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Grid Mac review

 As a racing games veteran, I awaited the launch of Grid with a lot of anticipation and hit the download button after frantically refreshing the store for hours on end. The game was highly acclaimed when it was first released, with raving reviews on PC (scoring an 87 Metascore) and consoles. But does it deliver on the Mac? Although Grid is four years old now, it did not disappoint me.

Codemasters and Feral Interactive clearly have a good and strong relationship. After bringing F1 2012 to the Mac only a few months ago, Feral Interactive brings yet another racing game to the Mac. Grid’s official name, Race Driver: Grid is a clear reference to its predecessor: ToCA Race Driver 3. But instead of making an out-and-out simulation racer, Codemasters took a different approach for Grid. They focused on graphics, sound effects and atmosphere. The game was designed so the player experiences the sights, sounds and feelings of a raceday. This might explain why they used a modified version of the physics engine in Colin McRae: Dirt, known as EGO.

Although Grid’s engine simply isn’t as realistic as the physics engine used in ToCA Race Driver 3, the games does have a wider appeal as a greater number of players will appreciate the simulation/arcade racing.

 

Enter Grid for Mac

GRID™ (Mac)In this game, you are the one firmly in control of what happens. You’re in charge of your own racing team, choosing sponsors, buying and selling cars, hiring and firing teammates in your ultimate aim to become the best driver and team. You can also drive for other teams to earn money if you become broke.

There are three regions in the game, The United States, Europe, and Japan, all with their own unique categories of racing. You can race with your team with your own custom liveried cars which adds a nice touch to the games.

As soon as you fire up Grid, you’re slotted into a Dodge Viper on a tricky street circuit. You soon begin to understand the rules of the game and the fact that the learning curve isn’t steep at all. The game is geared toward fun and not toward challenging the player too much. Although if you prefer a challenge, Grid won’t disappoint. It is simply a hard game to play, and you find yourself giving it your 100% every time. Even on the easier settings, you will find it hard to get a decent result. Finishing a race with a good result is very satisfying.

The cars handle naturally and it is extremely easy to play the game with a keyboard. Driving the car with keyboard feels intuitive, and that is something Codemasters has perfected over the years. Although keener players will sense a slight rally-esque handling characteristics.

The damage system is very well-engineered too. The car will perform a striptease, losing all its body parts before you finally total it. It’s not only for show either. The car will handle differently as it suffers suspension damage or steering damage. Grid loses the car setup settings, so compulsive fiddlers like me don’t get to play around with the car anymore, but it means that the game forces the player to concentrate more on the racing. This is good, as the game is difficult. The AI isn’t a pushover, and they will play dirty to overtake. However you can disable or enable the traction control and ABS if you want to play on the harder settings.

Mac games Grid

Overall, the sensation of speed is now so much more pronounced and that is what you really want while playing a racing game. Grid is an extremely immersive experience. I found myself sweating on some of the more difficult races. If the race gets too difficult for you, fret not, for Codemasters implemented a flashback system like the one in F1 2012, letting rewind to the moment before you spin-off or crash and try again. Grid might not appeal as much to simulation fans, but it is a lot fun, and that is all that matters really.

Also, both the expansion packs are included in the game, which is a nice bonus.

 

Presentation

The number of cars and tracks has dramatically decreased compared to ToCA RD 3, but on the flip side, the detail given to the cars and tracks more then covers for the loss. The amount of detail given to every car is extremely impressive. You will immediately notice the cars look sensational. Codemasters has worked hard on car detail, and it shows. The in-dash view is something to savor, and sounds effects will surprise you. A damaged steering will odd noises, and so will a damaged suspension. A damaged engine will sound differently as well.

Mac games Grid

The tracks are now so well detailed and the crowd so realistic, it elevates the game to another level. The touge racing in Japan, and the street circuits in the United States are some of the highlights of this game. The tracks are built not only to provide a challenge, but also an unique experience every time. There are a few real tracks, but the fictional tracks really take the cake. The fictional tracks set in San Francisco, Washington and Japan are so well made they change the feel of the game. The environment surrounding them are also extremely detailed and full of atmosphere.

It is very easy to get distracted while racing. Another highlight is the 24 hours of Le Mans. Every minute corresponds to an hour, and you do get to race at night, which is another unique experience. It’s a pity that you can’t save the replay of the races or the replays of the spectacular crashes.

 

Performance

The game runs very smoothly without any frames issues or lag, even on the best graphics setting. But you do need a good amount of RAM and a decent graphics card to enjoy this game. My MacBook Pro 13”:

  • OS: Mac OS X 10.8.3
  • Processor: Intel 2.9 i7 GHz Dual Core
  • Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000 512 MB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Resolution: 1280×800

Minimum System Requirements:

  • OS: Mac OS X 10.7.5
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics: 256 MB
  • Free Space: 8 GB

 

Verdict

Mac games Grid

The Good

  • Immersive and engaging gameplay
  • Great atmosphere
  • Impressive graphics, and attention to detail
  • Experience focused around player

The Bad

  • Will not appeal to simulation fans
  • High level of difficulty
  • No option to save replays (Not really a con, but the graphics are so good, that it would be a waste)

Final Word

Although this is a game that will mostly appeal to racing fans, it has a wide enough appeal to please those who aren’t. Codemasters has taken a different directions with its racing games and it is all the more better for it. One can only hope more games are made like Grid.

