GRID Review – Pedal to the Metal
I didn’t realise how much I was craving a great racing game until I started playing GRID. It’s been a year since Forza Horizon 4 was released and a few years since a game as diverse and varied as Forza or Gran Turismo. Sure, there have been sim racers and arcade racers. There have been Moto GP games, Kart games and Formula 1 games. However, there hasn’t been a game that groups a number of racing genres and puts your skills to the test.
GRID is that game.
Across 104 events, 12 cities and over 80 tracks players can race in Touring, Stock, Tuner, GT and Invitational events. These events vary wildly and really show the strength of Codemasters’ ability to create uniquely enjoyable racing games.
GRID gets you into the action right away. First dropping you into a street race, then a stock race and finally a rally on a wet track. It’s a brilliant display of the different types of racing you’ll face while playing and it also shows how much work has gone into making GRID as varied as possible.
Best of all, once you finish the intro, you’re able to qualify and race in the GRID World Series by completing only four of the available Showdown events.
You won’t need to complete every race of every type and each Showdown to get into the World Series. If you’re no good at a couple of the racing types, you can avoid them. However, the customisable controls and difficulty settings mean that playing GRID can feel like an arcade racer or a sim.
The choice is yours. You can change things like ABS, traction control and stability and when you fiddle with these and the default difficulties you can find a game to your liking.
When you turn all assists off and turn the difficulty up, expect a real challenge.
Start Your Engines
When you enter events, you’ll need to purchase a car to race in and you start the game off with enough to buy a couple of choices. You also have the ability to head into the garage and purchase cars as you like.
When you do you’re able to tune your cars and set your livery. Tuning your vehicles involves setting the Gear Ratio, Springs, Dampers, Anti-Roll Bars and Brake Bias. Setting these will give you different performance and gear heads will likely enjoy tinkering.
In addition, you will earn livery as you unlock Milestones and Career Objectives. These include Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary and I smell microtransactions brewing to unlock them all. However, as they don’t affect the gameplay at all, there’s no real reason to be concerned.
The addition of GRID’s Nemesis System is genius. When racing, if you nudge another racer too hard or too often, you’ll be notified that they’re your nemesis. This puts a red icon above them and gives you constant updates on their location.
In the pre-release hype, it seemed that the Nemesis System was going to mean that racers would suddenly come after you but I’ve not found that to be the case.
Instead, when you have a nemesis or multiple nemeses, you find yourself being more anxious, racing more carefully and trying to avoid them as best as you can. I’m sure the Nemesis System affects the way the AI racers perform but the way it manipulates the player psychologically is undeniable.
Where the AI really shines is in the sheer number of profiles included in the title. With over 400 AI profiles, each and every race feels different. Even when you play the same track, with the same vehicle against the same racers, you’re going to have a different race on your hands.
It really makes it worthwhile playing for longer and certainly improves longevity. As do the multiple racing types that each feels different from one another and each features a totally different racing experience.
GRID is an easy choice for racing game fans. It’s a superb experience and easily the best racing game this year. For racing fans, it’s a must buy.
GRID was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by the Publisher.
Game title: GRID
Detailed, near photorealistic visuals - 9.2/10
Amazing AI, Nemesis System transforms races - 9.3/10
Plenty of different racing styles - 8.5/10
Difficulty options for the casual and pro racer - 9/10