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 macOS only a few months ago, Feral Interactive brings yet another racing game to us. 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 race day. 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 do have a wider appeal as a greater number of players will appreciate the simulation/arcade racing.
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 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.
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 of fun, and that is all that matters really.
Also, both the expansion packs are included in the game, which is a nice bonus.
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 different as well.
The tracks are now so well detailed and the crowd so realistic, it elevates the game to another level. The 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 a 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.
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: OS X 10.8.3
- Processor: Intel 2.9 i7 GHz Dual Core
- Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000 512 MB
- RAM: 8GB
- Resolution: 1280x800
Minimum System Requirements:
- OS: OS X 10.7.5
- Processor: 1.8 GHz
- RAM: 4 GB
- Graphics: 256 MB
- Free Space: 8 GB
- Immersive and engaging gameplay
- Great atmosphere
- Impressive graphics, and attention to detail
- Experience focused on player
- 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)
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 direction with its racing games and it is all the better for it. One can only hope more games are made like Grid.