The name does it no favours at all. Back when the first Grid launched, it had the Race Driver appendage, marking it out as a successor of sorts to Codemasters’ long-running, much-loved series, itself with foundations in the even more beloved brace of TOCA games for the original PlayStation. This, though, was a more fantastical take on motorsport, with a few extra bulges under the bonnet and an American twang that only became even more pronounced with 2013’s disappointing sequel – a sort of Michael Bay does motorsport affair that never really seemed sure of what exactly it wanted to be.
Quick-fire follow-up Grid Autosport made a decent if understandably modest attempt to return the series to its roots. And now, five years later we have this, the plainly monikered Grid. What, exactly, is it? A remake? A reboot? Or something else entirely? In fact, it’s something much more straightforward, and much more satisfying than any of the murkiness around that name might suggest. This is, quite simply, a return to the kind of elbows-out arcade racing that’s been almost entirely absent this generation, and it’s delivered with a level of finesse and flair of a studio that’s rediscovered its A-game and a little more besides. 2019’s Grid is a fine, fine thing.
There are a few misgivings to overcome before you find yourself at that conclusion, though. Compared to its predecessor, this can feel like a slim thing. Maybe it’s because the old bombast has been toned down for the front-end. After all the dazzle of the original Grid’s virtual garage this new one is merely functional, and it doesn’t offer up much either. To call it functional is generous, too – play through the lattice of events, split across various motorsport tiers, and to manage your team and recruit drivers you’ll have to head all the way out to a screen that’s, for some unfathomable reason, kept separate from the career menu.