The Grand Tour Game: A few Thoughts (Review)
The Grand Tour Game is an odd thing. Born from what seems like an attempt to cash in on a relatively lucrative programme available on Amazon Prime, while also testing out the public appeal of simple inexpensive games based around Amazon properties and developed by their own newly opened game studios. This is the first game Amazon Game Studios has developed for mainstream consoles, previous games have predominantly been released on the Amazon App Store.
At £11.99 The Grand Tour Game is cheaper than I expected but then again, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this game. Very little of it had been shown publicaly other than a few short clips published in the build up to the games release while also promoting the new season of The Grand Tour which premiered just 3 days afterwards. In that way the game can easily be seen as a publicity stunt to raise awareness and excitement for a new season of a show that has been absent for over a year now. A show that in my opinion while entertaining has been missing some of the magic that made Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May so captivating and entertaining on Top Gear for many years, perhaps the shift to ‘special episodes’ rather than full seasons will be a positive for the show (and something I advocated it being back when the show was first announced).
The format of the game is surprising in its own right, the single player aims to capture moments from the series so far and allow you to play through them as if it was you behind one of the wheels with the other presenters. The thing is these moments are not really moments, the single player is formulated into episodes. To be precise at launch there is one episode from each of the first two seasons of The Grand Tour. To play through these games is where the odd feelings begin. You do literally play through each driving scene of that particular episode interspersed with the actual footage from the episode as the next ‘scene’ loads. In essence it is an interactive episode of The Grand Tour, you get all the chat and talk from the presenters but as soon as it comes to car action then in you step. Some moments were more enjoyable than others and the addition of Gold, Silver and Bronze objectives help to add some objectives to what you are doing but none were particulary difficult to obtain. On first play through of the first episode I got all but 2 golds without trying, I then got those two last ones within 5 minutes of replaying.
The gameplay is ropey at best but it does still put a smile on my face, its an arcade racer. One that does not worry about physics and realise but reminds me of old ridge racer games on the playstation 1 or 2 where you essentially kept the accerlartion pressed throughout the whole race while only tapping the brake to help you drift through a turn (something that is very much part of The Grand Tour Game). A few locations add some gentle variety but the scenary leaves much to be desrired as a gaming experience.
The multiplayer allows you to select any vehicle from the single player and race against CPU or other people around locations from the show including The Grand Tour Track known as the ‘Ebola Drome’. In these times the poor controls show and when coming to sharper slower corners in some locations can cause a whole heap of problems to occur.
The key aspect for this game is that each episode of Season 3 will reportedly have its own tie in episode on the game. How much gameplay is in each of these awaits to be seen, based on episodes available now you will take between 40 and 60 minutes to complete an episode. The Grand Tour Game is best when driving at high speed in a daft scenario listening to the presenters talk (dialogue directly lifted from the show and put together in a reasonable enough manner) and when the gameplay is short and sweet, any longer and the realism of the low production value starts to show the many cracks in this game.
With the first episode of Season 3 releasing, we have been given a better glimpse at the true content of the game. The created environments from the show actually surprised me in authenticity, even if graphically poor. The old factory race circuit in particular felt very much like the place I had seen the trio racing around only an hour or so earlier when I watched the episode. A section involving a McLaren was somewhat infuriating due to the poor controls and more concerning is that this was a scene from Series 2 that had to be placed in as the McLaren from the Season 3 episode was not allowed to be used in the game. How many more times across the 13-episode season will that happen? On the whole it was more of what I had experienced in the other episodes of the game and that’s fine. I am very curious how the next episode which is a special in Columbia will be portrayed on the game and I think this is where I can see the game falling from its already lowly heights.
Its fun and for £11.99 I can’t knock it, if you like The Grand Tour or Top Gear and like racing games then you will get something from this. However, you would be much better off paying £7.99 for a month of Xbox GamesPass and playing Forza Horizon instead, a much better, grander scaled driving game that is in many ways based on the approach from Top Gear and subsequently The Grand Tour.
The Grand Tour Game seems like a promotional experiment and a game where the developers should have stuck with mobile games, it feels like a mobile game but on a console and that is not a good thing. As a mobile game it would have been fine but on console it never really finds its traction. Feeling much more like an interactive episode and a way to re-watch the show after I have just watched it, The Grand Tour Game probably should have stayed in park. There are some fun elements to enjoy but on the whole the experience is shallow and unfulfilling.
If I had to give this game a score, I would score it a 5/10