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Racing game developers jot this down. Combine two parts great graphics and sound, one part sexy cars and three parts incredible sensation of speed. Add tight controls and a top tier physics engine, shake, and serve with platform of choice. If you manage to get all that right, the result should look something like GRiD, an irresistibly addictive cocktail of exhilarating racing, spectacular wins and even more spectacular crashes. Though Codemasters didn't pioneer this winning recipe, they certainly have it down pat from starting line to first place finish.
Having said that, GRiD does include a handful of innovations to the formula that increase the game’s accessibility. Despite gameplay leaning more toward arcade than simulator, GRiD is not forgiving. Luckily, GRiD’s cars also double as time machines and players are allotted a handful of flashbacks, which briefly rewind the action and allow players to retry a segment in hopes of a better outcome. This is especially helpful as nasty crashes can significantly alter the player’s vehicle’s performance, if not total the vehicle entirely.
GRiD’s presentation is top notch. Cars gleam with reflections from the environment whizzing by, and fully detailed, functional cockpit views combined with convincing sound effects deliver players right into the action. Behind all that glitz and glam is a powerful physics engine that gives GRiD its distinct feel. Vehicles never appear to skate across racetracks and crashes unfold with a certain beauty that when combined with GRiD’s excellent damage modeling, can leave players hitting the rewind button over and over again.
Though some enthusiasts may bemoan GRiD’s small vehicle selection or lack of tuning, GRiD manages to capture the soul of racing like few games past across all of the game’s venues, from Tokyo drift battles and American demolition derbies to European open wheel competitions and even the super exclusive Le Mans.
Verdict: Codemaster's mantra "it's all about the race" makes it pretty clear what GRiD is all about. While purists might be turned off by some of GRiD's more arcade aspects, for everybody else, GRiD's finely tuned arcade / sim gameplay will deliver in spades, and unlike most other games, GRiD's spectacular crashes sometimes make it as fun to lose as it is to win. In fact, GRiD’s sexy presentation and intense racing action may leave some players swearing they smell petrol in the air.
Notes: The PS3 version currently does not, and likely will never, support trophies.
Purchased: USD40 @ Toys 'r' Us ( B2G1 sale ).
Game Traits applied to Grid (PS3) by Celestine