Mediocre... disappointing since I can see a lot of work did go into it. Overall score of the game 6/10.
MAP / WORLD:
Huge! There's a lot of copypasta, but this isn't a big deal since the world is still effectively very large, and the game would be 300GB if they had different textures and houses in every part of the game world. Diverse landscape and a lot of open road (and off-road) to explore.10/10 on the game world.
Mixed bag here. There are a variety of vehicles, but the selection isn't that large. Customization is a bit weird... rather than having a lot of depth to the parts you can put in your car, you basically just get higher "level" parts by completing events. It's a bit awkward but you get used to it, just would be cool to have some more specifications on parts and controlled-customization beyond a higher level with a boost to a certain stat.
The gap between vehicles from upgrades isn't very large. Perhaps this is a good thing in some degree, but in a PVP round my level 400ish car wasn't that far behind the drivers with level 1299 cars. It seems the biggest difference comes from the stats baked into the cars (some have really terrible handling, and that will not
change with any amount of upgrades... some accelerate really slowly, and always will, etc.)
Visual customization isn't very significant. Paint jobs cost more than some new cars. wot
There are a few classes of cars and they just feel really limiting in terms of what you're able to do with them:
STREET - Good for street and nothing else.
DIRT - Mediocre on street, poor off-road, good on dirt roads.
PERFORMANCE - Good for street and nothing else.
RAID - Good for off-roading and dirt roads, poor on street.
CIRCUIT - Good for street and nothing else.
Off-road performance still isn't that good with the cars designed for it, and bumps and hills off-road still cause your car to do flips, crash, and slide out of control. The different street-like cars are all designed for the same situation, some just do it better. Circuit > Performance > Street. In-game they say Circuit has an advanced handling profile, but to be honest all 3 of these seem to have similar braking and turning performance.
Overall on the topic of vehicles I would give 7/10.
Not very good. It's hard to describe exactly what it is, but the cars handle very poorly. They don't grip the road that well, every turn is very wide and often ends up in a drift/skid, and it takes a LONG time to come out of a turn. The cars seem to have too much innertia and it almost feels like they steer from the back.
Sometimes your car also gets snagged on invisible walls, or in spite of having decent sized wheels and suspension clipping a curb causes you to go flying. When you lose control of your car from being hit, your car goes sliding across the street or down a hill and it takes a long time to stop spinning and regain control.
Some types of cars seem to not benefit much from boost/nitrous. Street class cars honestly seem to accelerate at the exact same speed with and without boost... for this type of vehicle the boost only really becomes useful after you get to near max speed, but this doesn't happen often since you need to slow down a lot for turns due to how poorly cars take turns.
Off-roading is a nightmare even in the cars designed for it. Takes ages to turn, your car slides out of control very easily, and every time you go off a jump (which there is no avoiding in a lot of the missions in the late-game) your car will smash into the ground at unsavory angles causing you to lose a lot of your speed and sometimes flip out of control. It also takes a very long time to accelerate off-road.Score for physics/gameplay I would give 4/10.
STORYLINE / MISSIONS
The storyline isn't insanely captivating and the missions aren't very interesting... but that's okay because it's a driving/racing game and I bought it to drive and race. I've never played a driving/racing game and this is the only one that I've even remembered the chain of events by the end of the game. Underwhelming plotline, but it's not a big deal. The dialogue is terrible though.
There are a few types of missions: Races, Point-to-Point Time Trial, Escape, Takedown, and Shipment.
Races and Point-to-Points are fun and pretty well designed. You get better rewards from races the more time you spend in 1st place and the faster your overall time is. You get better rewards from Point-to-Points the better your time is. Straight-forward and the difficulty is spot on according to your car level.
Escapes and Takedowns are downright frustrating. The mechaincs for taking down other vehicles suck. You spend most of your time in Takedowns accelerating to match their speed just so you can hit them for about <20% of their health... and hitting them slows you down substantially or even causes you to spin out of control. In Escapes you get swarmed by enemies who ram you to make you lose control or drive in front of you bringing you to an instant halt. When you get stopped, you have about 2 seconds before they capture you... better hope they aren't behind you preventing you from backing up from the guy in front of you, or you lose. Your only chance on Escape missions is to drive around the city since you accelerate faster, but they have higher top speed. Off-roading and driving on highways is useless as they will keep spawning, outrun you, and a helicopter will be above you.
Side-missions or skills are fun. They test your ability to maintain speed, handle your car, off-road, jump, escape, etc. These are scattered all over and are one of the best ways to level up your cars. Good performance in these will net you good upgrades for your car.
Biggest problem here (beyond physics) is the discrepancy in difficulty. Races are good difficulty, Point-to-Points are too easy, Escapes/Takedowns are way too hard.I give the missions and storyline a 6/10.
Overall I'm a bit disappointed with the game. The game world is beautiful, massive and the concept of an MMO racer is good. Decently executed progression, but ends up feeling more like an ordinary racing game. I'm guessing years went into building the game world and a lot of the game... then it feels like after all that work they just stopped short and didn't improve the car handling (biggest problem with the game) and didn't fully flesh out the multiplayer aspect.
The game needs improved multiplayer interaction in freeroam, better car grip, and cars need to come out of turns faster. Optimization isn't too bad, I can maintain 60 fps with a GTX 760... but I can play GRID 2 at 150 FPS so there's room for improvement.
I wish they had spent less time/money on cutscenes and a bit more on the physics and multiplayer gameplay. Great idea, beautiful world, poor execution. I recommend the game if you get it on sale. Not worth $60 in its current state.