- Game: GRID
- Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC, Google Stadia
- Publisher: Codemasters
- Developer: Codemasters
A GRID review code was provided by the publisher.
2014 marked the last time gearhead gamers got to drift across the track in a GRID release. GRID Autosport was a tightly tuned racing game that gave its ardent fanbase a solid entry in Codemasters’ ongoing franchise. The long wait for the series’ reboot may have been a painful endeavor, but it was all worth it. GRID 2019’s resurgence should be welcomed with open arms – Codemasters has done an admirable job at making sure its marquee racing franchise stands at the top of the genre podium.
The main pull of this year’s GRID and past entries in the series is the extensive Career Mode. Once again, your racing efforts are spread out across several vehicle disciplines that put you behind the wheel of different cars. Choosing a team to support while having to meet seasonal and sponsor-based objectives is no longer a factor here, which may be an issue for some. But keeping your focus on a single team for the remainder of your career streamlines things in a positive way. Your main concerns now entail hiring efficient racers that are a benefit to your team and performing at the highest level during each type of competition. You’ll find yourself getting more and more invested in your team’s performance as you hire professionals who complement your playstyle during each race. The team element put in place here is one of GRID’s finest features.
Once you make your way onto the track, you’ll immediately come to appreciate the new vehicle handling model, which allows you to make all sorts of adjustments that give you a simulation feel or more casual arcade experience. GRID gives you a wealth of car classes to tinker around and plenty of fun events to participate in. Each event hosts an international locale to race across, all of which look simply amazing. The game’s bevy of circuit, street track, and point to point races are intense and thankfully look gorgeous in the daytime and nighttime settings. GRID’s debut on current-gen consoles is a visual triumph – all the tracks look impressive, the car damage is definitely noticeable and the sense of speed can be seen and felt in equal measure.
What’s most shocking about this year’s arrival of GRID is a newly added system that’s surprisingly been taken from a non-racing game. Anyone who’s dabbled in Middle-earth: Shadow of War will instantly recognize this reboot’s take on the “Nemesis System.” This mechanic does a great job of creating dynamic events during hotly contested races and making you change up your approach on the race track. As you crash into other racers, you’ll slowly turn them into a rival that will go out of their way to shove you off the track and get ahead of you at every turn. GRID’s version of the Nemesis System is implemented in the best way possible – it creates epic moments thanks to a dynamic AI and even changing weather patterns.
Longtime fans will be disappointed to learn that the vehicle customization system has once again been relegated to messing around with a car’s outer details and nothing else. Having the option to tinker around with your purchased vehicle’s liveries is cool and all, but the absence of car tuning options is disappointing. Adding a new car to your lineup and only having the ability to alter its livery is far too simple for a racer that’s amazingly deep in other areas. The follow-up to this game is in dire need of a mechanic that allows you to switch up your car’s rims, body kits, spoilers, engine, etc.
The return of GRID is largely a success. The racing itself stays fun throughout thanks to a clever Nemesis System, a nice variety of car classes and events that’ll keep you busy for months on end and a revised car handling model that caters to both types of racing game fans. The thrill of zipping across each track alongside your teammate as you outrun your most hated rivals and push your way to the front of the pack never loses its luster. However, the lack of a more extensive car customization system is still a sore spot. Even still, 2019’s GRID revival manages to be one of the better racing games on the market today.
Our GRID Review Score: 8.75 out of 10