Aiming to take back Pole…
After the slightly mixed reviews of DiRT 5 at the launch of the new consoles, Codemasters are back doing what they do best once again with GRID Legends. Having recently been acquired by EA, the hope is that we’ll see them expanding the scope of their titles, and if the early build of Grid Legends is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat.
We got access to a PC version of GRID Legends, and out of the gate, it looks absolutely fantastic. Native 4K visuals with impressive frame rates. Some stunning environments and weather effects add to the appeal, and vehicle models are treated with the same care and attention that you expect from Codemasters.
The build we had access to provided a few modes to play around with, including a superb race editor, allowing you to craft custom challenges for other players, and cross play means you can push things off to everyone who’s playing the game to enjoy! It’s fun and straightforward enough to get things down, and you can create some very interesting ideas quite quickly, and I’d love to see what the community brings, as my creativity is far surpassed by the vast majority of the audience!
The most important thing, however, is how the game is on the track. And, thankfully, it’s excellent. Obviously its roots are in the simulation camp, but you can pick up and play with ease. Difficulty curves aren’t too punishing either, meaning that you can stay competitive without dropping things down to the easiest levels and crushing everyone in your path. Most of the tracks that we tried out (there will be 22 in total when it releases) had an almost perfect combination of sweeping bends, lengthy straights and tight corners, which will make you want to jump on your brakes like Peppa Pig in a muddy puddle, before careening into the crash barriers and contemplating your life choices. In addition to this, you can make enemies mid-race. If you accidentally find yourself bumper-deep in someone’s boot, they’ll notice and make your life difficult until you cross the finish line. I was having a really good race at one point, when someone that I’d shunted while braking for the first corner crept up behind me, clipped the back of my car as I started to turn, and ended up facing the wrong way, pushing me back to 19th place.
One thing that’s changed up from the (still pretty great) 2019 release is a new story mode. Featuring Ncuti Gatwa (the excellent Eric in Sex Education), it looks to be a much more serious take on a story mode than the ill-fated FMV heavy Need for Speed title from a few years back. We didn’t have much in the way of playable stuff for this, but it definitely looks promising from the snippets that we’ve seen. This isn’t at the expense of a career mode either, as there is a typical progression style career which will see you competing in a number of different race modes, my particular favourite being the Eliminator, which sees you try and get to first as the back of the field slowly get booted out of the race. It leads to some tense moments as you start to edge up to the front of the pack with the timer running down!
Overall, GRID Legends is shaping up to be a solid entry in the franchise, pulling everything from the previous titles and bringing in a new story mode which looks like it could be superb. Add to that an increased 22 players on the starting grid and you can be sure there’ll be plenty to enjoy when the game releases late next month.