We were able to get our hands on the racing game’s story mode and were pleasantly surprised. Find out here why there is still a bit of sand in the wheels.
Is that so ! In our first look at Grid Legends, we were still very skeptical about the ability of the latest addition to the series to restore it to its former glory. Then we were finally able to get our hands on the story campaign with a lot of publicity and now the chances of getting a very good arcade game have increased dramatically!
In this second preview, you’ll find out why a well-crafted story is exactly what Grid Legends has been missing so far, and what little pebbles are still wreaking havoc on the wheels of gaming enjoyment.
David versus Goliath in the pit lane
The starting point of our racing career is the Seneca Racing team, and more precisely its owner Marcus Ado. He is certainly passionate about his work, but he is far from being successful. While his first driver, the tough Yume Tanaka, still manages to keep up, the second driver consistently disappoints across the board. That’s why Team Leader Ado fires him without hesitation.
Pilot 22 then enters the scene : That’s us, because in Grid Legends there are unfortunately no custom names, let alone a real avatar that we can see. The helmet is always placed on the head with the visor closed, probably that the pilot 22 also showers with it.
Anyway, our new team leader is not interested in our personal hygiene, but in success in the prestigious Grid World Series. With every career event, we are presented with a new goal. Sometimes we have to win, sometimes finish before a rival or beat a given lap time.
In exchange, we receive rewards in the form of money and XP. Experience points allow us to increase our driver level, which gives us access to new racing series and new cars. The money, on the other hand, is used to buy expensive technical upgrades for our cars.
Thanks to the changing objectives, victory is not always necessary to progress in the career. This helps to vary the pleasures and boost motivation, so it’s a smart design decision. Unfortunately, the objectives are not very varied, we lost there a potential for even more variation.
Also, the races are so easy to master, at least in our preview, that even if we were to finish in the top 6, we would easily finish in first place. Granted, you can complicate your life with multiple AI difficulty levels and switchable driving aids, but it’s generally pretty easy to overtake opponents, especially around corners. Hopefully Codemasters will improve this by the time the game is released.
If you’re interested in other aspects of Grid Legends, aside from the story, you should also add our first look to your reading list. Here you’ll learn everything there is to know about expansive gameplay, drop-in multiplayer, and the exciting Nemesis system:
Grid Legends wants to shine where hardly any racing game succeeds
A telenovela for lead feet
But whoever clicks on a preview of Grid Legends wants to know one thing above all: What are the expensively produced intermediate sequences worth? After all, we even put well-known and capable actors like Ncuti Gatwa (Sex Education on Netflix) in the racing suit. But many fans fear that the small films are kitsch and especially that they cause shame.
Fortunately, we can now lift the alert. The cinematics impress with their attention to detail in the sets and the staging and have as many points in common with the cult and offbeat sequences of Command &; Conquer or Wing Commander as the ADAC Westfalen-Lippe vintage car cup with Formula 1.
And speaking of the premier category : Even compared to Netflix’s F1 documentary Drive to Survive, GRID Legends fares surprisingly well. All the participants are doing a more than decent job and there is a lot of racing atmosphere.
To convince yourself of this, watch the brand new trailer for the story mode:
Grid Legends wants to convince racing game fans with an elaborate story mode
The plot provides an interesting starting point and revolves primarily around our own careers, but is also closely tied to the rise of the Seneca stable. We’re a newcomer to the underdog team in crisis, which brings us directly emotionally closer to our garage guys and gals.
As the championship progresses, we should also be involved in important decisions and have a say in team management and car updates. But we have not yet been able to play enough to judge the depth of play of this management component.
Lots of potential, but still some sticking points
For the rest, things have evolved a lot since we were able to play it for the first time in December 2021. The sad menus of the time are certainly still menus, but they have a lot more allure thanks to an original music. rhythmic accompaniment and harmonious sound effects. The graphics also seem to have been improved, especially the lighting which sets off each scene in an impressive way.
As always, AI and driving physics. Those who activate more than the optical damage model in Grid Legends earn my respect. Because the opponents are still often so intransigent that I barely saw the finish line with mechanical damage.
These almost inevitable car shots are probably meant to force the thrilling rivalry system. On the one hand, that’s understandable, but on the other hand, I don’t want to constantly feel like I’m in a crash derby (but there are some in the game too!).
What’s also annoying is that when cornering AI colleagues like to pile up behind each other and slow them down like in a car wash so that a column forms that we just can’t overtake – unless we get the crowbar out again.
Grid Legends – View screenshots from the PC version!
When it comes to driving, cars still occasionally get abruptly glued to the strip at the slightest touch, but this now happens much less often. And even with driver aids completely off, like traction and stability control, it’s still sometimes difficult to position the rear of the car as you’d like for corner exit.
But hey, it’s an arcade game, and what matters most is action, speed and fun. And in all of these areas, Grid Legends can finally shine. The feeling of speed is excellent, the races are varied and some cars drive simply awe-inspiring. If the developers don’t have a tire that bursts on the last lap before launch on February 25, 2022, fans can expect a pretty good racing game!
Conclusion of the writing
To follow up on the conclusion of my first preview, here it is, the icing on the cake that finally makes Grid Legends an engaging gaming experience! The story mode definitely improves the overall experience and in all respects feels more cohesive than the rather boring individual races. This is due partly to the surprisingly good cinematic sequences, but also to the better presentation of the races and the changing objectives.
Just to be clear: You shouldn’t expect an Oscar-worthy performance from the actors, or the racing action of an almost spooky-style Forza Horizon 5. Despite all the improvements, Grid Legends is still a game where your engine has to warm up first before it clicks. Moreover, I still can’t get attached to the behavior of the cars.
However, there’s a better chance that Grid Legends will be the series’ best installment since Grid Autosport. As the latter disappointed, especially when it comes to solo career, Legends could even take the second step of the podium – but the 2008 original will remain in pole position.