Part of the TOCA: Touring Car Series in all but name, Codemasters' GRID is another arcade-style, asphalt-shredding racer and was the first game in the series to implement Flashback: the ability to rewind up to ten seconds of gameplay, which was rather handy if after perfectly navigating a chicane one then decided to skids catastrophically into a wall on the next hairpin.
You can pick up a slice of the action for just £7.95 from ShopTo at the moment, which will save you a couple of quid on the nearest in-stock competitor's price (Play - £9.99).
Be warned: this isn't a Forza or a Gran Turismo. Pedantic petrolheads might find themselves with little to do as there's neither a huge range of cars here (45 in the stable), nor a dazzling array of settings with which to tweak and fiddle.
But GRID is about much more than that. It's hard, the learning curve is steep, but it's also immensely satisfying. There's a lot of speed here, matched by what were probably some of the best graphics around in 2008 and they still stand up pretty well today. Codemasters have clearly built the game around the premise that faster equals fun, and they're right. The game is slightly more forgiving than some of its contemporaries, but don't be fooled. The damage model, lifted from another acronym-beset game DiRT, is brutal and hilariously over-the-top.
This isn't a racing simulator: with arcade-style handling, slow-motion crashes and a Flashback function that allows you to replay any botched piece of steering you can muster (although this is limited by the difficulty level you decide upon) you're in for a wild, if somewhat unrealistic ride. But it's a whole heap of fun, and the relatively small stable of cars is more than made up for by a huge variety of race types and tracks.
One mode in particular sees Codemasters take on the head-to-head style mountain racing seen in Need For Speed: Carbon, and GRID absolutely wipes the floor with EA's effort. It's called Pro Touge mode, and it's brilliant! Contact is forbidden, and shunting is penalised with added time, and the winding Japanese roads are treacherous indeed, particularly in Midnight Touge where everything is plunged into darkness.
The game's core progression will be instantly familiar to anyone who's ever played a driving game of any substance. You race for money, and reputation points in this case, to buy bigger and better cars that can go faster and faster, increasing your four-wheeled collection and earning your race team pounds and prestige. There are some nice little extras, though to add depth, such as tactically choosing your racing partner, scouring eBay for used and battered cars to save a few pennies, and navigating sponsorship deals to suit your ambitions and ability.
It won't be for everyone, but GRID can offer speed freaks a lot of gameplay for eight quid and, with crash animations almost on a par with Burnout Paradise, it'll should grab the attention of a few action junkies too.
Thanks to whizzkid at HUKD