Race Driver GRID - Xbox 360

As a start out racer, the career mode provides the real meat to get stuck into. As a driver for hire, you can travel the world and win races across numerous driving types.

It’s all me me me, with your racing reputation your main concern. Winning competitions and completing contest-specific objectives will hand over a mass of cash to be stuck in your bank account.

There is certainly no lack of tracks to test your metal on either. Head over to Japan and you’ll be contending with the kind of drift vehicles that made The Fast and the Furious a guilty pleasure. In the US, it’s all hulking muscle cars. And in Europe it’s just your standard track-based racing in specially made vehicles.

Sadly Codemasters have missed a bit of a trick. In their eagerness to make the game as accessible as possible, bag yourself a bit of cash, and your only choice to upgrade is to buy a brand new car. There’s no powerful engines or racing wheels to purchase here. For a handy speed boost you’ll have to jettison that much loved craft of yours, and purchase something with a bit more oomph.

This slight lack of depth continues on to the racing itself. Gran Turismo this is not, with the driving certainly leaning towards the good old arcade style. Flinging your motor around corners is delightfully enjoyable, though real racing purists may baulk at some of the moves you can utilise.

The "flashback" concept is one that’s going to divide opinion. Remember Prince of Persia and that chance to rewind time to prevent a horrible death? Well, GRID has decided to give that a try too.

You get a number of chances, depending on your difficulty level, per race to rewind time and attempt to take that corner at a much higher pace. Some might see it as a step too far, while others may just enjoy that chance to swiftly retake that final bend rather than start the race all over again.

But as arcadey and unrealistic as all that is, your vehicle certainly isn’t impervious to damage. While a few hits and scrapes might just leave your vehicle cosmetically damaged, a major smash can destroy your car.

You can’t simply smash your way around corners to victory as all this damage takes its toll on your poor motor. A huge smash might cut down your top speed, or slow down acceleration, or even cause you to drop out of the race altogether.

Utilising the engine behind Colin McRae DIRT, there’s little shock to discover that GRID is a pretty good looking game. It’s a small step behind Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, but that doesn’t prevent this one being quite a head turner. The only real miss is the lack of rain effects for some watery driving.

Verdict

With a lengthy career mode encompassing a mass of disciplines, single player racing fans are in for a treat here. It’s not quite as awe inspiring as Gran Turismo 5 Prologue or Project Gotham Racing 4, but this racer certainly doesn’t lack anything in the fun stakes.

An extra hint of depth, and this could have been a sure fire classic.