by William Thompson
reviewed on NDS
And we’re off and racing
Up until now, the Nintendo DS has been largely devoid of high quality racing games. Sure there is everyone’s favourite Mario Kart and its arcadey-fun style of racing (along with its plethora of imitators), but there has not really been anything for those who want a bit more realism in their racing games. Of course, as I started out, that is until now. Race Driver GRID (or GRID for short) finally fills the void that many portable gamers have been experiencing.
Although GRID makes itself out to be a realistic driving simulator, it still has an arcade touch to it that enables even the most of casual gamers to easily get into. The main thrust of the game involves competing in a variety of events to earn reputation points. Scoring reputation points enables the gamer to compete in more events, open up new locations and drive around in different vehicles. Winning or placing in an event will allocate a certain amount of reputation points to the gamer.
There are heaps of racing styles which become available to the gamer as they progress through the game. Firstly there are single races which involve racetrack events such as those at Germany’s Nurburgring or the famous Le Mans circuit, street circuit events in cities such as the neon illuminated Tokyo, and even drift events. In all there are 37 licensed tracks to speed around (not including the tracks you get to design yourself – more on that later).
Apart from the single races, there are also race series’ or championships to compete, spread over a number of locations. Time Trials require the gamer to speed around a circuit in a required time. The faster you complete the time trial, the more reputation points are earned. There are also brake tests, which require the gamer to stop in a designated zone. Sounds easy, but it must be completed in a certain time limit, so you can’t just drive at 5 kilometres an hour and park on the exact spot.
Come on…Get in
In all, there are 29 different licensed vehicles to drive. Each vehicle type is used in its respective location – Aston Martins, BMWs and Paganis are driven around the courses in Europe, Toyotas are used to drive around the Japanese street circuits, and the Dodge and Corvette muscle cars are available to race around the street of San Francisco and Detroit.
It may take gamers a couple of races to get familiar with the handling of each class of vehicle. The big beefy American muscle cars clearly handle differently to the smaller, more streetwise Japanese vehicles on offer. This only heightens the feel that GRID has been made with hardcore race-gamers in mind. In GRID, gamers will also need to find a balance between going with all out speed, and being cautious. This is because being involved in collisions – with other vehicles or walls – will gradually wear down the performance of the car. It can be a little annoying as you watch helplessly as other vehicles fly past you because of your previous indiscretions in a race, having little control over the direction or speed of your own beat-up racing machine.
No Pros and Cons at this time