Genre(s): Racing, Arcade, Simulation
Platform: Xbox Series X|S (Also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 25/2/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
When it comes to motorsport, gamers are spoilt for choice. Whereas the majority of gamers gravitate to platform exclusives such as Forza Horizon 5, or the recently released Gran Turismo 7, there’s also a wealth of multi-platform titles too. One such is GRID Legends which has been developed by the racing heavyweights over at Codemasters.
Yes, GRID Legends is Codemasters‘ latest attempt at rebooting the GRID franchise. Whilst GRID (2019) achieved moderate success, it wasn’t as well received as the previous titles (Racedriver: GRID and GRID 2). But now with the backing of industry giants EA, Codemasters have brought the franchise out of retirement with the aim to smash the arcade racer market.
A motorsport game that has a story? You better believe it! Presented within the same vein as the superb Netflix Formula 1 documentary “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” (really worth a watch!), GRID‘s “Driven to Glory” attempts to capture the drama of televised motorsport. And with its narrative played out through 36 chapters there’s a lot of story here to tell.
“Driven to Glory” follows your driver as they attempt to make a name for themselves within the GRID world. Having been signed to struggling team Seneca Racing, this docu-drama follows all the highs and lows of a single season. Throughout you’ll have to beat objectives set by Seneca Racing’s owner, Marcus Ado, as you also manage on-track rivalries. It’s a fairly competent story, which does a good job in investing you into seeing its conclusion. Long-time fans of the series will also recognise a few recurring names with both Nathan and Ryan McKane making their physical appearances.
In between the action on the track, the story is drip fed by live action cutscenes. This is where the similarities to “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” come into play as the action plays out exactly like a documentary would. There’s plenty of driver interviews, and “behind the scenes” moments that perfectly captures the atmosphere trackside and behind closed doors.
Another thing that makes the story worth experiencing is that its cast are all live actors. The casting choices aren’t anyone that I recognised, however each actor plays their part well in crafting a believable story. The only real downside is that – much like other racing stories – it’s only worth playing through the once. Yet, Codemasters have intentionally left Driven to Glory open ended, so we might just get a continuation in the future.
Away from its story mode and GRID Legends also features a robust career mode. There’s quite a vast amount to experience within this mode as you’ll travel from the rookie leagues, right up to the pro’s and beyond. As you venture through your career, you’ll unlock new cars and vehicle classes for you to race. There’s plenty of variation with these classes, and each one has plenty of ladders for you to climb on the way to success.
Career progress is measured on how much of a reputation you have gained. As your driver’s level raises and you satisfy your team’s sponsorship tasks, new events and cars will be available to you. This does somewhat narrow down what events you choose, but it does give you a wider experience in terms of racing.
Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s plenty to choose from. Everything from Muscle, Touring, Street, Tuner, GT, Track-Days, Open-Wheel, Trucks, and even Electric powered racers are here for you to drive. Much like other Codemasters games, each vehicle has its own distinct style for you to master. For instance, the trucks have a vast amount of weight to them which doesn’t allow for many miscalculations in cornering at speed, while racing in an E-Sports event will see you zipping through boost gates, and taking corners at a relative pace.
Vehicles all look the part too. Although there isn’t an insane amount of detail such as in Forza Horizon 5, each is impressive none-the-less. There’s also an abundance of camera angles to choose from with each showcasing different aspects of your chosen vehicle.
Regardless of what mode you play, GRID Legends takes you on a world tour. Locations such as; London, Moscow, Dubai, Indianapolis and San Francisco all feature in some shape or form. While these all look the part, a lot of them have been re-used from other GRID titles. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for those of us who are familiar with previous GRID titles, do you want to be racing the same tracks each time? However it does work for Formula 1 each and every year…
As in any other racing game, the multiplayer is as good as how you want it to be. Personally I’m not a big fan, as one idiot can easily wreck it for everyone else. However for many, multiplayer racing is a big thing. GRID Legends caters for this too with a family decent multiplayer suite. There’s a variety of modes to choose from with each vehicle class offering a wealth of variation of tracks and vehicles.
In my limited time with multiplayer, I found the experience to be relatively smooth. Lag spikes are manageable with every player having a reasonable level of ping. It’s not without its faults however as spectating races on occasion turn into a glitchy mess and it can take a few tries to join a quick race. But away from this, it’s certainly an experience that a lot of racing fans will spend time with.
Included in the multiplayer suite is also a race creator which allows you to bring multiple aspects of GRID Legends together. It’s a fairly robust tool which will allow you to create a custom race with whatever cars, class, weather type, and location that the game offers.
Much like other Codemasters games, GRID Legends offers a wealth of settings to make the game as easy – or as difficult as you see fit. There’s plenty to choose from which all effect the game in some shape or form. Wether it’s turning down the steering and braking assists for more simulation, or ramping up the difficulty of the A.I., Codemasters gives you the tools to make GRID Legends your game.
GRID Legends is another great display from the team at Codemasters. It’s a great racing title that offers a wealth of content that’s backed up by some tight gameplay mechanics. Whilst its story mode may be the main focus, away from this there’s a pretty robust career mode that ticks plenty of boxes. Sadly the title is hampered by a couple of performance issues, but I fully expect Codemasters to iron these out ASAP. Aside from this I really do hope that this is the start of something beautiful for the semi dormant racing series…
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
GRID Legends is out now and can be purchased via the Microsoft Store by clicking here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.