Published on October 19th, 2019 | by Jason Eckhardt
GRID 2019 PC Review
Summary: If you are a fan of racing games or the GRID franchise, this would be a great addition to your library!
GRID 2019 is finally here and I have been racing across the land experiencing all of the fast paced action and bumper bumping. GRID 2019 is the latest installment in the GRID series but with Codemasters at the helm of development. Codemasters has been known to set the benchmarks for racing games with every single release. Here they continue to do this while also redefining the arcadesim racing genre.
Grid 2019 bring a mix of arcade and simulation racing to this mix with this edition of the game. There are plenty of opportunities to hard drift into turns while also speeding along the straightaways and open a gap. The cars all feel very fluid and unique. With over 50 cars at the time of writing this, there are plenty of options and play styles to do as you please. Each car has its own tuning and realism while presenting varying differences in each one. However, there is almost zero car modifications with the exception of tuning and very specific livery. That doesn’t mean there is a shortage in vehicle selection as there is everything from stock car racing all the way to formula 1 and everything in between.
The game sports 22 different raceable locations as well as several different weather settings. Many of the locations are real world tracks that include Barcelona, San Francisco, Shanghai, Havana, and the fictional Okutama circuit which is made for high speed, high stakes racing. Every track is simply beautiful. Along with each gorgeous track, there are plenty of gorgeous backgrounds. Each track has its own unique background. Some have fireworks, others have crumbling buildings, while some have giant redwood trees. All of the tracks usually have people at the finish lines or cheering in the stands. They will respond by flinching out of the way if you were to hit a wall or get into a crash very close to them.
AI in GRID is absolutely something else. GRID 2019 features an all new Nemesis system that punishes the players for being overly aggressive or crashing into a particular driver too many times. When a driver becomes your nemesis they will be marked with a red helmet over their vehicle and will start gunning for you. They gain increased speed when behind you and will even try to ram you into a wall. GRID also introduces a team based racing system that includes control over various teammates. Each teammate has a different driving style that may be more aggressive or defensive. You are able to control when they attack, then they defend, and can even become their nemesis. Most of the time the AI for your teammates is pretty non-responsive with only a small handful of responses. While this feels like something that is new and cool, you will eventually forget your teammate even exists.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test multiplayer at the time of writing this. It either simply wasn’t up or there were literally zero other players online to race against. I was very disappointed by this as I spent a ton of time playing GRID 2 with friends purely for the multiplayer. Racing against the ever stagnant AI is never really a pleasure after the first handful of wins.
Career mode was largely disappointing as you race on a literal grid. There are 7 different series or themes with 15 or so races in each where you have to do each segment to unlock the next. Usually a segment will consist of 1 to 4 races where you will hardly ever need to switch cars and race against the same drivers. Any nemesis that you make along the way will not carry over into the next race, even in the same series. Eventually you have them all unlocked after getting the requirements, usually 3rd place or better and will get to do the Fernando Alonso set. This set isn’t very different from the rest of the game. It just includes some formula 1 races and then you get to the end game. Each race awards you with money and experience to level up and unlock other teammates. This felt mostly worthless aside from the small monetary gains to unlock new vehicles. Your teammates will take a cut of you winnings depending on their percentages despite doing almost nothing of worth.
Graphically this game was beautiful, each car looked unique and visually stunning. The crash physics were also great sporting the ever wonderful crunch we look for when trying to inadvertently destroy each other. After every race you car still shows some damage like chipping in the paint that was just visually satisfying. The backgrounds for each track had their own specialty and differences in each weather type. This made the low number of tracks feel like there were more. The character models are well rendered despite there being an obvious number of cloned sprites in the close backgrounds. The water physics during the rain were by and far the most visually appealing I have seen in any game. Vehicle cockpits were beautifully rendered and detailed showing rises in RPMs when accelerating and gorgeous gear shifting.
Grid 2019 features a lot of awesome sounding engines and crash crunches. The wall scraps all sound ultra realistic as does the tire screeching. Each engine sounds unique and you can tell when there is a different car behind you. The games sound track felt non-existent as the game sounds drowned out most of it. I personally didn’t really mind this as I really enjoyed the immersion of being in the drivers seat. The background sounds were really well done with various things like crowds cheering or fireworks going off in the distance really set a racing ambiance. Hearing the power behind every engine was a real sensation as they felt stronger as you went up in class.
Ultimately this is a beautiful arcadesim racing game that provides just enough content to keep you entertained while not being overly complex. The story felt really short and repetitive but kept its simplistic identity. This is a great addition to the GRID franchise while hitting its marks despite some of the setbacks that I’m sure Codemasters will take care of. If you are a fan of racing games or the GRID franchise, this would be a great addition to your library.