Episodic video games are nothing new, but The Grand Tour video game from Amazon Game Studios is trying something a little different.
The game will be updated every week with content from The Grand Tour TV Show, the motoring series hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
After each episode of the show airs, players will be able to download and play the majority of what they saw in the show.
Ever wanted to be Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, or James May? Well now you can
At Gamescom, I got to play through a few of the sample sections of the game, taken from the first every episode of the show. As Clarkson I drove a BMW around the show’s own track, the so-called ‘Eboladrome.’
As Hammond I drove around a track tasked with keeping him from soiling his trousers. I managed to earn precisely zero poo emojis during that segment, which are acquired by going off track or crashing into things.
You can expect to see most of what you see on screen in the video game, whether they’re racing old bangers or drag racing super cars. Each week you’ll be able to do the same.
You can do it with your friends too, in a sort of Mario Kart-style mode where you can grab pickups like a speed boost or ‘texting’ which hinders your opponents by filling their screen with nonsense.
It’s a unique idea, and quite a brilliant one. It’s a shame therefore, that the actual act of playing it isn’t all that fun.
The car handling is floaty, and although faster cars certainly feel faster, there’s not much difference in the handling. Even going off road doesn’t affect performance that much.
In the multiplayer mode, the four of us in split screen were simply bouncing off each other, and it seemed easier to use other cars and the barriers as brakes rather than the actual car’s brakes.
In terms of presentation, it looks dated. Plus, it’s a worry exactly how much time the developers will have to work on each episode’s content. It’s all pre-recorded and they’ll presumably know what’s coming up, but it still seems like a short turnaround to create good game modes for each week.
We’re still likely a few months away from the start of The Grand Tour season 3, so there’s still some time to work on some of the polish needed to improve the game.
But will fans of the show actually care that much about the way it plays? It may be enough for them to simply play through the show they like, complete with voice lines from the presenters. For actual racing fans though, it might be one to avoid.
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