Review: GRID Ultimate Edition (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC
  • Stadia

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: GRID Ultimate Edition
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (38.7 GB)
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Codemasters, Inc.
Developer: Codemasters
Original MSRP: $84.99 (US), £74.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Once I went through a dramatic opening, I was treated to a menu of all the race events available in the game, and there are a lot. Sadly, this doesn’t correlate to the number of tracks, even with all of their variants. So don’t get your hopes up when first gazing upon the Career screen.

Gameplay:
In each race, I am judged on Speed, Bravery, and Technique. I generally do okay and gain a nice amount of experience, although Technique seems to be the harshest category, especially if I’m in first place during the entire race. I guess sticking to the racing line and achieving the best lap time doesn’t count for much when accumulating experience points.

I issue commands via the directional pad to my race engineer (voiced by Christopher Dane) who then relays them to my teammate on the track. Unless I’ve hired a person with the correct discipline and great stats, I start to feel like a midwife, constantly asking them to ‘push’. Some drivers often refuse my request. For example, my teammate was behind me in second place and constantly declined my request to ‘defend’, after the eighth request they agreed but the race was almost over so it didn’t matter anyway.

The teammate’s achievements don’t count towards the accolades or experience, just some extra money in the bank, depending on their cut. Sometimes I don’t bother with them and just get on with winning races.

I could either fight my way to the front of the pack in each race or do the Hot Lap Qualifying and get the best time and therefore the best starting position. My teammate copied whatever I did and so tended to be near me when the lights turned green. Starting at the back allows me to rack up some Technique Experience, which is nice. Plus, it’s always fun to barge elegantly maneuver my way to the front.

The controls in GRID are great and perfectly suited for the more casual arcade racer. Until you get behind the wheel of the Porsche 935, nicknamed Moby Dick, that beast takes some taming. I didn’t bother trying it with a wheel as my T150 is packed away for the time being.

There is a myriad of Accolades to be won when leveling up, with loads of Banner and Panel Images to collect, giving a nice place to show off the best ones. All of these are buried in the Player Profile menu along with the Team Driver selection and Garage. I think you might agree, the menu isn’t the best and could do with more thought.

Fernando Alonso worked for Codemasters as a Race Consultant and even has a variety of events in the Career mode, which you’ll have to complete if you want the Platinum Trophy. I haven’t changed the difficulty from the standard-setting and seem to be breezing through the game with only the last one or two events in each discipline offering a modicum of challenge.

Visuals:
So, apart from the bland and strange menu arrangement, I must say GRID is a beautiful game. The cars look fantastic, both outside and in. The scenery is superb and lovingly detailed. I have always loved the rain effects in a Codemasters game and this one doesn’t disappoint, although nothing has beaten Driveclub.

Shanghai, Havana, and San Francisco are but a few of the locations featured in the game and each one looks stunning, even on an overcast day. The rain isn’t just for show. Although I can hardly notice a difference, all of the A.I. drivers seem to be more cautious when the heavens open.

Audio:
At first, I enjoyed the introductory commentary before each race from Kristen (Taryn Ryan) and Alex (Derek Miller). I also liked the way I could interrupt their banter and hear Alex react by cutting off Kristen as the countdown began.

However, there isn’t enough variety and so the remarks soon become irritating. The engine sounds and crowd noises are great and I soon forget about the two commentators.

Online/Multiplayer:
Before a recent and much-needed update there were just two choices with regard to the online mode, a Quick and Private Match. There was no way of setting up a lobby for random online players to join, and the game would pick the tracks and vehicle category.

Since the update, I can browse available lobbies and create my own. I still have to put up with the crazy players who slam both our cars into the nearest wall in the hope of ruining my chances of staying in the race and just getting a decent position across the line. I would say to try and stick with just friends but this game seems to ignite the destructive tendencies in us all.

Conclusion:
GRID is a good arcade racer with a solid foundation that sadly wasn’t built to offer a decent online experience or enough variety in terms of tracks. I’m very happy to see Codemasters added decent online options, especially the ability to view the lobbies.

Some will moan about the number of cars and tracks, with the latter being a small concern of mine. I still enjoyed the many hours I’ve put into the game. Because this originally wasn’t my review I took my time with it and only played a few events each day and enjoyed every minute.

GRID does many things right but it does have some flaws that spoil the overall experience. There is nothing but racing here, which isn’t a problem as Codemasters knows what they’re doing in that department. However, the teammate just becomes another hindrance, the menus are bland and seem to hide away the things I want, and the announcers are irritating.

The controls are great and I’m even considering going for the Platinum, which isn’t something I bother with if I’m not having fun. I’m glad I got the Ultimate Edition, as the new Season Pass content definitely helps to bring me back every so often.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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