very similar, although more refined. But if you haven't played the original, this is the one to get.
CCC Senior Writer