Last year’s Race Driver: Create & Race showed that the DS could handle a much more thorough and serious driving game than we’d ever thought possible, and without resorting to nasty steering wheels on the touch screen. With online multiplayer, smooth graphics and the option to draw your own tracks, it was in a class of its own on DS. So it’s no surprise to find there’s a sequel, although we didn’t expect it to arrive a mere nine months after the original. Surely that’s not enough time to make a full-blown follow-up to such an impressively full-featured racer? In fact, so little has changed, we’re honestly not sure if the tiny differences we’ve noticed are all in our imagination.
Anyway, just in case you missed it the first time around, GRID - as it’s now known - features a variety of expensive cars and loads of tracks from all over the world to test them on. There are time trials, drift challenges and smaller bits and bobs, some of which are a bit like the Gran Turismo license tests, and Grand Prix races against a bunch of AI opponents. The handling is tight and very responsive, using the D-pad and buttons. While it’s by no means so simmy that new or casual racers won’t be able to get to grips with it, you do have to stick to the racing line and use the brakes, particularly when you’re using one of the more powerful cars. You certainly can’t treat it like Mario Kart.
Multiplayer caters for single-cart gaming, so you can get a limited race going without multiple copies of the game. And with more carts, the full selection of tracks and cars becomes available. There’s also Wi-Fi, which is where you’re more likely to find an ongoing and regular supply of opponents. As for the tiny differences we thought we noticed, the steering seems maybe a little bit tighter. And, erm, the track editor - which is still brilliant - now lets you draw your own billboards as well as create full-featured courses to share and race with your mates. Essentially, it’s the same game, and probably not worth an upgrade unless you totally maxed out the last one. If you’re new to the series though, what are you waiting for? It’s highly recommended.
May 30, 2008