Race Driver: Grid is an in-depth motorsports and car-racing game. Produced by Codemasters, one of the longest-running game developers in the United Kingdom, the product builds on that company's expertise with racing games, as exemplified by the well-known TOCA Race Driver series. While preserving much of what fans loved about those games, Race Driver: Grid makes for something of a departure, too, in that it seems like an attempt to attract some of the audience that has gravitated toward somewhat slicker offerings from Electronic Arts and others in recent years.
Race, Win, and be Rewarded With the Chance to Drive Faster Cars
Like the older TOCA games, Race Driver: Grid puts the player straight into the fireproof suit of an ambitious young race-car driver. Players begin, as would seem appropriate, at the bottom of a ladder which reaches into the lofty heights of racing stardom. Before they take the wheels of the most powerful cars on the world's most famous circuits, then, they will need to prove themselves worthy.
This general approach to racing game structure has been used in many other games, but Codemasters puts a more personal spin on it. Race Driver: Grid is a little less ambitious in this respect than some of the older TOCA games, but still strives to give players a sense of playing the role of an actual race driver through a variety of nice little touches.
None of that would matter, of course, if the actual racing were not any good. Thankfully, Codemasters delivers well, no doubt with thanks to the studio's long history with racing games. Race Driver: Grid, like the company's earlier games, is not quite a simulation, but neither is it the sort of over-the-top racing game that one typically finds in the Burnout and Need for Speed series. Cars in Race Driver: Grid, especially with driving aids turned off and the difficulty turned up, can feel like a real handful, being ferocious machines that can make an unskilled or inattentive pilot pay in blood. At the same time, devotees of hardcore racing simulators like R-Factor and the GTR games will likely find these vehicles too forgiving for their tastes.
Great Graphics, Marred Only Slightly by a Strange Design Decision
Graphically, Race Driver: Grid is an impressive experience. One downside is a filter which casts an amber glow over the surroundings, although this is removable with a third-party modification. There is plenty of content on offer, too, so players will enjoy long and satisfying careers for their money. For those who find the Grid simulation model an attractive one, in fact, there is likely to be little to complain about with regard to the game.
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