GRID Review

Richard Walker

Race Driver: GRID, GRID 2 and GRID Autosport remain among the finest racing games around, so the wait for another GRID game – the first for current-gen platforms, no less – has been a protracted one. Happily, that wait hasn't been in vain, as GRID is a sensational racing game, its frenetic gameplay perfectly walking a tightrope between arcade accessibility and simulation, resulting in something that proves utterly irresistible.

Comprising three main driving disciplines – GT, stock car racing, and (TOCA fans, rejoice!) touring cars – GRID's Career mode isn't exactly groundbreaking, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that there's only a succession of races and little in the way of novelty; GRID is consistently exciting, races invariably bumper-to-bumper, sparks flying, eventful affairs. Like GRID Autosport, GRID is a pared down racer, all about the action on track, rather than any sort of superfluous story or needless gimmickry.


Enjoyment in GRID stems from the variation in its race events and the freedom you're given to chop and change. You can jump from a tight, GT street race to an intense, wheel-to-wheel touring car event, then dabble in some open-wheel racing in the Fernando Alonso challenge section. There are iconic muscle cars, NASCAR-style stock cars, tuned-up beasts, and, erm, Mini Coopers; and not one of GRID's racing disciplines is a dud.

There's additional depth to be found in GRID's Career mode, with different teammates to recruit, rivals to defeat, and nemeses to annoy by bashing into them repeatedly. Creating a nemesis by constantly jostling a fellow competitor raises the stakes, causing a race rival you've been griefing to start gunning for you. It's something of a gamble to start squeezing through the pack, then, lest you make yourself several enemies in the process, all hell-bent on chasing you down and ruining your race like you ruined theirs.

GRID's AI rivals are already pretty aggressive, so turning one into a nemesis means they won't hesitate to nudge you into the nearest tyre wall or send you spinning off the track, given half a chance. More casual players will be glad that Flashbacks are on hand once again; should a nemesis – or any disgruntled rival for that matter – get the better of you, or if you experience a lapse in concentration, you can zip back in time at the touch of a button.

For those seeking something closer to a sim, GRID, like any racing game worth its salt these days, has a selection of assists and settings that can be toggled on and off, like racing line indicators and damage being merely visual or having an impact on your car's performance, as well as difficulty levels and such. GRID is all things to all race fans, enabling you to tailor the experience to your liking and enjoy the dozens upon dozens of different race events. It's great.

Beating a certain number of events within GRID's various racing disciplines, as well as beating the entirety of the game's special Invitational races and FA Racing events (competing against Fernando Alonso's eSports team), grants access to a Showdown. Completing four of these enables you to then enter the GRID World Series Championship where you can compete for ultimate racing supremacy. There's plenty to work towards, then, so even though GRID doesn't feature some sort of narrative thread or other MacGuffin to tie everything together, it simply doesn't matter.


Such a thing would likely detract from the overall experience, which not only looks fantastic, but plays like an absolute dream. Handling is responsive and enormously gratifying, the damage model is superb, and XP – granted for certain feats like drifting, following the racing line, or cutting close to the edge of the track – ensures you're always given a sense of achievement and progression. The end of every race sees your XP bar steadily rising, unlocking different accolades and badges, so you can then go online and show off your milestones.

Multiplayer in GRID is every bit as streamlined as the game's Career, with Quick Match and Private Match options, enabling you to get into the action online very quickly, without having to sit in a lobby or wait around. Immediately, you're plonked onto a track where you can whizz around a few corners and get some practice in before the event proper starts up. Any progress made during multiplayer also feeds into your overall XP progression, too, so it's well worth a dabble.

GRID, as a whole, is worth much more than just a dabble, however, its visual prowess, immediate and gratifying handling, and intense racing proving a consistently attractive prospect. We'd even go so far to say that GRID is up there with some of the best racing titles around, cementing Codemasters' reputation as a purveyor of the finest games featuring things with four wheels.

GRID

Once again, Codemasters has proved that it deserves a place in the grand pantheon of racing game developers with GRID. Alongside the DiRT games and F1 series, GRID is another exemplary racer that will scratch the itch of even the most demanding racing game player.

Form widget
85%
Audio
70%

Music is unobtrusive and used sparingly, while pre-race commentary sets the scene, even if it is a little pointless and easily skipped. Engine noises are throaty and realistic, which is the most important thing.

Visuals
90%

An astonishingly pretty racing game with lively, atmospheric race venues, excellent car models and damage effects – the whole package is beautifully presented and will caress your eyes with automotive loveliness.

Playability
90%

About as good as it gets when it comes to racing games, GRID is never anything less than a joy. Handling is smooth and enjoyable, and you can tailor the entire experience to your liking, whether you're a casual or hardcore player.

Delivery
80%

Not particularly innovative, GRID is a remarkably robust racer. What it does, it does exceedingly well, and the presentation is stunning. However, Career mode is ultimately a compendium of 100+ races, with custom race options and multiplayer. It doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel.

Achievements
50%

A very workmanlike, vanilla achievement list that revolves around completing everything, bagging every gold trophy for each event, and perhaps performing a handful of feats on track. Cross the line backwards and win? Again? Yep.

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