Publisher: Koch Media
Genre: Action & adventure, Racing & flying, Sports
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 11/10/2019
Price: £54.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Back in 2008, when there weren’t as many racing games on the market, GRID first arrived with its no-nonsense street and circuit racing. It reminded me so much of what TOCA achieved back in the late 1990s and I was really hooked on mastering the game and completing it 100%. Since then we have had two sequels, each with their own merits, but we haven’t seen anything from the series in seven years. So, when I found out we would be getting a reincarnation of GRID I was excited. Codemasters nails all aspects of racing and with two fantastic games already by them in F1 2019 and DiRT Rally 2.0 this year I knew I had to play this.
In the early promotion of GRID, Fernando Alonso had consulted with the developers on the way they approached all aspects of car handling. From the moment you load the game up, you are thrust into three races that show you what it has to offer with all of the drama and glitz of the World Series of Racing. Fundamentally, those that have played the previous games will be right at home, being introduced to street circuit racing with tight-ass corners and little opportunity to overtake unless you brake so late you risk smashing into the barrier and make a nemesis of another driver (more on that later.) Once you have got past the initial introductory races you end up at your career screen and this is what is completely different to previous games, no-nonsense, no set path, just a list of events in categories. There are several disciplines to choose from and 104 events. Each of the events can have one or more races spanning across 12 locations and dozens of routes too.
There are five classes to salivate over: GT, Tuner, Stock, invitational and Open Wheel. Each has their own personality which is great to know, you start off with some basic cars and the rest are unlocked via cash earned from race events by you and your AI teammate. A few of the cars cost an absolute fortune and you will not be able to complete in some of the events until you own them. If you have the Ultimate Edition, some cars are unlocked already. I started off with the Fernando Alonso set of races, at the end of which you face the man himself on track in his Renault F1 winning car. That is an absolute thriller and a very satisfying race around the Malaysian Sepang F1 track. Much like DiRT Rally 2.0, GRID has a season pass which means we’ll be getting even more cars and content in the future.
The invitational events are quite fun. I found racing in the Mini Cooper to be a huge challenge especially, as they are cumbersome to use and trying to draft another car can be more than frustrating. You’ll be starting near the back of the grid in most events. Fighting through the pack can be hard at times, as most of the events are three laps. I felt frustrated at times when the leading cars would just sail into the distance and with little or no chance of getting close to them. In each event, if you get too aggressive and hit a driver a few times they become a rival and they will then take an even more aggressive approach to you for the rest of the race. Do this to your teammate and they won’t play the team game and support a request to push or defend.
For those that enjoyed earning points by passing or by hitting all the driving lines from the previous games will be pleased to know that this is back. These points will count towards your driving level and each increase will unlock more profile banners and pictures alongside new teammates and livery options. Be aware though; the further forward you are at the start means you have less chance to earn points by overtaking. This is most predominant when you do a qualifying lap instead of racing from a default position. Picking a teammate is key, to start you choose a basic one that specializes in a class. They will either be loyal and greatly skilled, but cost more to keep, or you can have a Jack of all trades and settle for a lower fee.
The AI drivers can be hit and miss from the time I have been playing. Some races, the AI can be tough as nails and really hard to go up against but then they can be 3 seconds a lap slower in the next race. I hope there is a patch coming to address this as its quite honestly one of the only issues with GRID.
Away from racing, the player profile page is straight forward, you get to pick your team name, player card and banner icon and select which milestones you want on them. You also get to track your milestones and accomplishments too, although it is a shame that it puts all milestones earned and not earned on and can be cumbersome to split the two. Visually the game runs exceptionally well on the Xbox One X and HDR works an absolute treat. However, one small issue is the lighting in the cockpit view when the sun is glaring, sometimes it is really hard to see where to turn into a corner. There are nice touches when you are about to finish a race, ribbons float across the screen and fireworks from the finish line shoot into the sky. Much like in the Forza series.
Multiplayer is fun, although I haven’t seen much action on here with not enough people to race against. Overall GRID is another great racer to add to this year’s collection of games. If you like hard-hitting no-frills racing with plenty to do then you cannot beat this game.