A racing game by Codemasters, Grid is probably one of the best racing games on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. It perfectly combined the best elements of a racing simulation game like Gran Turismo with an arcade-style racing game like Ridge Racer. Apparently Grid was successful enough for Codemasters to want to port it to the Nintendo DS. So they let Firebrand Games develop a DS version of Grid. Unfortunately, the DS version of Grid is not very good at all..
The goal of Grid is to become the best driver in the world. To do that, you’ll compete in many different events in Europe, Japan, and the United States. As you complete events, you’ll earn medals, unlock new events, cars and other extras, and increase your reputation. The events in the game include standard races, speed tests, time trials, and many others, while the tracks consist of circuits that are famous in real life (Europe), street-racing courses (US), and even in a parking lot and a dock (Japan). The cars in the game are based off of real-world cars, ranging from the Corvette C5R to the Mazda RX-7. Each vehicle has distinct stats and controls differently.
Grid does a good job of leaving a good first impression. When I first played Grid, it seemed like a great game. The first few events are all grand prix races against computer-controlled opponents that offer a pretty decent challenge. After you complete a few events, the game starts to throw a little more variety at you with events like Time Trials, Steering Tests (which is like an obstacle course), Chase (when you need to pass an opponent within a time limit), and quite a few others. After about an hour, I was officially hooked.
But then, like watching a plane crash in slow-motion, everything began to fall apart.
In screenshots it looks great, but that's exactly the reason why I bought it...
I was having a lot of fun with GRID until I had completed the first country (which was the US for me). Since I was done with it, I moved on to Europe. I played the first track, and I found myself bored to death. The problem wasn’t the track, it was the opponents. They were incredibly easy to beat, and I had finished the race no less than fifteen seconds before they did. The other challenges were no better, either. In time trials I found myself finishing 6-10 seconds below the target time. In drift battles my score was usually 2000+ points higher than the target, and the other challenges were all the same story. There were still a few events that I had to try 3 or 4 times to get through (like the Touge events on Mount Haruna). With the challenge gone, the game becomes incredibly dull thanks to a mediocre sense of speed and lame collisions.
Interestingly enough, when I was bored out of my mind while playing this game, I began to notice some strange things in this game, like some hideous glitches that are found both in the graphics and the collision detection. For example, polygons flicker endlessly on some of the vehicles. And in some course sections, you can drive through the guardrail and create a 10-second shortcut (not that you’ll ever need it). Also, the music and sound effects are pretty mediocre, there’s some tremendous slowdown at times, and the whole thing is wrapped in a physics system that can range from bad to completely broken (you can drive into another car head on at 150 MPH and drive right through it). There is a decent track editor, as well as wi-fi connection play, but there’s never anybody online anyway, and I’ve seen better track editors (like the one in RC Revenge Pro), and on the custom tracks, there’s issues with ugly seams and draw distance.
Overall, Grid is just not very good on the DS. Firebrand Games focused too much on adding in extras, when they should’ve worked harder on making the actual racing fun, because without that everything else is meaningless.
The track editor's decent, but it doesn't offer as many options as I hoped it would.
The vehicles and environments look very good, but the graphics are also littered with glitches, seams, and poor draw distance.
The lame techno music is pretty annoying, and the sound effects (such as the revving engines) are weak to say the least.
The game does have some nice features, such as upgradable vehicles and the well constructed track editor, but that doesn't justify the boring racing and pathetic physics.
After about an hour, the gameplay starts to fall apart, and you'll probably start to get bored with it. However, the entire single player mode lasts about 6 hours.
Overall: 48/100 - Below Average