Codemasters are back with a new GRID title. GRID Autosport is the latest in the fast-paced, high-octane fuelled series featuring a new street discipline – will this be the best of the series and take the pole position? Or will it stall on the starting grid? Let us find out below.
Developer: Codemasters Racing
Genre: Racing, Sports
Release Date: 24 June 2014 (USA) 27 June 2014 (UK)
Thanks to the publisher for the review code.
The GRID series have been popular since Codemasters released Race Driver: Grid back in 2008. It offered gamers the opportunity to run their own racing team with themselves as the main driver. A second title was released, titled GRID 2, in 2013 which proved just as popular and followed the lines of the original Grid. It was announced in April 2014 that a sequel to the GRID games will be released and here is the result. GRID Autosport takes what made the previous titles good and added a load of new features to make the game even more detailed and realistic. Autosport has so much content it is hard to know where to start, so I will begin by covering the main aspect, which is career mode.
When you start a new career you must choose what discipline you want to race from a choice of five. Your choices are Touring, Endurance, Open Wheel, Tuners, and Street. After picking whatever one you fancy you then get the chance to pick what team you want to drive for. Before you choose ensure you read what each team and sponsor require from you before deciding; as each one have goals that you must achieve throughout a season and these vary from team to team. When this is all done and dusted you get down to some racing. You get to choose if you want to do a practice, qualifying, or jump straight to the race.
The practice is good as it gives you 10 minutes to drive around the track so you can get a feel and learn a little about it before you get into the battle against other racers. Qualifying is pretty self-explanatory and taking part here will help you get a better grid position come race day. And finally you have the race which is where it becomes real. While it is perfectly possible to bypass the first two options and go straight to the main race, I wouldn’t recommend doing this. At the very least taking part in the qualifying is essential as instead of starting at the back of the pack, you can influence where you are placed to get yourself better track position. With this all decided we then go onto the starting grid, ready to race. Before I move on to the racing experience of GRID, I want to give some details on each discipline.
In this discipline you find yourself racing cars that are all tuned virtually to the same specs. This style of racing comes down to skill and using the track to your advantage and slipstreaming to gain some ground and overtake your fellow racers to progress through the pack. Avoiding getting bumped around too much is helpful as you avoid picking up damage to your car. This really is for the gamers that enjoy tight racing and rely on precision skill to win their races.
This discipline explanation is in the title. This is a gruelling type of racing taking place over a pre-set distance that require you to drive conservatively so that you save your tyres – or come toward the end of the allotted time you find that you will not be able to keep pace with your rivals are the rubber is losing grip on corners and you end up taking them like a Sunday driver.
Open Wheel Racing
The cars in this discipline are single-seat racing cars that are lightweight and very quick. Due to the way that the cars are designed the wheels have no arches to protect them or the suspension, so being careful when overtaking and entering corners is a priority as they are easily damaged. Very competitive and fast-paced, this racing is probably the easiest to master for the beginner.
This discipline is a mixture of various styles of driving and various cars. You got American muscle cars that you must do time laps in all the way through to the drift cars. This event doesn’t feature you racing against other drivers on track, but against clocks and drift points. This is well suited to the gamer who likes a bit of everything in their driving.
This is a new discipline added to Autosport and it is similar in style and tactics as touring. The only difference is you are racing around street circuits and using road-spec cars. This style is harder as you got no run-off sections or a lot of room to squeeze past other vehicles. So in order to overtake, it is imperative that you pick your point and make a move or else one mistake and you end up in a wall or building.
As far as the racing in general goes, GRID Autosport follows the style of previous titles in the series. As I mentioned briefly above, depending on what team you choose you must complete certain objectives in the season. These can be like you must beat a certain rival in each race, or you must finish in certain position or better in the championship table at the end of the season. For completing the objectives you earn XP points; these are awarded so that you can level up throughout the disciplines so that you can get better offers from teams and sponsors, which will lead to earning more XP points. Keep in mind though the higher the level you are at, the more is expected of you.
The difficulty of the game will probably shock you when you first play it. You get the choice to select different levels but if you stick to the default setting then you find that trying to make your way and overtake one car is a mission itself and gives you a good feeling when you get pass; even though this may only be moving up from 13th to 12th in the race. The learning curve is not frustrating, but the AI can be at times. For most of the race, Codemasters have got the rival CPU cars perfect; at times especially on corners you find that they turn suicidal and just try to take you out when you have made a legit move on them to pass. Thankfully, the game features the now famous rewind system that has been copied by others so that you can undo any mistakes or idiotic moves by fellow AI racers.
The handling mechanics and controls are much more refined than the previous GRID title. I thought that last year’s Grid was very rough around the edges and didn’t feel like the car was connected to the controller much. In Autosport the handling is realistic and feels like you are actually in control of the car and doing the speeds. For those players who like drifting and getting the rear end out in corners then the tuners discipline is suited. For those who would rather some traditional racing then any of the other disciplines would be the modes of choice. Graphically the game looks stunning for a previous gen console and shows that life is still left in these consoles.
GRID Autosport offers the fans of motorsport titles a lot of fun and entertainment. Codemasters have gone back to pure driving like in the TOCA days. There is plenty of customisations and setting that allow you make the game as hard or as easy as you want depending on your experience with racing games. Fans of the series or of racing games in general will love this and considering this is released on older hardware, the game looks and plays as good as any racer on the current gen consoles. If you love racing games then this is an essential purchase for you.