Analysis of GRID, a racing arcade that places special emphasis on the most aggressive competition

Written by Kamran Haider

GRID returns by simplifying its name, but offering a multidisciplinary game, which tries to mix the competition with the aggressiveness of its AI in races around the world. What is the end result? We check it in his analysis.

It is true that the artificial intelligence of driving games has always been taken for granted, as something unalterable that competition should offer without disturbing too much. Some games, for example, the Forza Motorsport saga, wanted to give it a bit more prominence with those derivatives, but in general, its function has always been to mark our times and positions until the coveted first place. GRID tries something different. Take advantage of that aggressiveness that is allowed in the arcade slopes and return it with all its strength with a system that makes the rivals true declared enemies of the player.

Dare to bump into one of these pilots and you will have it sworn for the remainder of the race. Even a notification will appear on the menu indicating that you have a new nemesis. It is a good way to generate a penalty in the player, without resorting to the serious formula of a simulator to punish with extra time. However, this feature decides the fate of GRID, which although it is promoted as a multidisciplinary video game, ranging from the most casual arcade to a competent simulator, never ends up leaving the first field, ranging from a very accessible experience to a good measure, but without becoming realistic.

Creating nemesis during races is practically mandatory since GRID forms that grid where you always start in the last position and your mission is to climb to the top spot. Due to the few laps required for this goal, we always have to push our way. Nothing happens, the game is presented with an introductory sequence in which it makes clear that sparks are going to jump here, windshields will break and damage the chassis. It has a very good side, and it is that finally, all these mechanical damages have a meaning (it is difficult for a simulator to add value if you are going to restart the race to get a good time or directly withdraw to the minimum carelessness).

Try to be challenging, but also permissive with the player’s mistakes.

If you look too hard, you can advance positions, but also have problems with the performance of the vehicle and it is in that dynamic where the game gets to shine more. It also has a less positive side, and that is that artificial intelligence will often take you off the track whether you like it or not. Even without generating a new nemesis, there are countless times that they have collided with us (the classic blow in the corner) diverting our trajectory and ending in the gutter without we can do anything to remedy it or even be to blame for it. Which makes us depend more than ever on the rewind function to correct this destination.

If you have this clear, you can enjoy GRID in the same way that we have always done it with many arcades, since it tries to be challenging, but also permissive with the player’s mistakes. To do this, I would recommend raising the difficulty to Difficult, since from the Middle down it becomes a game of impossible decaffeinated physics and without charisma, while from a traction and stability control of 3 to 0 you can start to feel that the car responds consistently to your actions. Do not expect a fabulous representation of the physics of the wheels or the behavior of gravitational forces either, but you can start tuning the triggers to brake in time or avoid oversteer, for example, giving a better feeling to the controls and a more sense competitive to the work of Codemasters.clash of styles

I GRID, clash of styles

With this configuration, I have felt more comfortable behind the wheel and have better understood the balance between aggressive driving and the expertise offered by the new GRID. Even so, I continue to detect that much of what happens on the track is resolved again in that mare magnum that forms in the first curves that precede the starting grid, when shocks are practically inevitable if you want to get out of the chaos of Bodies before your career head escapes and you run out of time to recover positions.

Because arriving in the first place is the only thing that favors the rise of this World Series offered by GRID because their championships are only formed by races and the occasional time trial with scheduled departures. There is no penalty, as I say, in this row between vehicles, only if you try to get ready and cut the curve. Everything to reach the top of each of the disciplines that the videogame handles, divided into a series of tournaments with categories of Touring, Stock, Tuner, GT, Invitational or Fernando Alonso Challenge , protected by the famous competitor of Formula 1 which leads us to tour the circuits with these fast cars, the most different of the entire squad of vehicles.

It is appreciated that in the arcade panorama dominated by the proposals of open world, a game returns to the classic menus and closed competitions

The vehicle classes are divided in turn into various types, from the GT, cars, series cars, historical, Muscle and Supermodified that leave a good range of brands and models among which are some such as the Audi R8, Porsche 911 RSR, Ferrari 488 GTE, the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, the Dodge Challenger, the Ford GT40 and Mustang GT, and the Pontiac Firebird, among others that form a list of 60 in total. It also does not fall too short on circuits, since it comprises a sum of 12 differentiated regions which in turn is divided into 80 different routes. Although the climatic conditions and times of the day give variety, throughout the 108 races, however, some repetition can be noticed in some tracks quickly parade through the screen, since they also do not seek to repeat again and again the tests until you improve your performance in each of them.

For its part, the EGO Engine in its third version once again demonstrates that it is a very solvent engine. It stands out above all for its fluidity in the races offered by a smooth job to reach sixty frames per second, with exceptions at those times where almost 16 vehicles competing in the same race come together and can lead to very pronounced slowdowns in those specific circumstances It is surprising, however, the work achieved not only with some of the official circuits, with that everlasting Brands Hatch, but those recreated in cities like Shanghai or Barcelona,with a faithful recreation of the most representative architectural elements of each city (the Shanghai Tower or the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Sagrada Familia or the Monumental Bullring). The version we have tested leaves us with some small failures, for example, the mirrors in the case of Formula cars, whose mirror is “flying” when the vehicle is deformed by a blow. It would also be appreciated that some notifications that warn us of having created a new nemesis or of our running times were located on one side of the screen instead of the center, where the visibility of the track makes it difficult for us.

For its part, the multiplayer for a total of up to 16 players is divided into simple quick and private game modes, but with enough options to configure parameters such as category, damage, and even rewind. It has a curious waiting minigame were to get behind the wheel of a Jupiter Eagleray Mk5 and unleash your creativity, compete or goat against the rest of the participants. Just don’t expect championship modalities or rigid competition and penalty tables. The spirit of the GRID of the way for a player is transferred in the same way to this aspect online.

It is appreciated that in the arcade scene dominated by open-world proposals such as Forza Horizon 4 or The Crew 2, a game returns to the classic menus and closed competitions. GRID seeks to deal with the conflict between the somewhat more serious competition and the aggressive nature of some driving games. Although it succeeds, the balance tends to a more casual than a competitive proposal, but without the debauchery of some of the seriousness and finesse behind the wheel of others. That eclecticism can attract a lot or leave some players cold, while for the rest the result keeps the same fun that has always accompanied the saga.

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GRID seeks its place in a grid of driving games that increasingly want to differentiate themselves from each other. An eclectic proposal, which wants to please everyone and therefore may not deepen any particular field. It is appreciated to drive his multiple cars and highlights a dynamic artificial intelligence, which is enraged and rivals the player. The result is a fun and aggressive arcade as few remain today.

  • Very dynamic and fierce careers.
  • Interesting ideas regarding the artificial intelligence of the rivals.
  • The main game mode lacks some identity
  • More modalities are missing than competing in aggressive races.

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Kamran Haider

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