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Sep 2008 02

Game Review: GRID

Games Review

So, I have always liked racing games. Grand Turismo was always my favorite franchise on the PS2 because the game was absolutely beautiful and fun to play.  However, I hated always being tied to the PS2.  I am not a big fan of console games, but it seems that our stock of racing games for PC have been fairly lack-luster.

Not any more!  Codemaster's, GRID is a fantastic game.. Codemasters yet again earns the faith I put in them for a high quality product.. (Operation Flashpoint 2 better rule!) w Once you get past the fact that you buy and sell cars through "eBay Motors" the game is quite enjoyable.. (I can't blame them for product placement.. I assume by letting Ebay, Champion, Valvoline... etc... add product placement and branding they can make the game for a lot less... Sponsors baby.. sponsors! It's not overly out of place and for the most part you don't even notice it.. )

The cars seem to drive pretty realistically and the realistic crash damage is awesome and adds a dynamic element to the game..

The cars all move exactly as you would expect them to. They seem to have real "weight" when they move which I like. So many other car simulations just don't get it.. Codemasters really captured the feel of how a vehicle show move..

One thing I really think is a nice touch is that you can setup the game to know your real name, and as such say it when they talk to you. They recorded probably a 100 common names, both male and female as well as a bunch of nick names.. You can choose one as your "audio name" and when the pit crew guy talks to you via the radio he says your name.. I know that's really minor, and easy to do.. but its a nice touch and goes a long way towards immersion..

Something else I like is that it has a braking idiot light... The designers realized that they are simulating a very realistic sport, in an unrealistic medium and as such we as drivers have a hell of a lot of sensory information left completely out.. So knowing the proper time to brake for a sharp turn is often very hard to judge.. As such there is a little light in the lower left that will go green, yellow, red.. flash.. brake now you moron!!... etc.. I like that, but it needs to be right in the center of the screen.. Usually when amid 11 other cars all trying to get position and avoid crashing, its hard to notice..

The game does have an EXCELLENT multiplayer game..  Nothing more fun that doing race after race with other folks over the web.  The only real issue is that most people like running derby after derby and that gets told to me.. Also online game play being what it is, you do get quite a lot of douche bags who don't know how to do anything other than type "fuck" or "nigger" over and over again.. sigh But so long as you can tune them out, its pretty fun.

At this point my only real complaint is that you MUST have a wheel.. trying to play this game with the keys (no mouse driving at all) is impossible or at least very hard with any accuracy.. (which makes sense.. I mean there is a good reason we drive with big analog wheels and not digital keys..)  So, having said that it's a completely invalid complaint but one that I figured I would voice.  I mean its a driving game after all, a wheel isn't out of the ordinary in the extremely rare situation of being in control of a car..

When trying to drive with the keyboard the wheels, brakes and accelerator are either FULL ON, FULL OFF, FULL LEFT, or FULL RIGHT which makes for sporadic driving at best.

I have 2 good wheels for my Playstation 2 but they don't use USB plugs so now I have to go buy a new wheel.. A little annoyed by that, but so be it.. I like racing games that much so I went out and got the R660 GT Motorsport racing wheel which I'll try to write a review about..  Some folks on the community grid forums can't get it to work with the game at all, but I'm having no troubles..

Wish list wise; I wish the game would actually make you pay for the damage you do to your car.. right now you can buy a 10 million dollar vehicle, total it.. and fixing it is free.. It shouldn't be.. but what can ya do.. this is really minor all things considered..

The reason this is important is because otherwise you can play the game as one bug crash derby and get away with it..

I also wish you had more control over things like tire selection, engine tunings..etc.. That stuff is completely left out of the game.

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