Written by: Lars Erik Ødegaard
GRID won the best racing game award on Gamescom this year. One of the new Codebreaker game had to compete with the latest title in the Need for Speed series. I had the opportunity to test the game hands-on, and have a chat with Chris Smith, the game developer, to find out what made this game so special!
From the very beginning of the talk, it was clear that Chris LOVES this game. He told me that he would play the game himself in his free time, after having worked with it 10 hours straight, so that is a good sign. The three things they’ve chosen to focus on in the new Grid game is:
- Accessibility & Choice
- Unpredictable motorsport racing
- Rewards and progression
Chris realizes that not everyone has a couple of hours every day they can/want to play the game. And he wants to make the entirety of the game to be available for the casual gameplay. To unlock the final stages, you just have to finish 4 of 6 “Champions”. And of course, all routes and cars will be available for multiplayer, even if you just bought the game. As for the car and maps selections, there are plenty to choose from. Customization is available as well to make the cars personal for you.
The main message from his talk was that they wanted to put the drama back into the game. And how did they go about achieving this? First, they realized that the game has to be unpredictable, and a lot of “randomness” is put into the game. This randomness can include the AI’s cars to break down or lose control of the vehicle. They do not really want the AI’s to feel like AI’s. They have trained the AI’s to have different personalities, with different weaknesses and strengths. But as you and I might have good or bad days, the AI’s that’s usually is less good at driving might have a fantastic day, and the good ones might have bad days. Another effort to bring more drama to the game was to introduce the “nemesis”-mechanics. If you crash into the AI’s it can activate the nemesis mechanics (All AI’s have different tolerance). The AI now want to beat you, at any cost. The skill level of the AI is now increased at it is highly motivated, it might be more willing to initiate car on car contact, and they even might take bad racing lines just to block you! Chris was also eager to tell that the nemesis system was activated between the AI’s as well, so you can witness rivalries between the two oppositions as you play.
I personally have little to none experience with racing games. I often find their gameplay itself boring, and repetitive. I got to test three different routes with three different cars, all with varying difficulty. I like that the choices of difficulty and possibilities to turn on and off assistance make the game to be beatable, or challenging for anyone. In one of the races, I tried to cut the corner by bouncing off the opposition and activated the nemesis system. I can’t say that I noticed a big difference in the playing style of my nemesis. It might be because I played on a too low difficulty (normal), and was able to get too far ahead. Anyway, I can’t say I noticed anything special that makes this game stand out from all the others, but at least it was fun.
GRID will arrive on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC 11th of October 2019.