You can get it from the Mac App Store.

  • Marc

    Thanks for this Review, it helped me a lot but one question is still open for me. Are controllers natively supported? Or more directly: Will my PS3-controller work with GRID?
    I would really appreciate if you could say a few words about controller-support in future reviews!

    • Salil Parekh

      Hi Marc,

      GRID does support PS3 controllers. So you just hook up your PS3 controller, and you can edit the controls in the Options menu of the game.

      I’ll keep that in mind when I write reviews in the future 🙂

    • Mark Gregory

      Hey Marc, it’s safe to say most games Feral push out these days support controllers natively apart from the Xbox 360 controller.

      • Charles

        Xbox 360 controller works perfectly as long as it’s the wired version (or the Windows version with the receiver).

  • ReadMe

    Do not believe Marc’s statement about this game being easy to play with a keyboard, it’s false and anyone who’s spent 5 minutes playing the game can see why. All inputs on a keyboard are 100% or 0%, which in a racing game means that at best you can tap them to try desperately achieve anything other than full throttle, full lock, and full breaking.

    • I love taps

      great review mate, and ReadMe, you have no idea what you’re on about. Its so easy to play with a keyboard, unless you’re an idiot which you are. Try not to act cool and play with driver aids switched on.

    • Dood

      I disagree. I’ve been doing surprisingly well just using the keyboard, so well that I don’t feel I need to run out and get a controller.

  • RoJoyInc

    I must of blinked… so I went back and looked and still couldn’t find one thing about control… KB is worthless for racing. What about supported controllers, wheels? how well are they implemented.

    • Sorry to say that I haven’t tried wheels at all (don’t have any) but yes, keyboard sucks, I use a wired Xbox 360 controller. It works flawlessly, you just need to install the http://tattiebogle.net/ driver and you’re all set. PS3, PS4 and Xbox One controllers should work too but to be honest, I haven’t tried those yet.

      • RoJoyInc

        Thank you! I ordered controller on eBay. Installed driver and grid worked perfect. Even a xbox controller config loaded automatically. The thumb control is touchy but playable. Love it. I also got the SWR S1. Wheel. Works on Mac nicely with PC version games. Pleased with it too. Now a driver to make it work in OSX would be the berries.

        • RoJoyInc

          Not tried other gAmes yet. Hoping dirt works as well

          • RoJoyInc

            Xbox controller works with Grid, Dirt 2 and F1 2013 on Mac very nicely.
            My only complaint with GRID is the screen aspect changes with each menu or game. Like letterbox for one menu, different letterbox for another menu, then almost full screen at race intro, then full screen during race. I keep wondering why it doesn’t stay full screen on my 21″ 200dpi iMac.
            Really GRID and DIRT games are great to have together. They cover the gambit… throwing the (VERY DIFFICULT) F1 2013 rounds out the collection. I’ve never been much of a racing game fan, but the SMOOTH frame rates and awesome graphics keep me going back to play these more. I do wish a driver or support for the Simraceway SRW-S1 wheel could be implemented. I much prefer it over the xbox thumb control for steering.

          • Never played Dirt 2 myself but both Grid and F1 2013 are beautifully done indeed! They play great, look great and are probably some of the best games to show off a Mac’s graphics performance 🙂

          • Dirt 2 is also from Feral so it should work equally well.

        • That’s good to know man! Do you mean it works when you use bootcamp / windows?

          • RoJoyInc

            Most any controller will work in bootcamp. (bootcamp “IS WINDOWS”) I can’t get bootcamp on my machine. (refuses) so I run parallels and win8 and runs most win stuff well. (and uses the SWR-S1 wheel too). What I really like is how many games I’m finding that work with the Xbox controller! (like 95%) While the thumb stick isn’t ideal for me, it’s better than nothing. And gives 10 axis controls – for steering, accelerator and brakes. (not on/off – but analog). My old yoke from my PC also works great with Xplane. Now anxious to try the Xbox game pad with plane.

  • Mario

    I think the graphics are fantastic and it runs super smooth and nice on my 13″ rMBP however, the car is simply impossible to control. The fact of how easy it is to spin out is unrealistic and very frustrating. I wanted to like this game so much but I just can’t stand it cause of how impossible they’ve made it to keep the car in control and not crash into other racers forcing you to total the car or restart the race. It’s almost unplayable to me.

    • Hey Mario, honestly I’m very surprised by your comment. I’m thinking that maybe your controls weren’t properly setup because I found the game to be quite forgiving (easy to turn, etc).

      I played using an Xbox 360 wired control. Give it another shot and don’t hesitate to mess around with the controller options.
      Let me know how it goes!

  • Samuel Li

    Could I download again when I change the laptop ? I thought I could since I actually purchased the game, so I could download it as many time as I want to different PC?

    • It depends where you purchased it. Most online stores allow you to do this one way or another, but to give you clear directions, I need to know what store did you use!

      • Samuel Li

        Hi, which store? well, I bought it through Steam.