YouTube has officially banned me from live streaming, and it’s all thanks to The Grand Tour Game, which is out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This game contains such an insane amount of high-quality Grand Tour video content that you’ll be flagged for copyright and banned almost immediately from YouTube if you try to live stream it. But banning aside, is this game really worthy of your time and your money? Well, that depends.
Before we get started, I think there are a few things you need to know about this game, and the first is that The Grand Tour Game is an arcade-style racing experience. So if you go into this expecting Gran Turismo or Forza style levels of realism or customisation, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Secondly, The Grand Tour Game is actually quite cheap. The exact price will depend on your region, but here in Australia it costs $22.95 – or about 1/5th the price of AAA-grade titles. So let’s lower our expectations to suit, and take a look at what this game has to offer.
So the basic idea behind The Grand Tour Game is that it takes episodes of The Grand Tour and then divides them into “scenes”. As of right now, there are currently two episodes available – ‘The Holy Trinity’ from Season 1, and ‘ ‘ from Season 2. Once you’ve selected an episode, you can either play through the whole thing in order or select a particular scene. If we look at the list of scenes here, you can see that pretty much every driving sequence from ‘The Holy Trinity’ is now a scene. The intro where the boys arrive at the tent driving Mustangs, the Holy Trinity Hypercars in Portugal, and the introduction of the Eboladrome – they’re all here. And you sort of flow through the episode from scene to scene with high-quality video from The Grand Tour spliced in between. I actually really like how this has been done – as you’re never really stuck looking at a static loading screen. You can also skip through the video sequences if you’re impatient, and move onto the next scene once it has finished loading in the background.
Now I’m not going to go through everything single thing in The Grand Tour Game, but let’s talk about the things I liked and also what I think could be done better.
The things I like about The Grand Tour Game is firstly – presentation – it’s perfectly matched to The Grand Tour show and the graphics, in general, are quite nice. The cars themselves are beautifully detailed, sound good and all handle in their own unique way. The tracks and locations available so far also look pretty impressive and are faithful to how they appear on the show, for the most part. The driving scenes too, have a good degree of difficulty so that you probably won’t be hitting gold on the first attempt. And the fact that Amazon will be releasing new episodes weekly will also add to the longevity of the game. It’s a casual experience for sure, but you can’t deny how cool it is being able to take part in one of your favourite shows.
But there are also a few downsides which I think are important to mention. The first relates to the individual driving scenes within each episode. Because they following the show’s format so closely, most of them are actually quite short. The first scene in ‘The Holy Trinity’ for instance is over in just 40 seconds, and most of the other scenes typically involve a single lap around a race track – in either a drift or time-based challenge, setting a time or racing another presenter down a particular length of road, or drag racing. Whatever happened in that episode is exactly what you’ll be doing here – and nothing more. Whether you think this is a good or a bad thing is really up to you.
Secondly, I’ve noticed in scenes when you’re racing one of the other presenters, their car appears to follow a predetermined racing line and displays the same behaviour every time you retry the scene. This means that you’ll find yourself being bullied off the road occasionally and that your presence has pretty much no effect on what they’re doing. They’ll grind up against you in corners and if you have a crash you’ll be left in their wake as they speed off to the finish line. In one particular scene, I often found Clarkson would take the lead after the first corner and create a bit of a gap, and that I’d always claw it back fairly quickly towards the end. And no matter how many times I replayed it the same thing would happen.
Next, I want to single out what they’ve done to the Eboladrome – and that is they’ve put a line of barriers all the way down the middle of the track. So you’re left with two narrow lanes which make it harder to race cleanly or perform proper drifts. I really think this could have worked without barriers, perhaps with arrow signs in the appropriate areas directing players where to go. Or at least give us the option to turn them off.
And lastly, I think there is a question mark over the replayability of The Grand Tour Game. In exactly the same way that I only ever watched episodes of The Grand Tour once, playing through each driving scene once was also enough for me – although I’m sure perfectionists will want to go back and win gold on every single one. But with new content being released weekly, this might not be a very big issue.
So is The Grand Tour Game worth buying? For fans of the show, I think the answer is definitely yes – you should. It’s a bloody cheap game, and one that has been built well and ties in beautifully with the show. I mean I’ve had meals which cost more than this game and were far less enjoyable. But for those who somehow don’t like The Grand Tour and have not a lot of interest in the show, there are definitely better arcade racers out there.
If you have any questions or thoughts about The Grand Tour Game let me know in the comments below.