GRID is the newest racing game for Mac from Codemasters, published by Feral Interactive, but it has entered into a crowded market. GRID is competing with not only other incredibly popular racing titles like Real Racing 2 and FlatOut 2, but also from within its own ranks. We voted DiRT 2 as 2011’s top racing game on the Mac App Store. Released by Codemasters well over a year after GRID, DiRT 2 refined many of GRID’s flagship features such as the flashback mechanic and the realism of car damage. But before you dismiss GRID completely and go for what seems like the better alternative, there’s something about GRID, whether it be its raw, pumping gameplay, slick, smooth handling or compelling ‘Grid World’ career that might just get it on the podium for best racing game on Mac.
Race Driver GRID Gameplay
Whilst FlatOut 2 is the epitome of arcade racers, and DiRT 2 definitely sides more towards the simulation side of the spectrum, GRID seems to find that perfect balance between the two. It’s a game that maintains its credibility, but gives the player more freedom controlling the car which makes executing to-die-for drifts that much easier. Whilst in DiRT, it took me a while to get a hang of keeping the vehicle on the narrow, cliff-top lanes (and even then it still felt like one slip of the joystick would send it careering off the track), I instantly felt at home in GRID. It’s still a challenge navigating around the other cars, but it is a welcome relief to be battling the other drivers rather than the controls.
GRID places a lot of emphasis on teams. You start off the game’s career mode, named Grid World, accepting jobs to race for other teams. Once you earn enough money to start your own team, that’s when the fun begins. You can create your own signature livery that follows your team throughout the whole career across all cars, and you can start earning money and respect. If you’re a success, then you can even begin signing up team drivers that race alongside you to help boost your team score. This adds a new dimension to each race because it means you’re not only looking out for yourself, but also your fellow teammate. Working together as a team can be incredibly rewarding, but equally frustrating if you have a partner who drives a car like he milks cows. Thankfully, the driver AI perform realistically and certainly provide a challenge at the harder difficulties.
Unlike DiRT, Grid isn’t afraid to experiment with a wide variety of racing modes and styles. From Drift challenges to Demolition Derbies, from F1 speedsters to hefty muscle cars. Grid has a lot of variety in modes, which partly makes up for the drab tarmac tracks.
Perhaps the ultimate question is, which racer will I keep playing; DiRT 2 or Grid? And whilst I dearly miss DiRT’s gorgeous locals backed by stunning visuals, Grid offers a more accessible, arcade experience that gives the player a sense of identity within the game. Their own team, their own teammates, their own sponsors. If you’re looking for something to impress your mates, then DiRT 2 is certainly the way to go. But Grid should not be far off your list for must-have racers for Mac.
Publisher: Feral Interactive
Genre: A Fast-Paced Codemaster’s Racer
Pros: Team-based racing; compelling, personalised career mode; arcade-style handling makes controlling your car a dream but a challenge.
Cons: Looks aged at points, repetitive tarmac tracks.