I’ve already spent quite a lot of time with GRID Legends this year. From an early preview where I got to try out the feel of some of the cars to playing through the story, I’ve been impressed at every turn. Now, after spending plenty of time across all game modes, driving tons of cars, and taking in the sites from across the world, I can happily say fans are going to love it. You feel like an important cog in the team you decide to create. From picking your sponsor and team profile, to managing the development of your teammates and mechanic, GRID Legends is heavily rewarding.
GRID Legends: A fun story
The big mode this time around is GRID Legends’ story, ‘Driven to Glory.’ In it, you play a driver plucked from nowhere as you climb the ranks to race for a team that is facing extinction. It mixes real-life actors and gameplay in its cutscenes. Never does it feel jarring or out of place. The actors are good enough to make you feel like a part of the narrative. Marcus is the struggling boss of Seneca Racing. Ajeet Singh is a gifted mechanic who uses his skill to make sure you get the best results. Other characters like Nate McKane and his father, Ryan, have interesting stories and help to flesh out the rivalries you face while playing through it.
It isn’t the most gripping of stories, and there’re a fair few clichés. However, it’s enjoyable enough to make you want to succeed and complete each chapter’s challenge. Everything from finishing in a specific position to keeping up with teammates become the objectives to progress to the next story beat. Driven to Glory never outstays its welcome. It blends impressive digital technology and fun gameplay to stand out against stories seen in other racers.
Arcade racing done right
When it comes to the racing itself, GRID Legends feels wonderful. The wide selection of cars and classes feel different to control, but none are difficult to learn. Some may take more time to master, but Codemasters‘ focus on arcade over simulation is welcome. Electric cars glide smoothly across the track, while rally cars growl as the engine revs down the straights. It’s a gorgeous looking game as well. So much detail has been put into every aspect of the vehicles, and the tracks themselves are also stunning to look at. The technology of the next-gen consoles bring the courses to life, regardless of the weather or time of day.
It’s a complete package. Not only is it a beautiful looking title, it handles superbly. Newcomers are going to get a lot out of it if there’s any apprehension going in. GRID Legends doesn’t treat rookies disrespectfully. It aims to welcome every skill level with a wide range of options to be implemented. When you start to pick it up, options can be tweaked further. As you improve, removing certain aids allows you to get more out of it. There’s always a challenge to overcome, and part of the fun is its use of the Nemesis system.
GRID Legends: Find your nemesis
During races, you make enemies. Once the alert pops up that a fellow racer is now your nemesis, the action ramps up. Not only is your goal to get the highest position possible, it’s also to avoid being clipped or rushed off the road. On higher difficulties, this system becomes more apparent. Constant tussles mean cars will get in close proximity of you, and it can be catastrophic if you do take a big knock. There are certain skills you can unlock for your teammates that’ll allow them to try and nudge nemesis. Teammate Development and Mechanic Development skill trees also have other skills that can be unlocked as you build your race level. Abilities ranging from teammates racing better in wet weather and sponsorship money being increased can be unlocked.
Outside of the story, you can take part in a career spanning various disciplines, cars, and courses. Starting off in the rookie division, you can go from semi-pro to pro, then take on The Gauntlet. There are tons of races to complete, ranging from single rounds to three. Trucks, minis, GT, and Touring Cars are just some of the various classes. By earning GRID coins through successfully completing objectives, you can unlock new cars. It offers a pleasant progression through the career and gives you personal goals to achieve. Career mode is very much a repetitive process, but the increase in difficulty and race types makes it fun to play through.
Customise your course
For those of you who want to create your own rules, the Race Creator is perfect. By choosing different modifiers (boosts or ramps); location and track; drivers; weather and time of day; and more, you can create custom races just for you. Cross-play lets you try out other player’s courses, or you can upload your own if you wish. It allows ridiculous match-ups to be made, with variables that have plenty of levels of customisation to try out.
Regardless of the race, GRID Legends feels amazing to play. From the start of the race to the end, the thrills never end. It welcomes newcomers with its arcade style of race, and has plenty of variables in the settings for those hardcore racers. Driven to Glory is a great addition if a little obvious. The Career Mode offers plenty of progression and opportunities to earn coins to buy new cars. The Race Creator has some legs, but it might not appeal to those who enjoy adding bends, ramps, and straights in specific positions instead of pre-selected tracks. It’s a beautiful and stylish racer than many will spend tons of hours taking in the sights and having a great time behind the wheel of loads of vehicles.
Driven to Glory doesn't outstay its welcome
Plenty to do
Great selection of cars
Race Creator holds back some design choices
The story is a bit cliched and obvious