Grid (2019)

Grid (2019) is the 4th racing game in Codemasters’ Grid franchise. Better graphics, car damage and being easier to get into are some of the things Grid (2019) brings to the table. As fun as it is, the game is not very Grid like though.

Pros

Grid (2019) is more beginner friendly than the original Grid and Grid 2. There are variable driving assists, racing line guides and steering sensitivity adjustments that work for keyboard as well. For the experts, everything can be turned off and the AI difficulty increased.

The game sounds great. I don’t know how accurate the cars sound are, but everything in the game sounds great to me.

The graphics are beautiful, even on ultra-low settings. The cars, the environments and of course the damage all look superb.

In-car view is back and it looks wonderful.

Free play earns you money that can be used to buy cars for career mode. So, all racing contributes to progression. The con side of the coin is, only loan cars or cars you have purchased are available for use in free play.

Replays look good. The shaky cameras that were in Grid are not in Grid (2019), but there are many camera views that are too low (like Grid 2), so you hardly get to see the top of the car. There are enough nice camera views that make the replays enjoyable though, including the return of in-car views. Original Grid still has the edge in the replay department though. Here is a replay comparison video.

There is car tuning. Although not the most detailed like more accurate driving simulators, it does make a difference. I managed to tune a car to suit my driving, and it took me from always placing near last, to winning the race.

The Nemesis AI system is interesting, but it is also quite difficult to spot. In general the drivers seem to drive just like the original Grid and Grid 2. They will stick to the racing line and bump into you a lot. The only time I noticed a nemesis try to take me out is when I am trying to overtake on a straight section. He/she will veer to hit you. I can only guess they try the same thing during turns, but I just cannot spot it.

In addition to night driving from the previous Grid games, there is now driving at different times of the day and rain driving. There are fixed event races that require driving in different conditions, or you can select the conditions for free play. The handling for driving in the rain is not as slippery as I expected though.

Cons

I recommend anyone with a low spec or old PC to stay away from Grid (2019). There is a very nasty bug where car textures will appear blurry and progress to cars not appearing at all. At this point, the game stops loading and does not allow you to do anything. I could not even alt-F4 to quit. I always had to go to Task Manager and kill the GRID process manually. Sometimes, this would happen after a few races, but there have been many times where it would happen only after one race. Very, very annoying. Updating to the latest graphics drivers does not help with this. One workaround is to set texture quality to high. It may not work for everyone, but both ultra-high and high texture quality worked for me. Unfortunately, that means setting all other graphics settings to ultra-low for my 2016 PC.

When looking at cars to choose from, there are only three pieces of information: power, weight and drive type. No top-speed, no acceleration, no grip, no information that is more useful. I don’t know what on earth Codemasters was thinking. The original Grid had all these on display when buying cars. No excuse to leave them out.

There is multiplayer, but hardly anyone plays online. There are also no challenges like in Grid 2. Replays cannot be viewed or saved, so it is all about racing.

The Bathurst Mount Panorama Circuit is absent from Grid (2019). It is in Grid, Grid 2 and even though I have never played it, I know it is in Grid Autosport. It has already been in three Grid games, why can’t they put it in the 4th?

With some driving conditions, you don’t drive with lights on, and the road is simply too dark to see.

There is a graphical bug where rain can be seen inside some of the cars when looking backwards with interior view. Quite funny.

Other Points

The driving feels more realistic than Grid and Grid 2. This is speaking from the view point of a keyboard driver, so take this with a barrel of salt. There is no tire wear or pit stops, but you will lose control more easily than in the previous Grid games.

Earn money to buy cars for racing in different events, just like the first Grid. More Events can only be opened by completing objectives of available events, just like Grid 2. One departure from both games is the ability to loan one car for an event. You have to give 10% of your winnings for the loan, but at least you do not need to earn enough to buy a car before entering the event of your choice.

I don’t know where the talk about going “back to its roots” came from, because Grid (2019) is missing a lot of stuff that made Grid, Grid. Gone are the other racing varieties like drift, touge and 12 minutes of Le Mans. There is no choosing sponsors with attached objectives to try to earn that little bit of extra cash. The career story is not there at all. It is simply, here are the events, here is some money, go buy a car and race. There is some team management with hiring different team mates, but then it is back to winning races, unlocking events, buying more cars and racing some more. Grid(2019) feels more like just another racing game rather than a Grid game. I still think it is a good racing game, just not a Grid game.

Biases

I have only played the original Grid and Grid 2 before Grid (2019). As such, any comparisons are with those 2 Grid games only. It looks like I will never get to play Grid Autosport, so I will never no how that stacks up against the rest.

I played Grid (2019) with keyboard only and varied the AI difficulty between very easy, easy and medium.

I played mainly the single-player parts of the game with only a few multiplayer games. Looking at the number of events available, it looks like I am less than 10% through the single-player career.

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