GRID Review

Posted by: Sam Tree | 18 October 2019

Publisher:
Codemasters

Developer:
Codemasters

Release Date:
11th October 2019

Player(s):
Single player, Online multiplayer

Platform(s):
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia

Reviewed On:
PlayStation 4

2019’s GRID is the fourth title in the series and intended as a reboot; presumably to introduce new fans to the series after it’s five-year hiatus.

One of the GRID’s biggest selling points is the Nemesis System. Bumps and scrapes with the same AI racer too many times will mark him (or her) as your Nemesis, who will actively try to disrupt your perfect racing line. From cutting you up to pushing you out of the way, your Nemesis can cause a lot of hassle. While a nuisance, in the beginning, I found it to be a realistic and enjoyable addition; even though in some instances the AI can be brutally aggressive.

Not only does it add some variety to each race it also forces you, in most cases, to become a better racer – avoiding those minor collisions not only remove the danger of another competitor marking you for revenge but also keeps your vehicle in better condition. While not a new concept, GRID takes advantage of collision damage which can severely reduce the performance and handling if you take too many hits; the cost of repairs ultimately come out of any of your potential winnings.

Being marked by a Nemesis isn’t the be-all and end-all though. During each race, you’ll be accompanied by a teammate. While on several occasions I found them to be mostly useless there are some moments when they come in handy. Hitting Down on the D-Pad requests the teammate to take a defensive racing line; preventing overtakes and helping you keep your position – while hitting the Up button will make your teammate race more offensively.

Your teammate will take a percentage of your race winnings and can be swapped out with more experienced drivers that you unlock as you progress through the ranks. Of course, you’ll need to pay for their talents with an initial hiring fee. Disappointingly though, the game doesn’t point this out to you – with the option being buried within a submenu. Unless you’re actively looking through the various menus from the home screen, you could very well miss this option altogether.

Much like many racing games of the modern era, and its predecessors before it, GRID features a rewind system – called Flashbacks – which allow players to rectify any minor errors or miscalculations. While admittedly, it’s a helpful feature that can be used to undo a costly collision or a turn taken too hot it does tend to remove from the immersion. Knowing you can simply rewind time with the tap of a button with little to no repercussions feels like a cop-out. While yes, I fully appreciate its a simple matter of not using the function – but when your Rival has run you off of the track for the fifth time in a race it becomes very alluring. Perhaps this speaks more of my racing style rather than the system itself! It can, of course, be toggled on and off in the settings, so players after more of a challenge can disable it entirely.

The career mode is presented as six different World Series races, which you can switch between as you please, but the number of different racing locations is on the lower end of the scale. While each track has a few variations and weather conditions alter them slightly, overall there are only 12 tracks which can begin to feel repetitive. After the first handful of races, you’ve pretty much experienced it all. This does make me wonder how much GRID really has to offer. Once you’re around 8 hours in, it begins to feel rather samey.

On the other hand, however, the developers have done a great job with recreating real-world locations with impeccable detail; you could be forgiven for thinking that some of the custom-made tracks were plucked from our own reality. The care and attention to detail are evident, making for a much better experience. Even in the city-based races, the spectators are animated well enough – seeing as this is always one of my main gripes in racing games, it’s refreshing to see some effort put into the crowds; even if they tend to be ignored for the most part.

In stark comparison, however, GRID does boast an impressive number of licensed vehicles – over 70, in fact. From the old-school Mini to the blisteringly quick Renault R26; each and every card handles different and has a character all of its own. Much like each stage, the devs have taken great care with each machine’s digital counterpart. The classic Curves of the Ford Capri and the throaty growl of the Dodge Challenger SRT – it’s all there. Granted, the customisation options are a little a thin on the ground, as are the tuning options; but that only serves to allow players to focus on the real task at hand – racing.

All-in-all, GRID is a pretty decent arcade racer. The Nemesis system adds a little flair to each and every event which does break up some of the monotony that spawns from the relatively low number of tracks, but these in their own right look stunning. I’m personally not a fan of rewind functions in games, but this is a personal preference and doesn’t take away from the enjoyability; after all, players have the option to simply just not use it and can turn it off in the settings. The detailed recreation of the licensed vehicles is an impressive feat and overall the game plays really well. If you enjoy a good arcade racer then you could do worse than GRID. It may not offer the most in terms of variety and content, but it does make it up with detail and enjoyability.







VERY GOOD
The Good
  • Tracks, both real and fantasy, are well designed
  • Attention to detail on vehicles is great
  • Nemesis system works well, even if it is a little aggressive at times
The Bad
  • Could do with some more racing locations and tracks
  • A quick overview of the different menu options wouldn't go amiss
  • Limited customisation options
A solid arcade racer with some beautiful tracks and detailed vehicles. It's just a shame that there isn't more to it.
This review is based on playing the PlayStation 4 version of GRID that was kindly provided for review purposes by Codemasters.


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