With the release of GRID Legends just around the corner, we got a chance to try out the online multiplayer. During a hands-on preview event based on a near-final build of the PC game, we played a variety of game modes and racing disciplines from Trophy Truck racing to Drift Battles.
One of the new standout features is what Codemasters calls “hop-in multiplayer.” Put simply, this could be a game-changer for online racing.
Hop-in multiplayer gets you straight into the action
In most racing games, you join a lobby to enter an online race. Except you don't spend a lot of time actually racing. Before you can race, you have to aimlessly wait in the lobby until the event is over. Not so in GRID Legends.
If an online race is less than 60-per cent complete, you can “hop in” to an event with your friends mid-race and take control of a randomly selected AI driver. Of course, this doesn’t work if a race is already full.
In our hands-on, this process was swift and seamless, putting us straight into the action without having to wait in a lobby. Typically, the AI car we took over was in 20th place, so we didn’t gain an advantage. It’s a smart feature that perfectly suits the pick-up-and-play nature of an arcade racer like GRID Legends.
GRID Legends online multiplayer modes
While Codemasters is promoting the drama-filled Driven to Glory story mode with lavish live-action cut scenes inspired by Drive to Survive, it’s ultimately the multiplayer mode that will keep you coming back. When it comes to hosting online races in GRID Legends, there are “millions” of combinations thanks to the Race Creator.
With the Race Creator, players can host multi-class races with options to change the weather, time of day, and add ramps and boost gates, creating some exciting races.
There’s a huge variety of multiplayer game modes too, including Elimination, Circuit Race, Mult-Class, and Drift events, as well as a broad range of racing disciplines. In one online race, you might race touring cars. In the next, you might compete in stadium trucks or single seaters. It’s up to you.
Thanks to their instant torque and rapid acceleration, we particularly enjoyed taming the new Electric class cars, while the stadium trucks were a handful to drive. This resulted in some crazy metal-crunching pileups as players struggled to keep the bouncy trucks under control on the tight street circuit.
Drift Battle could prove to be one of the most addictive multiplayer modes in GRID Legends. Returning to GRID Legends for the first time since GRID Autosport, Drift Battles turn all players into ghost cars to prevent contact. It makes sense in a mode that’s all about precision driving. Points are awarded for holding drifts while sliding as close as you can to designated cones. Battling for the high score before the time runs out is nail-bitingly intense.
You can enjoy over an hour of GRID Legends online multiplayer gameplay in our preview video below.
Thanks to its versatile Race Creator, seamless hop-in multiplayer, and close, chaotic racing action, GRID Legends is shaping up to deliver engrossing and enjoyable online racing experience.
With cross-platform support across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, we're hoping players will keep racing online in GRID Legends for a long time.
GRID Legends release date
GRID Legends releases on 25 February for PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.