Grid for the Playstation 3: Hands-on Preview

With the success of the Colin McCrae racing franchise, Codemasters has decided to bring racing back to the streets with Grid. Can they duplicate the same success in a relatively unknown area? Find out in this hands-on preview of Grid for the Playstation 3.

Graphics

Grid looks pretty average for a racing game; nowhere near as good looking as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. One main complaint is the overt use of blur effects.

The sense of speed in addition to the dust and smoke effects are impressive, however. The slick interface makes a return from DiRT as well. Navigating menus doesn’t get any better than in Grid.

Sound

The music is very easy to listen to and fits right in with the slick presentation. The voice-overs are pretty decent as well.

Gameplay

Grid is a standard racing game that has some unique features.

As with most racing games, you get three standard modes: Grid World (career mode), time trial and multiplayer. You can earn cash in Grid World by participating in racing events such as drifting competition and racing against other computer-controlled cars. Time Trials will let you race on any given track and stack up your time against others by downloading their ghosts. Multiplayer is online and supports up to 12 players (it also includes a Spectator mode). All these modes are in every other racing game.

Having damages to cars is a somewhat new concept. Unlike Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, crashing you car will lead to consequences. Minor crashes will only lead to some cosmetic damages to your car. Major ones will affect the car’s performance. The handling will out of whack if you crash your hard enough, for example. Because of this, the game is a little tougher than most racing game since you will probably lose a race when your car gets in a major crash.

To add some balance to the difficulty, Codemasters added a Flashback mode. At any time in a race, you can bring up an instant replay of the last couple of seconds. From there, you can choose to go back in time by a couple of seconds. This is especially helpful when your car gets totaled in a crash. You basically, get a second chance if you messed up the first time. The number of flashbacks available is limited based on the racing event. The Flashback mode is a very unique feature, to say the least.

The game controls in the following ways:

Left Analog and Directional Pad: Steering

Right Analog: look around

L1: change camera perspective

L2: break and reverse

R2: accelerate

Circle: hand brake

Square: gear down

Triangle: look behind

X: gear up

Select: instant replay

Grid has other presets controller layouts as well as customizing your own layout. The game also supports wheel accessories.

Final Product

The online multiplayer will be the meat of Grid. The game will ship with 30 racing events on up to 80 racing circuits from around the world. Not to mention that the game will include online leader boards as well.

The Colin McRae racing franchise has always been in the top tier of games of the genre. Grid is looking like another solid offering from Codemasters. The game is expected for a release in early June for PC, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS and Xbox 360.

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