After several years spent in the shadows, Codemasters have finally resurrected Race Driver: GRID. Well, just GRID this time. But still, GRID is back, and there's adequate cause for excitement. Codemasters have, after all, presided over several highly acclaimed racing games over the last two console generations, and while the sequel to 2008's GRID wasn't particularly well received, the first still retains a strong following.
So, how does the reboot weigh up? Well there's good and bad. For all that Codemasters excel when it comes nailing the driving mechanics in their new GRID reboot, the title on the whole lacks depth. The career mode, while still enjoyable, doesn't feel as intricate as its 2008 predecessor, which allowed players to compete for sponsorships as they built their own brand across the course of several racing disciplines.
Speaking of disciplines, all of them are back for the 2019 version - and all feel different enough to keep things varied - but without the added thrust of really having ownership over your own racing team as you did in the 2008 version (which had the garage integrated into the main menu), it feels as though Codemasters have missed an opportunity to really build upon what made the first game so unique.
That said, for all that career mode feels ever so slightly underwhelming, GRID 2019's gameplay is still just as good as ever. Codemasters have really nailed the blend between arcade-style action and the more considered simulation seen in the studio's other works, such as DiRT Rally and F1, and it comes together really well as you mix and match various disciplines and cars to beat the competition.
The addition of nemeses - where other drivers will retaliate if you're too aggressive towards them - is also a neat touch, although it never persists to the point where players can really build their own stories from their tussles with the AI. Still, the game also never really gives players time to dwell on that either, as they'll be too busy admiring just how good the presentation is. GRID's vehicles and locations are all stunning to look at (even if the relative lack of content available at launch is a drawback), and when taken with the nemesis AI, can really make certain events feel all the more absorbing.
All that said, GRID doesn't quite pack enough of a wallop to be considered one of the great racing games of the last console generation.
It's on the cusp of something fantastic, but it doesn't quite hit the heights the first game did just over a decade ago.