Gear up, driving fans. GRID is thus far the year's best DS racing game.
GRID has already scored a few victory laps on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and now it's time for Nintendo DS owners to take a spin around the track with their own version. This is a super-technical racer, as you must steer high-class vehicles with precision. Otherwise, you'll grind against rails and turn your classy car into a pile of junk in a matter of seconds. This may frustrate inexperienced players, but others will find GRID to be one of the best Nintendo DS racers since Mario Kart DS.
In the game, there's an abundant amount of circuits and races that take you across the globe, including Tokyo, San Francisco and Milan. Each of the courses look great, and you can easily read upcoming turns by glimpsing at the grid on your bottom screen. You'll want to play it cautiously, as computer driven cars (and your human opponents) will try to stop you every step of the way in your quest for first place. The cars look good, although they occasionally look a little weird going into turns; it's almost like they're super-drifting. There's also a noticeable lack of speed, which can sometimes result in an unwanted collision. Overall, though, it's an improved design over last year's Race Driver: Create and Race.
Handling is an important factor in any driving game, and GRID mostly gets it right. There's no fancy stylus driving, just good old fashioned basics where you steer, brake and avoid nasty collisions. Each of the cars have precision handling, so they react realistically enough. It's not as intricate as the controls found in the PS3 and 360 games, but the game controls well.
What'll really grab you with GRID, though, are the extras. You can create your own racing utopia using the robust track editor. As you go through each race, you'll earn new bits and pieces that you can add to your tracks, jazzing them up even further. You have to go through a few Blueprint Challenges in order to snag all the parts you need, but they're worth completing. You can also share these tracks with others over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, letting fellow speedsters test out your customized roads.
Along with online sharing, racing locally against others is also available. A friend can download from your system for single cart play, but the best way is to find a fellow player with a copy of GRID. Up to four can take part in the various racing events. Finally, the game supports the Rumble Pak, which enhances the experience with its vibrations.
GRID is difficult at first, and the lack of a speedy frame rate may throw you off. Otherwise, there's nothing to hold you back from shifting into high gear. Buy it, hit the gas and race for the finish line.
What's Hot: Tight racing, various multiplayer options, you can design your own tracks, lots of circuits and events.
What's Not: Sense of speed is lacking, cars easily damaged.