GRID Legends Review

Richard Walker

It's easy to forget that the original GRID started out as an instalment of TOCA Race Driver (which was itself a TOCA Touring Cars spin-off), under the full title 'Race Driver: GRID'. Perhaps unsurprisingly, GRID Legends returns to the series' narrative-driven roots, where 2019's GRID, and GRID Autosport before it, dispensed entirely with any vestiges of a storyline. And while we can't say with confidence that we really missed GRID's story component all that much, it's nonetheless a welcome distraction in GRID Legends.

Just one of the cars you'll drive as ‘Driver 22’.

If you're interested, Legends' narrative is thus: you are 'Driver 22', a new hotshot racing talent recruited by ailing team Seneca Racing, the brainchild of prodigious owner Marcus Ado. With the team on the brink of ruin, and rival teams Voltz Racing and Ravenwest breathing down your neck, there's drama in the paddocks, and you're an observer as it all unfolds in a slightly odd, live-action documentary style. Talking heads and behind-the-scenes footage frame the succession of races, as you progress from the status of upstart, looking to prove yourself, to prospective champion, looking to take on Ravenwest's brash American racing star, and five-time champion, Nathan McKane, head-on in a bitter rivalry.

Grudges form with each race, and any opponents you rub up the wrong way will become a Nemesis who you'll need to keep a close eye on. If all of this sounds like fun - and indeed, I enjoyed GRID Legends 'Driven to Glory' narrative while it lasted – then great: you'll have a blast bounding from race to race and blowing your rivals out of the water. Conversely, if you couldn't give a toss about the story and its live-action cut-scenes, you'll be happy to learn that it's all easily skipped, so you can simply focus upon the business of driving and winning.

Outside of the story, there are more than 250 Career events to work your way through, and with Story mode offering a good cross-section of GRID Legends' various racing disciplines, it's a great primer to prepare you for the long haul in Career mode. Happily, developer Codemasters has created another wonderfully accessible and absorbing racing experience, which makes the proposition of tackling so many races less daunting, and, rather, something to be relished. From GT racing to open wheel events, races in trophy trucks and big rigs, Legends has a lot to offer, and the wealth of race types ensures there's solid variety across the board.

Between Story and Career modes, you'll accumulate currency to spend on new vehicles, as well as teammate upgrades, permanent boosts to earnings, discounts on vehicles, and so forth, alongside upgrades to your cars unlocked in three ascending tiers, as you chalk up mileage milestones. Story gives you prescribed cars, so upgrades don't come into the equation, which makes Career the more detailed and in-depth option. You can also head into the Race Creator and set your own parameters – circuit, weather, time of day, cars, race type, and so on – making for nigh-infinite replayability.

But Career mode is really where it's at in terms of single-player – it's where you'll find GRID Legends' longevity, race events encompassing multiple rounds and all of the racing disciplines the game has to offer. GRID Legends' handling is also predictably excellent, every bit as intuitive, tight and responsive as any of Codies' racing titles, with the usual array of settings and assists to toggle on and off according to your own exacting preferences. Flashbacks return, too, so a slip or error can be easily rectified with a quick stab of a button, although you can only have a few at a time, so no abusing the Flashback button – you at least have to be a little bit careful.


You'll have no such luxuries when playing online, of course (online, Flashbacks merely plonk you back on the track), as you compete as one racer in a full grid of 22, all jostling for the lead, any gaps filled by AI rivals prone to making errors and aggressively pushing you to the track's margins. It all runs smoothly, too, matchmaking getting you into an event relatively quickly, while allowing you to spectate an ongoing race as you wait to join in. Online options are fairly rudimentary, from entering a simple Quick Race to searching for a specific session or starting one yourself. It's rather straightforward stuff – nothing to really write home about – but it serves its purpose well enough.

A fairly barebones online offering does little to detract from the sheer quality of GRID Legends. The Story mode may only be fleetingly enjoyable, with nothing to warrant playing it again once it's finished, but the Career mode and Race Creator will keep you playing for countless hours, tearing up the asphalt in stunning venues like San Francisco, London, Havana, Paris, Shanghai, and Moscow. Jaw-dropping visuals (racing in the rain is especially breathtaking) are the icing on the cake, especially on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Like DIRT 5, GRID Legends is another exciting and moreish Codemasters racer - the more you play it, the better it gets.

GRID Legends

While DIRT 5 and F1 2021 remain Codemasters' best racing games to date, GRID Legends runs a very close second, with an enjoyably daft Story mode, absorbing Career, and a wealth of options to fiddle with. Driven to Glory, indeed.

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I must confess, while the music accompanying races is fine, I soon decided to switch it off and listened to other stuff instead. Engine noises and effects are great, though, so be sure to leave those turned on.


Sometimes, GRID Legends looks so good that the absence of a Photo Mode is utterly baffling. Consistently smooth and picturesque, Codies' latest is a sensational-looking racer, save for the very rare case of pop-in that's so minor, you'll barely notice it.


As pick-up-and-play easy and accessible, or as challenging, manual gearshifts switched on, no Flashbacks or assists, rock-hard as you like. GRID Legends has a plethora of options for tailoring the experience to your liking.


The 'Driven to Glory' storyline is throwaway fun while it lasts, but Career mode and the Race Creator have masses of longevity to spare. A rudimentary, no frills online suite isn't particularly exciting, but beyond that, this is a strong offering.


An improvement over the 2019 GRID list, this is nonetheless too heavy on the old grind, yet again. Ostensibly straightforward, there are some tasks in here that will take an absolute age to complete. We're not sure why there's always so much grinding required.

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