Grid Review

Even though its sequel is upon us, the original Grid still offers a fun slightly arcade-like and simulation racing experience, giving players the best of both worlds while staying accessible.

Race Driver GRID makes for a fun inexpensive racing alternative for those that are not simulation nor arcade racing fans; but for those that just want to drive real fast.

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 For this review I will be employing the MDA Framework developed by Robert Hunicke of thatgamecompany, Marc LeBlanc of Looking Glass fame, and Robert Zubek of Zynga. This framework is called MDA based off its core principal of what game design is, Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics. Also worth knowing is the definition of metagame which is simply a game inside of a game.

Mechanics: the rules and concepts that formally specify the game as a system

The Mechanics of GRID are similar to many other racing games, accelerate, gas, handbrake, steering, and various views to see your car and the track ahead. GRID does nothing special nor spectacular in its racing, which adds to the immersive metagame that surrounds the races.

This metagame takes the form of its story. The player starts the game as a new driver, wanting to prove himself in the worldwide racing circuit. From the offset, this means that the player is given 3 different events at a time of different global leagues (American with muscle cars all about going fast, European with formula one and touring cars that deal with precision, and the Japanese circuit all about drifting). Once the player has amassed enough funds, they can name and customize their own racing team, eventually hiring more drivers and actually competing in the 3 global leagues. From this point on the player can take events and stamp different sponsorship logos on their cars giving them more objectives to complete during a race, netting them some bonus cash. All these trappings give the player the feel of truly managing a racing team that races all over the globe without giving too much customization that can confuse. 

Dynamics: the run time behavior of the game as a system, and its players

Racing in GRID feels vibrant and alive. Not one of the other racers seems like robots that follow a specific path; some jostle into one another, others take a turn too sharp and spin out, sometimes huge collisions can be seen and smashed into, giving the player a great sense of playing with other real people (even though they are just computer racers). Outside of the races for the metagame, the way the reputation system and cash rewards work are hand in hand, encouraging the player to play the game at a more difficult setting then they are used to, or in cockpit view, which add realism while sacrificing visibility. The sponsorship objectives add to the dynamism of the racing; always ensuring the players has some extra and interesting goal to achieve. 

Aesthetics: the emotional responses evoked by the game dynamics.

As GRID is a game from 2007, the console versions are nothing to write home about, but on the PC the game can really push a computer’s hardware, making the game look as lush and detailed as this year’s titles.

The game’s simple and modern user interface for navigating menus, gives the player the information they want to see without bogging them in countless menus. The game is supplemented by a electronica soundtrack that adds to the mood of the game at any moment; adding a tense thumping bass during races, and a simple melody with reverb during the menus.

GRID is a inexpensive and solid racing game that does little to change the racing formula, while adding some fun customization and goal setting when outside the game’s races. For $15 and countless hours of racing you cannot go wrong with GRID for a good racing time. 

7
Grid Review
Even though its sequel is upon us, the original Grid still offers a fun slightly arcade-like and simulation racing experience, giving players the best of both worlds while staying accessible.

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Author
AJMandula
Hi! I'm a game developer from Colorado working on a game, 5th beat for the OUYA. When I'm not working on my own games, I am playing what I can on my PC, 3DS, Vita and iPhone.