|System: X360, PS3, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Codemasters||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (12 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
What Flashback actually does is quite simple. Let's say you took a less than perfect curve. Or maybe you totally slammed your car into a wall. Whatever mistake you made, Flashback allows you to rewind time and re-attempt that curve, or give yourself enough time to brake before hitting the wall. It sounds like a very simple feature, but it fundamentally changes how you play the game.
First of all, it allows you to experiment a whole lot more with your personal driving style. For instance, if you're on the final lap, and have someone gaining on your left, right before a sharp left turn, you'll have a decision to make. You can either back off to take the turn carefully and concede your lead, you can attempt to slam into the opposing car and jet past, or you can try and maintain your current speed and rush into the turn. It is a nerve racking decision, but with the Flashback feature, you can try whatever you want, with no consequences.
However, because Flashback gives you so many chances to re-try your racing maneuvers, the penalties for reckless driving are fairly steep. First of all, even though handling takes a very fluid arcade approach, the control does not sacrifice precision whatsoever. You'll have to be very exact going into turns; otherwise you may send your vehicle into an out-of-control 360 spin.
Damage in GRID is also very extreme. Any bit of damage you take directly affects your driving, and the effects can be punishing. There are five main areas that, if damaged, can seriously affect your driving: gearbox, suspension, steering, engine, and wheels. If you damage your vehicle's gearbox or engine, you will hinder your car's ability to shift gears and the top speed will be reduced. Damage to the suspension, wheels, or steering column will reduce your ability to control your vehicle. The damage effects get progressively worse and can start out as a minor hindrance, but if you damage your car too much you can loose complete control of your vehicle.
Visuals in GRID are fairly good, although you can't help but acknowledge the 800 lb. gorilla that is Gran Turismo. While GRID can't really compete with the photorealism of this year's Gran Turismo, the game looks just as good as any other standard automotive title and has a great amount of vehicle and track detail. The game features a very speedy framerate that keeps great pace with the high-speed gameplay.
Sound in the game features some very basic background music, but the game makes up for the lackluster themes with some pretty awesome vehicle sound effects. The sound effects are very realistic, and you'll be able to hear tires squeal, engines roar, and brakes scream.
So, is GRID the next big thing in the automotive game genre? I think so. The game has incredible arcade form, and I think the Flashback feature is one of the best new ideas we've seen come from this genre in a long time. This type of innovation is very encouraging and gives me hope that perhaps the automotive genre is not as stale as I might have thought. So, if you're in the mood for an absolutely delightful and fresh automotive experience, you owe it to yourself to pick up GRID!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer