|System: X360, PS3, PC||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|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
When looking at automotive titles with a critical eye, one tends to notice the small things. Details like graphical upgrades, turn mechanics, vehicle rosters, and track designs are most likely to catch the attention of automotive fans. Titles that can implement upgrades in these areas are generally well-received at first, but soon disappear from public consciousness. Only titles that are truly vanguard in this genre are long remembered.
The Gran Turismo and Forza series both have a legacy in gaming, simply because they weren't afraid to change the formula and shake things up. And in today's market, where you have at least two or three automotive games released per month, it can be difficult for a title to break barriers to establish itself as an essential automotive game (or franchise). A title will have to take some serious risks and execute it almost perfectly in order to become an automotive staple. GRID takes some amazing risks, and I am happy to say they are executed wonderfully. But is it good enough to become a legend in the world of automotive games?
For the most part, when you first start playing GRID, it seems like a fairly generic racing experience. The main single-player mode is called GRID World, and has you predictably taking on the role of the newest hotshot driver in town. You rent out your skills to teams across the world to gain the funds necessary to start your own team. Once you start your own team, you can start entering events, accept sponsorship deals, and even recruit a teammate.
The different events and modes in GRID World are extremely diverse and cover almost every form of street and track racing you could possibly think of. All the standard events are here, including Grip races, Time trials, as well as Speed events. But there are also several specialty events such as Touge, which is a one-on-one race down a hill, Endurance, and Demolition Derby.
Additionally, there are several drift modes. What is really interesting, is the drift modes are actually quite fun and don't feel tacked on or extraneous to the game. Drift modes focus more on points and distance rather than speed, which makes a whole lot more sense in-game. You can take your time planning and executing long-chained precision drifts to get points rather than hastily remembering to e-brake in the heat of a race. In addition to the standard points-based freestyle drift event, there are also downhill drift races and drift GP races.
Although the GRID World is quite expansive, it simply would not be a modern automotive title without online support. The online mode is quite simple and allows you to join a player, ranked, or custom match, vote on different tracks, and duke it out with online opponents. It certainly isn't the most expansive online experience available, but it offers a satisfactory experience.
But it is not the structure of the game nor the vast amount of modes available that make this a truly innovative title. It is one extremely unique facet that has never been used in an automotive title before, and I can almost guarantee it will start showing up in more and more games. This groundbreaking new feature is called Flashback.