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Forget details, just start driving

June 26, 2008|Pete Metzger | Special to The Times

Games such as Gran Turismo and Forza are serious racing simulators, to a fault. Unless you are a complete gear head who appreciates being able to change the downdraft on your car before the race, you won't fully appreciate everything these games have to offer. At times they are too serious and, well, simply not much fun.

The newest entry to the auto racing lineup, Grid, doesn't get bogged down in the details. Instead it focuses on the fun.

And the results are spectacular.

With 45 different cars to drive (including open wheel, muscle and the exotic), a variety of styles of racing (including drift and demolition derby) and the ability to actually do some serious damage to your buggy (as well as to the competition), Grid is a classic arcade racer with eye-poppingly realistic graphics.

But the best thing about it is the instant replay function. Hit a turn too fast and destroy your car? No worries. By entering the instant replay and winding back time, racers can take that curve again. Gone is the pressure to be perfect all the time, something that will come as a big relief to those who are just seeking enjoyable, metal-shredding racing.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, July 08, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Rock Band: The Game Day column in the June 26 Calendar said that the Rock Band video game for the Wii platform sold for $159.99. The price is $169.99.

Sure, options can be selected to make the racing more difficult and serious (such as disabling the do-overs), but where is the fun in that?

Grade: A (awesome arcade-style action).

Details: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms; $59.99; rated Everyone.


Rock out on Wii

Wii owners rejoice, for now you too can rock out with the just-released Rock Band for your little white interactive system. Just don't expect to have as much fun as someone playing the smash hit from MTV Games on an Xbox 360 or PS3.

First, what's better: The guitars that ship with the bundle are wireless, giving a surprisingly important level of freedom to your performance; the drum set here comes in white to match the Wii console; and one of the five new songs included on the 63-song playlist is the Police classic "Roxanne."

But what's worse: The top-shelf character creator is missing in this version, which greatly lessens the immersion experience; the graphics aren't as sharp as other Wii games, let alone the other high-def systems; and the song lyrics are at times difficult to read during the karaoke-like singing levels.

If this is the only Rock Band you've ever played, you'll love it. But if given a choice. . . .

Grade: B- (better on the other platforms).

Details: Nintendo Wii platform; $159.99 for complete bundle; rated Teen (lyrics, mild suggestive themes).

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