Back on Track
GRID 2 came out last year so why do we have GRID Autosport about to hit the track? Well not many people were happy with the direction Codemasters took with the sequel so the developers have decided to take the feedback and create Autosport. At first, I wasn’t sure about where Autosport fits. Is it GRID 3 or what? but after testing out the game – Autosport is probably the true successor to the original GRID and what number 2 should have been.
The GRID series has been considered a perfect blend of simulation and arcade – for racers who don’t want the precision difficulty of real racing but want the authentic feel of it. GRID 2 shared this formula but was slammed for leaning over the wrong side of the fence too much. Autosport brings the racing line back into place offering the tightest blend of this formula since the original GRID. The feel of the cars while not simulation feels more realistic than it was in the sequel. Turns take effort, overtakes requires timing – overall the tweaks they have made improved the mechanics of the racing dramatically.
Not only did the racing received a massive tune up, the tracks and disciplines themselves have been worked on and improved. Pushing the authentic feel again, Autosport focuses more on real-world tracks and street circuits instead of random circuits we’ve seen before. Noticeable tracks like Sepang, Spa and Bathurst make an appearance in Autosport plus an array of street circuits like Dubai and San Francisco. It’s really great to see Bathurst featured again as it’s one of the best tracks to race on especially when Autosport includes Australian cars.
Yes, Autosport features the two iconic Holden Commodore (VF Model) and also the Ford Falcon (FG Model) plus the Ute versions of the models. The variation of modes in career/custom races will suite any type of racing fanatic as it comes pre-loaded with an array of cars to choose from. You have options ranging from the Civic Touring Car to the McLaren P1, Autosport has most areas covered. I was really happy with the selection of disciplines at your disposal and you were not locked into any at the start of the game. If you want your first career season to be Open Wheel, you can choose Open Wheel. The choice is yours. Completing more seasons in different disciplines does open up more seasons and eventually opens up the GRID championship where the racing becomes more challenging.
Autosport doesn’t really differ much on visuals from the previous GRID 2. From what I can see, it’s improved slightly. Playing on PC, I was surprised that I could still handle this game on Ultra with high framerates as the system I was running was several years old. The car exteriors were sharp and detailed plus the damage was pretty much in-line with most of Codemasters previous racing games. The return of the inside (helmet) cam will make the fans that complained about the absence of this view in GRID 2 celebrate on rooftops but I wasn’t a fan of how it returned. They have added a full-on blur making vision narrow which makes the option of using it kinda pointless. The interiors of the cars were also pretty bland making it ugly to look at. While visuals are passable, I was quite impressed with the audio and sound they did for the vehicles. The downshifting, acceleration and that slight turbo noise really make the game feel quite alive.
With most racing games integrating Multi-player within the Single-player aspect of the game, GRID Autosport stays traditional and offers both modes separately. The online mode works in a lobby system and players have access to all the disciplines available in the game with the ability to customise options. There’s also party mode where you can take the less serious approach and it also offers the Demolition Derby race if you are keen on just smashing each other. Multi-player works fluidly in Autosport and you can tell they’ve focused in this department quite a bit. Flashback, the feature that allows you to pretty much turn back the clock, ‘Prince of Persia’ style, is also present here online. If you happen to miss the turn or someone decided to push you off the track, you can Flashback onto the track. It doesn’t bend time like it’s singleplayer counterpart but it allows you to respawn on the road doing the right speed so you don’t miss out on the action. With the few multiplayer sessions I had, the game seems to run perfect online showing no signs of lag and latency. I dislike racing online because of the delays but it seems the game coped well with the variables when it comes to multi-player racing.
After playing with Autosport, I believe it’s how GRID 2 should have been but with that statement – it raises a few questions about where Autosport belongs. The lack of a current generation version on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will instantly put off console players when there’s other choices currently out there and coming soon. I understand that Codemasters want to redeem their status after their fanbase complained about GRID 2 but I felt they should have waited so they could hit the new consoles as well. However, if you’re a PC player and a fan of GRID, you’re in luck. Autosport is the true sequel you’ve been waiting for. There’s some weird design choices like that in-car view but overall the game is loaded with enough content to satisfy fans of different racing disciplines.
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher.