A few months after the release of the console version, Grid comes to the DS with the same mix of simulation and arcade driving that made the original so fun. Fans of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will notice that some features, such as rewinding time, have been cut, but replacement features, such as the track creator, make up for it. That’s because Grid does everything a handheld port of a console game should do. Instead of trying to force the DS to do things it isn’t capable of, developer Codemasters uses the system’s strengths to deliver a game that resembles the console iteration, but feels like a fresh experience of its own.
Much like in the console version, you’ll spend your time in Grid hopping around the globe completing races and events in an effort to increase your reputation and become the best driver in the world. You build your reputation by earning medals. Each event offers three medals, though you only need one to move on. Events include a wide variety of activities: races, braking tests, steering and drift challenges, time trials, survival races, blueprint challenges, and more. Winning medals unlocks more events, cars, part upgrades, and track pieces. The CPU drivers start out easy but gradually get tougher as you move on, making it increasingly difficult to snag three medals from every event. The steady stream of unlockables and plethora of events will keep you busy for hours.
The driving in Grid smoothly blends arcade and simulation racing. From bulky American muscle cars to sporty Japanese coupes, Grid offers a nice variety of licensed vehicles to drive, each of them handling a bit differently. The cars don’t drive with as much realism as pure simulation racers do, but the damage system requires you to drive with more precision than the average arcade racer. Cautious breaking and smooth drifting are the keys to success in Grid.