Burnout Paradise becomes a PSN download this Fall– Cool, the PlayStation Store could do with more full PS3 games (that go to retail stores as boxed versions) as digital distribution is the way forward. Seriously, what’s the harm in doing both? Warhawk and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue are great examples.
Regular followers of my humble ramblings will have noticed of late that I am obsessed with Race Driver: GRID. I just thought I’d post some of my initial impressions and experiences of the game, along with my reasoning for getting the game in the first place.
Quite simply, it all started with the demo for Race Driver: GRID. The handling of the cars was a bit tricky, but once I had mastered the controls it was good. Real good. I wanted more. I suppose the GRID demo has been one of the rare few demos that I have hammered. Then the reviews started coming in; 9/10 and 10/10 from most magazines and online publications. I was getting good vibes, and so I swiftly placed my order with Play.com and got a bonus Aston Martin DBR9 as well!
Initially you race for other teams in order to scrape a bit of cash together to repair your first ride, and to finance your own racing team. You’ll compete in a mixture of varied racing environments from racing muscle cars in the USA, to drifting high performance cars in Japan. There’s so much to do. The game starts to ‘kick up a gear’ (pardon my pun) when you get your own team together; from choosing your team colours and sponsors, to climbing the ranks of world teams and drivers. What’s very refreshing is that your objective isn’t always to come first. A team or sponsor may only want you to come at least 3rd or 5th, and some only want you to finish the race!
The difficulty is adjustable. Keep coming last in a racing style you’re not comfortable with? Kick it down a notch. Conversely if you’re wiping the floor with all the other drivers in one of your best events, then kick it up a notch to spice things up a bit and give yourself a real challenge. For me, what really distinguishes Race Driver: GRID from Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is your other drivers. Here, they are (depending on the difficulty level) just as likely as you to clip a corner, spin out of control or brake too late. The damage is fully realistic and very satisfying when you scream past another driver who clips the side and totals their car.
Whilst the behaviour of your competitors (mentioned above) certainly adds to the atmosphere, your pit crew communicates important information to you, such as the state your car is in and who you need to beat in order to secure the current objective. The most amazing feeling I have ever experienced in a racing game has been compteting in Le Mans 24 Hour on GRID. It’s just epic. Unlike racing for hours on Gran Turismo (boring, tedious) time is speeded up dramatically, allowing you to experience the full day and night cycle.
So what do I think after my initial hands-on with Race Driver: GRID? It’s racing- as it should be. In a way, it’s all I had hoped for and more. Codemasters really deserve credit for a fantastic job. I’ve not mentioned everything, such as licences, reputation, the art of touge etc., but I never intended to (also I’ve not tried out multiplayer yet, but when I do, I might provide an update further down the line). Hopefully this has just given you a brief overview of my thoughts and experiences on this game, and a taster of what awaits you, should you decide to take the wallet for a walk. Highly recommended for both PS3 and Xbox 360 owners.
I’ve been enjoying Collin McRae: DiRT for a while now, but have started looking around for my next driving fix. I’ve totally skipped Burnout Paradise because I don’t like driving games trying to be role-playing games. I don’t want to cruise around a huge city looking for a set of traffic lights which has the event I want. Instead I just want to select the car and the event on a menu and then race. Period. DiRT does this perfectly, as does the entire Gran Turismo series and all previous Burnout games.
Sooo… I have Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Am I enjoying it? Not particularly. Sure, the graphics are impressive but it’s quite tough and doesn’t ‘feel’ fun. It just doesn’t. Heck- it’s even billed as ‘the real driving simulator’. I want a fun racing game, not a simulator. On the PS2 the World Rally Championship series and the Burnout series satisfied my appetite.
So what game will be the worthy successor to my current driving game of choice- DiRT? I feel that it just HAS to be Race Driver: GRID. I’ve played on a demo and it is amazing- I’ll be buying it as soon as it is released. Ok, so why am I hyping this game up? The demo I played borrowed certain menu effects from DiRT (which is no bad thing), and seems to have bags of personality (ala Burnout) that seemed sorely lacking in TOCA. The visual style and handling seems to be the result of putting Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Burnout Paradise and DiRT into a smoothie maker and achieving the perfect blend. What’s surprising is it’s actually the successor to the competent TOCA Touring Car series; a series which I’ve played occasionally on demos, but not actually bothered to buy.
When I get Race Driver: GRID soon, I’m sure I’ll post some more thoughts up here. This game should be on the radar of both PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. Better still, try the demo!
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue: The “Mixtape”– Check it out on PlayStation.Blog. The right music can make the crucial difference in the enjoyment of a game. The same goes with driving, and so the Prologue team has scoured music libraries for that unique blend of classic tracks and recorded unique remixes that just make the perfect driving experience- worth a read.
Europe getting 40GB PS3 bundles packing Gran Turismo, Blu-ray movies– Sweet. Not that it’ll affect me, but it is exciting to know that Sony are pulling out all the stops to entice consumers to sample in the delights of the PS3. See also stories on: PS3 Fanboy and The Sixth Axis.