So rather unusual this year Codemasters have launched 3 games in the space of a year on all of the usual suspects of PC, Xbox and PlayStation. Starting off the year with Dirt Rally 2.0. Then in the middle of the year, we had the latest F1 game and now at years end and today’s offering. GRID
Like its counterpart the DIRT series, GRID also has a history that goes back a few years to 1997. Which back then was known as TOCA Touring Car Championship, which was focused on the BTCC AKA British Touring Car Championship. Which was a brilliant game and was considered the “cock of the block” in terms of racing games. For a time that is until a certain Kazunori Yamauchi came about with Gran Turismo.
But from there the TOCA series was slowly evolving over the years, with TOCA Race Driver 3 being the high point of the series alongside the first game, as it had a whole range of motorsport offerings. From Open wheeled cars, touring cars and even off-road races and even rallying, which can be argued that TOCA 3 was the precursor for the GRID series that you know today.
The first game in the GRID series was an absolute hoot of a game, but then it sequel GRID 2 which went more toward the arcade side of the spectrum and wasn’t that good. GRID Autosport made a decent attempt in righting that wrong, and with this new game GRID which is intended to be a reboot of the series. Which these days a series being rebooted is as about as surprising as EA making bad decisions.
Right history lesson over, Let’s talk about GRID. With 64 cars on offer covering Touring cars, GT racers, Le Mans prototypes, Stock Car racing and Open-wheel racing including F1. Along with some classic racers from the years including BTCC cars, Ford vs Ferrari, and more. With 12 tracks on offer from classic circuits like Brands Hatch and Silverstone and Sepang, but also street circuits like Shanghai; Havana, and fan favourite San Francisco. Around 92 routes on offer, with weather options (not dynamic sadly) and racing at night (again not dynamic). So there is a nice selection of cars on offer to throw about and a nice selection of tracks to race on that there is plenty on offer for the moment till the DLC kicks in like a woozy VTEC.
So how does it play? Well it’s enjoyable for the most part, cars are fun to drive, through curbs are a bit lethal. Driving isn’t as bad on a purpose-built racetrack, however street circuits they can be a right bastard. With all the cars different to drive from FWD touring cars that have very little grip to F1 cars that are more sticky than George Michaels car. Unlike its other counterparts in F1 and DIRT, it more simplified in terms of setting up the cars. If you’re looking for a more serious racer than I would say this isn’t the place for it, but still doesn’t dampen that it’s still fun to drive.
Newly added to the series is the Nemesis System. So as your racing around and if you have one too many bumps with a particular driver, he’ll be out for blood and will won’t be playing nice with you. Using you as a brake, and diving up the inside are just a few of the things he’ll be doing to annoy you. According to the game itself having over hundreds of bespoke AI personalities is impressive enough. But in practice, it doesn’t gel together well enough. Sure the AI is aggressive and will go for the overtake and will race each other and is fun to race against and the Nemesis system is a neat idea. However, the Nemesis system is reset after every race. So in amongst a championship, your actions carry very little weight.
So the Gameplay is rather hit and miss. The handling is enjoyable enough but with curbs being unpredictable it can get frustrating quickly. The AI is fun and aggressive to race against, but it’s Nemesis system is a neat idea but isn’t as fleshed out as it could have been.
With game modes however its not as in-depth as I hoped. Starting with career mode, with 5 disciplines on offer. GT, Stock, Tuner, Invitational, and Touring. To work your way through and then take on the GRID World Series and take on Ravenwest Motorsport. While there is plenty on offer and more than enough for me to dive into. My main problem is that it’s incredibly dull. The main problem is that while the disciplines are distinct enough, it doesn’t go far enough to make them visibly different.
Take GRID Autosport as an example, in the Touring Cars there were 2 races each round and reverse grids where mandatory. And stuff like drifting, endurance races where tyres and fuel were a factor. While it wasn’t to the standards to what even GRID 1 back in 2008. There was plenty on offer and there was a level of distinction between the disciplines. That’s what GRID now is lacking. It has the disciplines for sure but feels all the same from racing touring cars right down to the Le Mans Prototypes, their issues include that while you can run your team it rather limited. Sure you can add cars to your garage and the livery to run in and your teammate to race alongside with. But it’s a bit barebones.
Multiplayer is rather barebones as well, with only quick game modes and private matches on offer so if you’re looking for touring car races only then it either the random game lobby lottery or getting enough friends together to get what you want. In typical Codemasters fashion, the online can be patchy, including an interesting bug where I developed my very own doppelganger. But it’s just simple multiplayer, functional but a bit hollow. There is however a free play mode where you can drive any of your cars around all of the circuits.
Graphics are very good and colourful and the audio is crisp and clear, and there isn’t much bugs and glitches to report other than weird physics on curbs.
So the verdict? While an enjoyable racing game that does have lots of content in cars from most corners of motorsports, and has competent AI and an interesting Nemesis system. An immersive but frankly hollow career mode, a multiplayer that’s basic and little things here and there gets away from really loving the game. GRID is better than its predecessors. But its predecessors are in some ways much better than GRID.
GRID is a fun game with plenty of content on offer with cars and race tracks that are fun to race around with. and a career mode that’s got a lot on offer. But yet somehow feels hollow and basic multiplayer and little things here and there. just puts a downer on the game itself.
- Lots of cars and tracks
- Fun and engaging gameplay
- Interesting Nemesis idea
- Hollow Career mode
- Basic Multiplayer
- Team management is very basic