3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Grid hits the skids
, 7 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Race Driver: GRID (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Get past the admittedly beautiful graphics of this game and what you're left with is one of the poorest racing games on any console. Options for tuning, practice laps and qualifiers are all notable by their absence. There isn't even a time trails option, which (I would think) most race gamers use to hone their skills in particular cars on particular tracks. The opposition AI is just dreadful, seeming to be hell-bent on just crashing you out of the way, whatever the discipline you're racing in. Spins are hard to recover from because of the apparent inability of the tyres to grip the road, so once another car crashes you off the road, you'll be reaching for the `restart' option again... and again... and again. Of course, the AI seem to be able to recover from spins and get back to their previous standing with supernatural ease. Well, they would, wouldn't they? There is a gimmicky rewind option, but the game punishes you for using it by reducing your race winnings. In fact, the game punishes you for just playing the darn thing.
Even these issues would be bearable were it not for the fact that this game has the most egregious car-handling physics of any racing game I've ever played. Accelerate in a low gear, even off the starting grid, and the car invariably spins. Having the assists (traction control etc.) maxed out helps a bit, but I am vexed by a game that almost requires the player to use cheats like this. I never use assists on Forza, even though it has very demanding handling characteristics. The difference is that Forza feels like it `plays fair', whereas getting the feel of the handling in Grid feels more like throwing a double six. The braking does not have an analogue feel to it either. It feels like nothing happens when you press the brake pedal or trigger half way down to slow down into a bend, but the tyres lock up in the last fraction of an inch of travel. True, you will sort of get used to the shoddy handling, but all the cars feel like they steer around a central pivot with the car floating a few centimetres above the track. There is no sense of being in touch with the road: it feels like you're aquaplaning the whole time. Handling has been a problem with all Codemaster race games in my opinion, including the Colin McRae games and Grid's predecessors, the TOCA games, but amazingly, the handling in Grid feels much worse than Codemasters' previous efforts. Other racers, particularly Forza but even the more arcadey PGR series, beat Grid hands-down when it comes to handling.
I can only assume that the programmers at Codemasters don't like the people who play their games very much. Not to worry. I shan't be buying their next racing game in a hurry.
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