So im not a big fan of racing games.
Infact , i hate most racing games – The only real racing games i ever found fun were the burnout series and Need for Speed underground , Gran turismo 3 was alright as simulation games go, but i find simulation games pretty boring , i like being able to smack other cars out of the way , i like being able to powerslide round corners , i like being able to crash into oncoming buses….
So out of the blue , i downloaded ‘Race Driver : GRID’ , expecting to play it for 20 minutes then realise how shit it is and leave it to fragment on my hard drive.
I got a rather nice surprise.
Its a rather standard racing game at heart , there are different ‘disciplines’ – these essentially boil down to street courses , race tracks , F1/touring stuff , Drifting and ‘Touge’ which is basically the canyon bits from Need for Speed Carbon.
So what seperates this game out from all of the shitty racing games out there?… I have no idea.
I honestly cant put my finger on what makes this game great. You enter races for money , spend the money on cars , its pretty much Gran turismo stuff without the endless tuning and upgrading.
Nope. i still have no idea whats so great about this game.
The cars suffer from damage (as you may notice in the screenshots – im a shit driver) , slam into a wall and you may dent the car door , slam into the wall on that side and you may mess up the wheels causing your steering to veer to the left/right. Hit the front and your braking may mess up , etc etc.
All little things but the attention to detail in these aspects is really amazing.
Where the game really shines in my opinion is when you put it into in-car mode.
You earn reputation in this game , you can gain more rep from an event by changing the difficulty , changing driver assists (brake assist , steering assist etc etc) and by forcing helmet view.
All of the detail inside the cockpit is astounding , the dials all move in real time, lights flash , your drivers hands move with your steering , his hands move to change gear…
When you lock to helmet view , the only way you can see whats going on is by.. well.. looking whats going on!
Using the right analogue stick you can use your noggin to see around. Turn to the right to check your right rear view mirror , up and left a little to check behind you ,down and you can see your drivers legs/feet and pedals… you get the idea.
The damage system affects the inside too! hit the right side and your right window may break , crash full on and your windshield will become cracked and annoying to look through , your doors can hang off their hinges , side mirror can break off…
The game also has a ‘flashback’ system , which can help you prevent errors.
Crash into a wall? hit the back button and an instant replay will show , you can forward or rewind , pause , change angles , whatever you want. Then hit X and you’ll resume from that point in the replay.
Great for when you make a shit turn and spin out , miss a turn , get lost , etc etc. – you can turn this off if you want a challenge of course.
This game doesent really do much new aside from the flashback system. Everything else is bread and butter driving game stuff – but everything it does in this aspect is almost flawless. Cars all handle like they should , graphically brilliant , sounds are good… Its a great game.