Just a year after GRID 2 was released, Codemasters are back with a new racing title, GRID Autosport. It may seem like an odd idea to release a new game so soon, but in all honesty, GRID 2 left a sour taste in racing gamers’ mouths and thankfully this new edition does a lot to redeem the series.
I don’t want to go on too much about GRID 2, this is a review of Autosport after all, but for those who never played it, it pretty much did away with a lot of the pure racing in favour of drift and street races, all I wanted to do was jump in an IndyCar but instead I had to do some terrible street racing events while some “radical dude” told me to drift around the corners.
Credit where it’s due, Codies did admit their mistakes and wrote a super honest blog admitting they pissed off a lot of their hardcore racing fans with GRID 2’s approach.
Like GRID 2, GRID Autosport still goes down the route of becoming the ultimate versatile racing driver but this time, they absolutely nailed it. You won’t have to do any drifting or street racing if you don’t want to, instead you climb up the ladder in the disciplines you want to race in, these are Touring, Endurance, Open-Wheel, Street and Tuner.
Sim racers shouldn’t expect 24 hour long races in the Endurance category, this is a pick-up and play racer, so instead features 10 minute timed races where the challenges are managing tyre wear in the night time conditions.
Speaking of night time, the game is immensely pretty. Having played Forza 5 in a store recently, I’d argue it looks just as good if not better, and adding insult to injury for new-gen gamers, the game is only available on 360, PS3 and PC; for now at least.
The super slick graphics match the super slick menus, although for those who use cockpit view, don’t expect this sort of production in the car, as the graphics can look almost Playstation 2-esque at times, which is likely due to the fact that they’ve had to add cockpit view back in quickly, as it was absent from GRID 2.
You won’t be surprise to hear that 90% of my gameplay so far has been in the Open-Wheel category. You make your way up the ladder, starting with Formula C (Formula 3) then moving onto Formula B (A1GP/Auto GP) before getting to race the DW12 IndyCar known as Formula A. Climbing your way up through the motorsport ladder is a lot of fun, and something we could only dream of appearing in the Formula One series. Starting in GP3 and making your way up to F1 would certainly make the career mode more interesting, but no doubt there are licensing issues behind this.
One of the neatest additions to these short seasons are the occasional fun ‘Cup races.’ During my season in the Formula 3 cars, I got to do a mid-season Caterham race at the Red Bull Ring, which was a nice break and also a chance to unlock some achievements. The achievements are done in the form of sponsor commitments and while some of them are slightly unrealistic, it’s a nice idea and certainly gives it more of a racing driver feel to the game.
That isn’t the only feature where Codies think a little outside the box. Rather than your race engineer constantly talking to you giving you useless information, the D-pad acts as pre-sets where you can request gaps to the car in front or hear how your team mate is doing.
You can also control your team orders with the shoulder buttons, setting the aggression of your team mate. At first it seemed a bit pointless, mainly because my team mate always seemed to be last, but when you’re racing together it does work. Set your team mate to defend his position, and not only won’t he attack you, he’ll try and hold off the others behind. Again this’d make a super cool feature for the F1 game, especially when you’re going for the championship.
There are plenty of tracks to race on too, even some bizarre but brilliant configurations of classic tracks, which caught me out on more than one occasion when I lost concentration and tried to take the F1 circuit and went straight into a wall. There’s even Spa backwards, and who wouldn’t want to drive DOWN Eau Rouge!?
Online play is similar to the career mode, you pick what you want to race or even challenge yourself in all five disciplines and while you can race in anything for fun, you can build your own garage and personalise your cars with colours and sponsors.
Hardcore sim racers wanting hyper realism, GRID Autosport won’t be for you but as someone who enjoys sim racing, I found this game a perfect pick-up and play title for when you want to tone down the seriousness for a while.
So kudos Codemasters, when you listen to the fans, things seem to work out pretty well. Now if only Formula One would do the same, then we might not get so many shitty rule changes that no one likes…