Grid Legends Review – IGN

The venerable Gran Turismo 7 isn’t the only racing game to be released in the next week or so with a history dating back to 1997; indeed, the first seedlings of Grid Legends sprouted in the same year with retro racing royalty TOCA Touring Cars on PC and the original PlayStation. Exploring this 25-year history for inspiration and re-drawing some long-forgotten characters, Codemasters has turned Grid Legends into the 2019 sequel to Grid. As well as TOCA Race Driver in 2002, when the studio first added a story to the series. The lively documentary approach of Grid Legends is very different from the primitive PS2 cutscenes in the groundbreaking TOCA Race Driver, but I enjoy watching the story unfold even if the action on the track hasn’t changed dramatically from grid 2019.

The Grid Legends Driven to Glory story mode is a little different from the one Codemasters debuted in F1 2021 last year; Grid Legends presents the story as a sports documentary rather than a standard drama. The ebb and flow of the fictional, world-traveling, interdisciplinary Grid Championship are contextualized through one-on-one interviews with the characters, as well as other moments as the film crew slips into garages, VIP areas, and hovering around the paddock. It’s more Netflix’s Drive to Survival than Sylvester Stallone’s Drive, and it’s probably the better of the two.

The live presentation was put together using a mixed reality process that puts real actors on fully digital backdrops, similar to the much-discussed technique used on The Mandalorian, and it actually worked pretty well. It’s certainly an old-school solution – and it’s reminiscent of the so-called cutting-edge FMVs that the gaming industry excitedly filled CDs with back in the ’90s – but while it’s an unusual approach, Driven to Glory is both clever and good an edited package that was done mostly without cheating.

It’s a simple story – unconventional upstart team Seneca Racing aims to upset the ruthless champions of Ravenwest – but it’s effective enough, even if I find it a little inappropriate to see Seneca as a beggarly underdog when their garage is crammed with tens of millions of rarely used racing equipment. I would also be lying if I said I buy all of these actors as trustworthy racers, but the acting is decent and overall serious. Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa is particularly interesting as the playful Rwandan-Scottish racing driver Valentin Manzi, although his appearance is limited. The villainous McCain duo overdoes Driven to Glory tokens a bit, though admittedly there’s nothing more memorable here than Command & Conquer: Red Alert-era Tim Curry declaring his intent to escape into outer space. However, the official reintroduction of the McKanes is a sweet touch for me as a long-time fan; It’s nice to see the retired TOCA rider-turned-Ryan hero again after two decades. It’s also nice to finally see the face of his nephew Nathan, the longtime AI foe from the Grid series that’s been terrorizing us on the track since 2008 certainly won’t spoil the late, Cobra Kai-Esque reveal here.

City’s legends

The curated set of 36 events in Driven to Glory took me about seven hours to complete, and it ultimately served as a springboard for the broader core career mode. Grid Legends breaks its career mode into chunks rather than displaying all of the available events on one screen as Grid 2019 does, which is a neater and more traditional approach to a racing game’s career. On the other hand, I felt a bit more limited this time around with some event types being accidentally blocked after unrelated others had completed. There’s more to do off the track, sponsorship goals to pick and reach, and power-ups to buy for your teammate and mechanic, but Grid Legends is still spinning elsewhere. Unlocking new images for my team logo or pre-made livery designs just isn’t exciting when the creative tools in the likes of Need for Speed, Forza, and even Hot Wheels are light years ahead.

On the track, Grid Legends also sometimes struggles to be completely different from Grid 2019 – which is especially noticeable when I raced the same races in the same cars on the same set of tapes that may have been overused in the previous game. However, the number of tracks offered in Grid Legends has increased significantly from the limited set in 2019, with established tracks such as Suzuka and Mount Panorama joining the roster once again, along with a slew of new urban street circuits from London, Moscow, Paris, etc. The new urban tracks are filled with the same bizarre fireworks effects and thick crowds as Grid 2019, but the layouts are a little vanilla, lacking prominent corners or sectors that would make me remember the name of one track instead of another.

The Greatest Racing Games of All Time

Another thing that subtly differentiates this grid from the previous one is a few tweaks that returning players are likely to notice. AI’s propensity for performance errors and mishaps has been greatly increased, meaning it’s now common to see opponents in front crash off the track with punctures or get off the race track with their cars spewing white smoke. It happens too often to be considered realistic, but I like it and it adds a bit of interesting unpredictability to the races that Grid’s seasoned but more relaxed rivals often lack.

It has now become common to watch the competitors in front go off the track due to punctures or go off the race track as their cars spew white smoke.

Speaking of rivals, the 2019 Grid retaliation system is back and honed to make your rivalry on the track last longer than the remaining duration of a single race. While Grid 2019’s archenemies will resent you after the checkered flag, if you rough up the AI ​​too much in Grid Legends, their dismay will carry over into the next race and beyond. This hyperbolic kind of high-contact racing tends to be so aggressive by default that it wasn’t always clear to me how much angrier my enemies were than usual, but I love the tension when they’re clearly trying to get past me. Reducing the AI ​​Driver Grid Legends field pool in 22-car grids also means you’ll see the same names more often; yes, they are just faceless AIs, but they quickly became familiar to me, especially the ones that I most often upset.

Top of the multiclass

But other than that, Grid Legends looks, sounds, and feels much the same as its predecessor cars grip tight, brake hard, and shrug off serious crashes with contempt. This can be a problem without additional helpers, but Grid Legends is by no means a simulation – it’s a much more accessible arcade-style racing game at its core. That doesn’t mean all cars handle the same, though: classic British touring cars still feel like they’re being pulled by their front wheels, high-downforce open-wheel cars dig into the pavement, and stadium super trucks spin as long as they won’t fall repeatedly pushing through corners on three wheels.

These stadium super truck races and their ramps are one of the new developments in Grid Legends, and the racing they provide is chaotic and interesting. Grid Legends also brings back the drift mode from Grid Autosport, but what I enjoyed the most was the intense new multi-class racing. These competitions involve cars of different classes, with the faster ones losing due to start delays. The slower cars have to stay ahead long enough to reach the end, and the faster cars have to track them down before they run out of laps. I found myself spending a lot of time creating matches in the Grid Legends race editor, which is very user-friendly and allows us to save and edit our favorite custom races. To be honest, I would be happy if all racing games had this kind of work with multi-class racing.

They should probably also use Grid Legends’ smart multiplayer mode, which works by always filling AI races to the 22-player limit and allowing new human drivers to take over a random AI driver while the race continues. Other players can even take part in your career races if you choose to let them in, although I found this a bit of a frustrating way to play a career because it puts you in a persistent online state where the luxuries of singleplayer like pause or quick reload unavailable even if you are the only one playing at the moment. In practice, however, hop-in works surprisingly well in Grid Legends’ low-stakes, hard-hitting multiplayer environment. If you end up last, how many places can you compensate? If you go closer to the front, can you keep a good score? In any case, it’s better than sitting in the lobby with the gear lever in hand. During testing, the multiplayer worked very well for me and showed very few sync glitches despite racing from Australia against players from the UK, US, and who knows where else.

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