In 2019 for the first time in almost a decade Microsoft elected not to release a Forza game. Forza Motorsport 8 will most likely be a Xbox Series X launch title out later this year. In 2019 Codemasters picked the perfect time to release a reboot of their own track based racer, GRID.
This rebooted GRID released in the last quarter of 2019 and I’ve been playing it steadily since I picked it up over my holidays. So far in the 20+ hours I’ve played I have a good time with this racer and think if you are after a decent arcade track based racer GRID is a good place to start.
There a two different types of versions available – and both of these have been around since launch. GRID Standard Edition (initially what I had purchased) to be completely frank is pretty bare bones. There are half a dozen different disciplines with about 14 racing championships each. These disciplines range from GT Racing, Open Wheel F1 type racing, Stock Car, Touring and Modified. To be fair I haven’t finished progressing through all of this career mode but I am roughly half way. Compared to a lot of other track based racers the tracks it is quite small. There are 13 (14 if you count Season 1’s addition) different tracks, with a combined total of 80+ layouts.
The other one available is GRID Ultimate Edition that provides more cars and three extra seasons (one is already out, and two more still to come). This version does feel more complete and rounds out the game a bit more (with the inclusion of Hot Hatches and another track in Season 1). Personally I think the Standard Edition is not worth the full game price and Codemasters should have just provided all the content in the Ultimate Edition from the get go.
The graphics and sound are superb. One option on PC I really like is you can enable dynamic resolution. This means you can set all the graphic options to maximum and if the game doesn’t hit the target frame rate it will adjust the resolution accordingly. I wish more games had this functionality. Graphically this game is right up there, and all of the cars have full detail cockpits (front and back). The sound is punchy and for those with Dolby Atmos support (like I have) it really adds to the immersion.
The AI powering the other drivers is excellent. This makes for some very tight racing. During the race you can advise your crew chief (using different commands during the race to talk to your AI team mate driver. For example if you are in front and your team mate is in second place, you can request he or she hold their position to try and help protect your lead. Depending on their loyalty skill, they will either accept or deny your request. Each AI driver has a defined set of attributes and is specialist to a type of discipline. You can hire different drivers to help make winning easier.
Smash into your AI teammate or another car on the grid, either by accident or on purpose will mean that they can become your nemesis for the race (any driver on the grid can). In some of my races I ran into my AI team (usually late to brake) and it is entertaining to have your crew chief tell you that your team mate has turned their radio off (ie is ignoring all requests from the pit crew). This “Nemesis” system is actually very well done and it does mean for some very close, aggressive and exciting racing.
There seems to be some good support with post patches too, and recently Codemasters has provided some additional multiplayer options. One point about multiplayer I really like (Forza Motorsport 7 doesn’t have this) is you can elect to have AI racers in your multiplayer matches. I think this is essential for those who want to have private matches but still have a full grid.
GRID (2019) is a decent arcade track based racer. If you are wanting something that isn’t F1 or DIRT Rally then I’d recommend picking this game up. Indeed I would recommend getting the Ultimate Edition on sale as that version includes the new content still to be released with Seasons two and three. I do hope Codemasters continues to release more tracks and provide more variety with the subsequent seasons.
Available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. Reviewed on PC.
Stock images used.