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Review: Race Driver: Grid - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 8 August 2008, 13:19

Tags: Race Driver: Grid, Codemasters, PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Racing

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Variety is the spice of life

The main game mode in Grid sees you start your career as a race driver as you compete in events across the USA, Europe and Japan in an attempt to improve your driver reputation and become the world's best.

To a certain extent, you can pick and choose the type of events that you want to enter and although it’s still the championship races that ultimately bring you closer to your goal, you’re encouraged to experiment in the various challenges by the reward of points and unlockable content.

On the track itself, it’s a mixture of arcade and simulation with a damage system that can see you heading for the pits with a smoking bonnet and game mechanics that can see your car spin 3060 degrees if you take a corner too sharply. Although a sterner challenge is offered by opting for a manual gearbox, the controls are easy to pick up and clever use of the handbrake can see you drifting around corners with ease after a bit of practice. The feeling of speed has been captured expertly and each race feels exciting and challenging.

If there’s any criticism to be given here, it’s with the cornering. It’s sometimes difficult to judge when the next corner is coming as it’s hard to see too far ahead of you. The circuit map is shown on the bottom of the two screens, but it’s hard to keep one eye on that and your vehicle, so until you’ve practiced on each track it’s pretty easy to misjudge them and crash on corners.

Still, that’s not a fault with the cars, which all handle well and react as they should do when you damage them by slowing down or becoming more difficult to drive. The AI also responds well, with cars taking advantage if you slow down too much on corners or speeding ahead when you crash into chicanes. There’s a good learning curve, ensuring that the balance between difficulty and achievability is spot-on.