Driving games megatest - Race Driver Grid
PC, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox from £10.99
We found it a little hard to get going in this game, but once on the move the development of action was well-paced. You can use a clever setting that allows you to rewind after a big shunt, and carry on as if nothing had happened. There's also a pro setting where every mistake counts and could be critical.
Travel around the world building respect, and cash, on the racing circuits of Europe, the US and Japan. Upgrade your car on eBay Motors and take on tracks including the Nurburgring GP circuit (not the original Nordschleife track), Le Mans and city-centre circuits such as Milan and San Francisco. In all there are more than 40 cars to bag and a total of 15 circuits.
Nice tyre smoke and speed blur, alongside detailed cars, cabins and circuits. Since it's available on a wide range of platforms, the look of Race Driver Grid will vary a little depending on whether you're playing on a cutting-edge PC or a Xbox. We've tried the PS3 version only, which was very good. Reports for other formats are encouraging.
Although you might think Grid has an arcade-style to start with – mid-air collisions in demolition derbies, for instance – but the way damage can have an impact on your performance provides an added edge of tension that's entirely lacking from something such as Gran Turismo Prologue. You get day and night modes in 24-hour races (that, thankfully, take only 24 minutes to complete), but the weather doesn't change.
Off- and online
Computer generated rival drivers in Grid are all pretty mad. They'll start a race fairly sensibly and then try to drive you into a brick wall to get ahead (it's only what you'd do). There can be some big pile-ups, too, so playing against the computer isn't bland. Online gaming isn't too bad, but it doesn't have the depth of Forza 3 or the immediate fun of Mario Kart.