Grid Legends story mode: 10 hours of racing and live action scenes

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Gate legends, launching in February, will be Codemasters’ second crack in a Netflix-style story mode, capitalizing on the widespread interest in F1: Drive to survive, whose fourth season is expected to air soon. Last year, the racing game specialists delivered “Braking Point”, a story campaign for F1 2021 which, while lacking a lot of replay value, was genuinely engaging and hits the kind of story beats that make Drive to survive to success.

The challenge before Grid Legends’ “Driven to Glory” is about achieving the same thing with a fictional racing league where the viewer has no context or expectation outside of the game. Drive to survive is a story of rivalries, after all, and fans understand the baggage teams and drivers bring to every race. The Grid World Series, an intriguing, multi-class world tour, gets the fly-on-the-wall documentary treatment similar to Drive to survivebut this format works best when the viewer is familiar with the topics covered.

That’s not to say the story is boring; it’s just hard to sort out what’s really eating up all the characters in Driven to Glory. The mode is a typical rising superstar tale, with the player at the center of attention. Driven to Glory spans 36 races, most of which begin with a two- or three-minute full-motion cinematic in mixed reality, the method The Mandalorian made famous. Ncuti Gatwa (Netflix) Sex education) is the biggest star, as jovial antagonist Valentin Manzi, who races for rising rival team Voltz. The player is the second pilot of the Seneca team, a private team managed by Marcus Ado (Miles Yekinni). Your teammate is Yume Tanaka, who is moderately cooperative but mostly aloof with you, the new kid on the block. And there lurks Team Ravenwest, the class of the peloton, in search of their sixth Grid World Series championship.

The story held my attention, but its fun doesn’t replace the racing action. In this regard, let me revise an earlier review I made to Grid Legends premiering in November. The jerking and swerving when the third-person camera accentuates every gear change seems to have been modulated. Or, I don’t know, I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed two months ago and once I saw the displacement effect, I couldn’t see it. But the build I was given smoothed things out nicely, and I felt like I hit my braking points and peaks more naturally.

That’s good, because Driven to Glory deserves to be played on a higher difficulty, especially if you’re a more experienced driver. It’s not worth following the story if you blow up every event easily. After my first two runs, I put Driven to Glory on expert difficulty, one rung below the hardest difficulty, with traction control and stability assist turned off. I finished the next 10 events hitting my target right on the first try. This means that if I was asked to finish fifth, I achieved that goal; if I needed to beat Yume, I did so with a point-blank pass in the final sector.

AI balance was also better in Driven to Glory than in the standard career events I participated in in November. Also, on the harder difficulties, it made me pay more attention to how I set up the car based on the simplified setting options. Grid Legends gives you. Longer gears are needed for the Renault Laguna touring car to take advantage of the huge straights that line the Mount Panorama circuit in Australia, for example. And in Dubai, a street circuit where the track is wider, I stiffened the suspension to favor overtaking in the corners, because I wouldn’t take a lot of curbs or bumps.

Driven to Glory appears to offer around 10 hours of gameplay, and when that’s done, progress is made through the longer, multi-season career mode, with no narrative cutscenes. I don’t know if that means Manzi and Yume will be part of the pack in the main career, but I hope so. I got a sense of the style, strength, and weakness of these and other AI drivers, though some of the mistakes they made on the track felt a bit scripted.

The Nemesis system shown in November also seemed a little more meaningful when applied to the pilots featured in the story. Basically, a Nemesis-triggered driver is going to make you run a lot harder and dirtier, probably because you ran into them or ran into them against a wall. In a chapter of Driven to Glory, Manzi starts out in Nemesis Mode, and you have to stay away from him. On his first chance to pass me, Manzi pushed me into a tire barrier instead, even though it cost him a few places to do so. I enjoyed being worth so much spite.

Valentin Manzi (Ncuti Gatwa) is the player’s first major rival in the 36-race story mode Drive to Glory.
Image: Codemasters/Electronic Arts

Generally Grid Legends looks a lot stronger than what I tinkered with at the end of 2021. Driven to Glory, which relies heavily on explanatory dialogue, probably won’t captivate you like this F1: drive to survive Is it that. But Codemasters still deserves credit for producing a live show, complete with the props and set design that necessarily demand it. More importantly, I felt more in control of Grid Legends‘high performance cars, competing in events designed for pack racing, where crashing into other drivers at every turn would feel cheap and inauthentic. Grid Legends it feels like he has a respectable challenge and the tools to meet it now.

Grid Legends launching February 25 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC (via Origin and Steam), Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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