The Grand Tour Game, the review

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Valery Aloyants
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The Grand Tour Game is one of the first products born from Amazon Game Studios, a team that the e-commerce giant founded with the aim of making its way into the vast and complex world of video games. Supercar enthusiasts will no doubt have heard of the roaring television trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May before. After abandoning the reins of the British program Top Gear in 2015, the cheerful buddies of skidding had the nice idea of ​​creating a brand new show entirely dedicated to motors. Obviously in their own way, catapulting the spectators to the four corners of the planet aboard dream cars, between unlikely tests and lightning-fast challenges filled with tons of gags and a rich collection of jokes in perfect "British" style.



On the other hand, the fulcrum of the broadcast consists precisely in the ability of the three histrionic presenters to pierce the screen without many frills, getting in tune with those who follow them comfortably from home. After the first two seasons, it aired on Amazon Prime Video in 2016 and 2017, in the last few days the first of fourteen appointments that will mark the third season of the show until 12 April 2019 debuted. The idea from which The Grand Tour Game was born is precisely to take the original video materials and sew around a video game that makes the guide sections present in each episode interactive. At least on paper, the idea would seem to reserve some interesting ideas, but how did the production turn out to be the proof of the facts? Let's find out in our review.


Episodic structure

For the moment the game offers three episodic packages that include the first episode of Season 1, the first episode of the 2 season and the first episode of 3 season. In this first phase The Grand Tour Game therefore offers a limited retrospective on the debut episodes of previous shows, evidently in an attempt to propose to the player some extra activities before moving on to the more current material. To begin this third ride, Clarkson, May and Hammond have left the city of Detroit, an old temple of engines that has now fallen into disgrace. In addition to running around the streets of the metropolis, the three ended up finding themselves in an old abandoned factory, transformed for the occasion into an unlikely race course aboard three exciting muscle cars. As we have said, the interactive structure of The Grand Tour Game is characterized by a high fragmentation, but this does not depend only on the temporal distribution of the proposed contents. Each portion of the film in which places, situations and "races" are introduced alternates with actual road tests: the only ones during which it is possible to actually take the path. The player is given the freedom to decide whether to slavishly skip the filmed and descriptive sections to go directly to the action, but this is a questionable choice in our opinion given that the competitions proposed in The Grand Tour Game have significant limitations. In short, it doesn't take much to realize that depriving the game of the program itself would make little sense; let's try to better understand why.



Arcade gameplay to the core, but the quality?

The Grand Tour Game offers gameplay based on five types of competition. Given the structure of the program, speed races cannot be missed, where the presenters try their hand at standing starts to compare the acceleration capabilities of each car over short distances. There are timed races, in which the three performers challenge each other to achieve the best test, but also those that simply require you to reach a certain score by accumulating points in drifting. The most unlikely category, however, is that of emotion races, in which all you have to do is drive at high speed and perform a whole series of maneuvers to fill an indicator that symbolizes the enthusiasm perceived by those behind the wheel. In these situations one is always involved in short-term game situations and with the presence of only one car on the track. The only category that leaves a little more space for competition is the one that includes competitions with the power-up activated. Along the lines of a Mario Kart or a Blur, the player takes to the track and can collect temporary upgrades for the car. Once activated, they end up affecting the performance of your vehicle or those of your opponents. We find rather classic solutions, such as the ONGOING to increase the speed of travel or the rear smoke able to obscure the view of those in the rear. Others, on the other hand, are very much in line with the sympathetic nature of the program, for example by sending sound disturbances or text messages to distract other drivers from driving.



Each of these short clips provides for the award of three medals (bronze, silver and gold) depending on the skill demonstrated. At the end of each package it is then possible to replay the individual racing events to try to earn gold in each category. In short, a lot of smoke and little roast, even if the limitation of the interaction is just one of the many problems that afflicts The Grand Tour Game. The main flaw that we have found lies precisely in the guidance system. If on the one hand the distinctly arcade setting given to the product is in line with the broadcast target, winking at the more casual user, the interaction turned out to be really too approximate and undoubtedly not in step with the times. Not to mention the almost non-existent vehicle physics. Suffice it to say that it is often enough to go to full speed by doing nothing but managing the drift when cornering. Braking and trajectories have practically no concrete relevance, so much so that in some cases even the fact of ending up or not against the barriers that delimit the path does not affect the final result too much. Indeed, it can even happen to do better times with this technique than when trying to drive wisely.

Collisions with other vehicles and parts of the scenario are also very small, which are tremendously artificial and very little up to the standards imposed by contemporary productions. Furthermore, the way in which some contents present in the bet 1 of Season 3. We refer in particular to the moment in which Clarkson goes to the Donington circuit to test the new McLaren Senna. This section was literally cut from the video game because apparently the assets needed to make it were not available. Yes, you read that correctly. The scene in question was then replaced with another test on the famous Eboladrome, where Richard Hammond tested himself with the McLaren 720S. It would then be appropriate to briefly mention another design choice that shows all its limits, namely the results of the races completed by the player compared to the results narrated from time to time in the broadcast. By completing tasks you get an objective that in many cases is disproved by the next cutscene. This is because predictably no one has bothered to involve those directly interested in a series of alternative videos that would cover all the possible variants, giving a minimum of overall coherence to the product.


Split-screen and graphic multiplayer modes

Alongside the single-player mode, which slavishly follows the episodes of the television series, The Grand Tour Game also offers a shy mode local multiplayer. There are two alternatives available: by selecting Duel it is possible to compete on one of the individual tracks unlocked following the completion of each episode, while by opting for Grand Prix you can engage in a group of races - always coming from single single player episodes - with a maximum of three other friends. At least for now there are no online features of any kind, not even simple ones leaderboard linked to times and scores. We found Amazon Game Studios' attempt to vary the contents to a minimum to make The Grand Tour Game a title usable in a group to be appreciable, but not even this portion of the game was able to convince us. And what about the graphics? From a technical point of view, the title is decidedly anonymous and moreover not without some problems. In addition to the aforementioned problems related to collisions, we have encountered frequent slowdowns in fluidity in some environments, with noticeable drops in frame rate that annoy not a little while driving.

Comment

Resources4Gaming.com

5.5

Readers (13)

6.9

Your vote

In the era of an arcade racing giant like Forza Horizon 4, playing a title as limited and perspective-less as The Grand Tour Game almost arouses tenderness. The episodes of the series let themselves be watched willingly and the trio formed by Clarkson, May and Hammond knows perfectly how to entertain their audience, but all this is certainly not enough to make us close both eyes in front of the numerous gaps that afflict the playful part.

PRO

  • Arcade setting consistent with the no-frills style of the broadcast ...
  • Local multiplayer up to 4 players
  • Five competition categories
AGAINST
  • ... but the vehicle physics and collision system are unsatisfactory
  • Very limited and in the long run repetitive races
  • Reduced longevity
  • Disparity between what happens in-game and the outcome narrated in the films
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