GRID may be a new game for 2019, but the name of this franchise goes back much further, stretching to 2006, or even as far back as the 1990’s if you include the TOCA games. This becomes evident when you play, as GRID’s first game since 2014 feels both modern and classic at the same time, incorporating the best of both worlds into one video game.
How accessible is it to new players?
Before RealSport were invited to play an early build of GRID at Codemasters back in the summer, I had never played any game in the TOCA series before. I was looking forward to the experience, but was somewhat apprehensive about this being my first experience of the series, you always ask yourself whether you’ll like it or not. Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, partly because the series is very user friendly to the new player.
READ MORE: Every car available in GRID
There’s a wide range of difficulty settings available to the player, more than I’ve seen in any current racing game, including F1 2019. For example, there are 6 available options for both ABS and Traction Control, F1 2019 has 5 total for both assists. The AI is challenging, I’m someone that races on almost max speed for most racing games, but I find myself on the medium speed for the competition.
That being said, for the inexperienced player, the easier difficulties will be appropriate, this isn’t an overly tough game if you don’t want it to be. The types of events are also very self-explanatory, you won’t be confused trying to figure out what you should be doing.
What does it offer experienced competitors?
Before picking up the game, I hadn’t bought a racing game outside of the F1 series since the eighth generation of consoles were introduced in 2013. I used to love playing the likes of Gran Turismo 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Burnout 3 when I was young, but things had moved on, I didn’t have as much time on my hands anymore. That was always the issue with racing games, I couldn’t commit to spending hours in one stint playing the game, but that isn’t a problem with GRID.
Game Director Chris Smith wanted to create a game that busy people can thoroughly play and enjoy. Races are short and action-packed, they rarely take up 10 minutes of your time, but they also form a narrative as rich and winding as a bout five times as long.
The fundamentals haven’t changed, though, you still compete across several racing categories to unlock the series’ finale and ultimately take part in the GRID World Series. For fans of the old GRID, this also means that the key ingredients of the formula they enjoyed racing remain intact.
However, unlike the previous games, such as 2014’s GRID Autosport, you don’t have to compete in all of the races to unlock the series, nor are you required to win every series finale to take part in the World Series.
Wheel or pad?
You don’t need a wheel to go fast on GRID. In fact, on a pad it can be easier to control a lot of the cars as GRID has a very tail-happy, sliding, handling model that can make wheel control rather tricky unless you are willing to spend hours learning to balance your throttle and steering input just right.
The experienced racers will have fun learning the nuances of each car, how the powerful GT’s bite hard on street circuits and the small single-seaters fly through corners. But for those that aren’t trying to lead time trial sheets or compete in esports GRID is the easiest game to pick up and play.
There is a setup option, but you don’t really need to mess with it, you aren’t going to struggle to make corners with the default setup on. On a pad you can still balance throttle enough to play with lower traction control settings and correct steering so you stay on the tarmac.
Gear shifting is, as always, a little awkward on a pad but you can still drive quickly in automatic. It doesn’t hold you in a gear too long to handicap automatic racers, which means you can still be successful on a pad if you really want to compete without putting together a racing rig.
READ MORE: Everything you need to know about GRID
GRID is the most accessible racing game of the year by far. It’s a no experience-necessary racer that rewards those who can pick their own braking points without hindering those that use the racing line assist.