GRID is back on our screens with an excellent story mode and intense racing action.
Driven to Glory sees you been given the opportunity to race for Senaca Racing to go up against the undisputed champions Ravenswest. The story is told via a series of interviews and fly on the wall cut scenes as part of a sports documentary. All of the actors are filmed against digital backdrops much like how The Mandalorian was filmed.
All of the actors do a good job of playing their parts, your teammate is a driven winner that has high expectations of everyone, while Nathan McKane plays the cocky daddy’s boy as Ravenwest’s Number One driver, fans of older GRID games will recognise the McKanes as AI opponents of yesteryear.
Of course there is plenty of racing to be done using a big array of vehicles across a series of different events. Each race has an objective to meet to be able to move across the 36 chapters of the story. It took me about 6 hours to complete.
All of the XP and credits earned can be used in the main career of the game, the credits can be used to purchase new vehicles and to develop your teammate and mechanics. You can upgrade your teammate across three groups, Race Strategy, Team Synergy and Racing Knowledge. Improving these will help you out on the track as they are less prone to mistakes and respond to team commands more efficiently. Improving your mechanics stats leads to cheaper upgrades and repairs and more opportunities from sponsors. Your sponsors will set you objectives such as driving certain distances in a specific class of car or performing well in events, this will lead to XP and cash rewards that can be spent on your team.
The racing is excellent, the cars all feel great and bring their own unique characteristics, for example when racing in trucks you can feel the suspension straining as you go round corners but once you hit the straights you can really feel the power of the engine kick in, electric cars feel like they are gliding around the track while classic touring cars feel rough and ready as you smash into your opponents. The AI responds to your driving style through the nemesis system, clean racing won’t cause you any issues but bump an opponent too many times and you cause them to become a nemesis. They’ll take any opportunity to push you aside and give you a tougher race.
I particularly enjoyed the randomness of cars breaking down in a plume of smoke, or seeing tyres randomly come loose and race off away from their owners cars, occasionally you’ll also see cars flip in bigger crashes. It probably happens too often but it adds a layer of excitement to the game while you are racing.
The game looks brilliant running at 120hz, gameplay is smooth and the weather effects all looked fantastic. The circuits based around the world were all interesting to race, the crowd taking photos mixed in with the fireworks greeting you at the finish line really helped with the immersion. The thing I enjoyed most was the empathic soundtrack that reacted to your racing, when things were going smoothly the score was intense and pushed you along. If you crashed, the music would become dull and and would need to build up again. It reminded me of Split Second, the Disney racing game from 2010.
I really enjoyed jumping into the social side of GRID Legends, you can jump straight into a quick race, search for a session or create your own. Depending on the time of day you may only find yourself racing against a few human racers but the game bolsters the lobby with AI and quickly swaps as more people join the races.
GRID Legends is a welcome return of the GRID series, the documentary style story mode was excellent while the racing and presentation worked really well. Despite big hitters like Forza Horizon and Gran Turismo 7 available for racing fans, there should be plenty of room for GRID Legends to part of your library.
GRID Legends is an excellent racer with a good story mode and excellent career and multiplayer offering. There is a great range of vehicles and race modes to enjoy matched by the excellent presentation thorughout.