In our editorial office, someone recently described GRID Legends as “the last hope of fictional racing with a good career”. No wonder that when I found out about the show of this title, I detached myself for a moment from Forza Horizon 5 and spent an hour with curiosity with the creators of the new GRID.
What I heard filled me with a certain optimism. Although the creators have not shown any major bits of the plot or cutscenes (these were made as live-action with – in part – a star cast), the vision of a “netflix experience” can fill you with optimism. Especially people who are fed up with racing on the one hand, in which the whole scenario revolves around “beat everyone in the city”, and on the other hand, completely open sandboxes like Forza Horizon.
The plot includes over 200 races, each calculated for an average of four minutes. That was the answer to the question about the length of the campaign – 13 hours of the competition itself, plus, of course, the cutscenes. We’ll probably shut up in 20 hours.
What is worrying, in turn, is the decision to completely deprive the main character of his personality. Our driver’s name is … the driver. It has no gender and no voice. The creators motivate the decision by inclusiveness and fears that giving the protagonist some features will make people who do not identify with them feel excluded. My concern is how the developers will combine the “netflix experience” with a completely impersonal hero, as I should probably write that. Series is usually associated with supporting specific characters. I am eager to see how it turned out …
… because unfortunately the build that we received after the presentation is only 12 quick races, selected from different stages of the campaign. Fortunately, the creators tried to diversify, so in each of the events we drive a different class of vehicles, and on the way we can admire both returning from previous scenes locations as well as completely new ones.
The greatest joy is that the artificial intelligence of our opponents is still at a high level. Already in GRID 2019, the system called Nemesis meant that more was happening on the track than in other racing cars. Now, it is also joined by random events that will cause one opponent to explode a tire, and another – possibly even a favorite – to spin the top of a corner.
Driving mechanics are still looking for the golden mean between simulation and arcade. GRID has never tried to be a full-fledged simulator, but more of an arcade game with elements that were taken from the simulation. And you still feel it. Cars are easy to drive, but you can’t allow yourself too much – you can feel their weight and grip, and braking before bends is almost always mandatory. Hitting walls straight from the Need for Speed series will not pass here.
What else do we know? We will not see performance tuning of our vehicles in the game. The pool of cars available in single and multiplayer modes is also common. You won’t have to “farm” cars to be able to race online.
It is impossible not to get the impression that GRID Legends is an attempt to salvage the slightly average version of 2019, which in my memory also stuck at best as a bland. The driving model has been refined without making major changes, new maps and routes have been added to them, the categories of races known from previous editions have been restored and the work on the campaign has been hired, among others. writer of Ghost of Tsushima. People with experience in netflix series worked on the implementation. A strange mixture and I will be happy to see what will come out of it.
The premiere of GRID Legends at the end of February 2022. A hot period full of big releases. Is this a good time? Some people will want to take a break from Forzy Horizon, others will be impatient for the launch of Gran Turismo. Both of these groups will be able to try new races from Codemasters.