The fifth instalment of the Grid Racing franchise – GRID Legends is the latest from developers Codemasters and the first published by Electronic Arts. The original game Race Driver: GRID came out in 2008, followed by GRID 2 in 2013, GRID Autosport in 2014 and GRID in 2019. With the DNA of classics like Colin McRae: DIRT, 1 million people downloaded the Race Driver: GRID demo, so now how has GRID Legends grown?
Players returning to the GRID franchise will notice some familiar tracks and also many new ones, with a total of 22 that offer over 130 variations. Cities like Chicago, London, Moscow and Paris are a blast to drive around. GRID Legends also has a few famous tracks like Brands Hatch, Indianapolis Speedway, Bathurst and Sydney Motorsport Park. All are rendered nicely, all be it a tad arcade style looking, with great weather effects like blinding afternoon sunlight or pouring rain. Races can be in during the day or night, sunshine, rain and even snow. However it is disappointing thast these weather effects appear to be cosmetic only as hitting the snow on the edge of the track or a puddle does not effectively slow racers down or spin them out. Also assisting the player, is pressing Y that will allow the player to rewind their car a short way if they make a mistake like spinning out.
GRID’s story mode has made a bold move and with its narrative cutscenes playing out in full motion video. The player takes the driving seat as Number 22 a rookie driving for the struggling team ‘Senica Racing’ in the fictional Grid World Series for season 2021. The player faces initial adversary from your teammate and team rivals. The player will need to be careful on how they race with several vehicles at the player’s disposal, as being aggressive will cause the player to create nemesis’s of their opponents who will become aggressive and try to spin the out or bump them off the track. A feature well known from previous Grid titles. Unfortunately, the 36-chapter story takes not much over 4 hours to complete. It is great that the full motion video is well acted and fits well in the franchise.
Every race grants the player with prise money and experience points. As well as complete objective with certain tracks or cars which will unlock team logos, name plate backgrounds, cars and upgrades. The cars and upgrades can then be purchased, however if the player does not own a car for a certain race, they can loan the car with 50% of your winnings going in rent for the car.
Along with GRID’s new story mode is adding countless hours to the game are the familiar career, time attack and online modes. Career has the player work their way up from Rookie, Semi Pro and Pro, over 250 career events unlocking them as you progress. Across many different classes of vehicle including cars, stadium trucks, trucks, electric vehicles and more. There are weekly and monthly time attack objectives to complete and get the players name on the leader boards.
Online racing consists of up to 22 drivers, with the player being able to join hosted online lobbies or host their own with choosing the event location, conditions, and lap numbers. Players can also link up with friends, but random players will be able to join as time goes on and play more in the session. This is quite fun, and if there are not enough players the grid is filled with AI to make up the numbers.
GRID Legends is a game for those of all ages interested in racing arcade games with some simulation aspects. The story does explore themes of perseverance and triumph, with a bit of the bad guy versus good guy tone underlining the story. Overall, anyone in the family can play. Offline racing can also be paused to bring up the in-game menu at any time, allowing for that time out if parental duties call.