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'GRID Autosport' offers 5 styles of racing : Review

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2014 at 4:25 AM


'GRID Autosport' offers 5 styles of racingPick your discipline and roll out in the latest version of this popular racing simulator

Pin It GRID Autosport at the Sepang Circuit. Photo by GRID Autosport.

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“GRID Autosport,” out now for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, marks gamemaker Codemasters' final refresh of the franchise before moving on to the next generation of consoles. “Autosport” is the culmination of what the company has learned over its last two “GRID” outings, and they've obviously learned a lot.

“Autosport” has one of the best career modes we've ever played in a racing game, moving through five disciplines of motorsport including touring, endurance, open-wheel, tuner and street. Whatever your fancy, it's in there. The game is rated E for everyone, and it can handle one or two players locally and up to 12 online. Races and events take place on more than 100 routes across the world spanning 22 locations.

Unlike “Gran Turismo 6” and “Forza,” part of the objective in career mode is to hit sponsor goals. They could include finishing in a certain spot, finishing ahead of your teammate or ahead of your rival. Things like an entire clean lap or qualifying first are a little harder to hit without practice.

The artificial intelligence of the computer drivers has been improved. Some racers are aggressive, others are more technical and some defend their spot in the driving line with a verve normally reserved for Monday morning gridlock traffic.

 

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After firing up the game, it immediately throws you into your 25th season at the helm of a high-powered racing Audi in a touring car race. You don't have to finish first or anything -- we think it's just to show you what awaits.

After the warm up, players pick their name and screen name. GRID has a few hundred already programmed in, so “Welcome back Jake.”

Finally, you have to choose the difficulty and driver aids you want, which all affect how much experience you get per race. This is the first time we've seen a system like this in a racing game. We enjoy it because we get extra points for not have a driving line, using a manual transmission and turning the traction control off.

We jumped into the touring car discipline for our first few seasons. We thought the lenient rule on trading paint would be a good way to get a feel for the game, and we were right.

The damage modeling is great in "GRID Autosport." Not only do cars deform accurately during collisions, they also degrade over time. If you hit a guy in the rear-quarter panel on lap 1, it might last until lap 5, but the tire will eventually blow. In cockpit view, if your car gets banged up too much, you'll lose the windshield, which actually makes it easier to see.

Mechanical damage is fitting as well. If you jam your your front end into a wall or car, your steering goes, and if you spend too much time off track, you can blow a tire. We haven't had any engine problems yet, but were sure that's coming.

 

 


 



“GRID's” claim to fame is the rewind function. If you take a turn too fast, or dive bomb an opponent too hard and crash, just hit rewind. Players have about five rewinds per race, but that number can be adjusted, losing points per race as you increase. Our only complaint about the feature is that we forget to use it, especially in the heat of a race.

“Did I lose too much time in that S turn? Can I get by this guy if I try this again? Can I take this in third? Should I hit rewind or save it?” our inner monologue reads.

After a few seasons in touring, we jumped to open wheel, where our experience in Codemasters' other game, “F1,” came in handy. Learn the track in practice, qualify high—it's much harder to pass in open-wheel racing—and try to keep your position in one of the feeder series. It's fun to switch it up when you get bored.

Our complaints are few after about 10 hours of gaming. The audio can get a little glitchy. It seems like you get the outside sound of the engine and trans sometimes, and other times it sounds like your ears are plugged. That's a big deal when you've trained your mind to shift by sound and not by looking at the tach. Some of the interior views are claustrophobic, especially the driver's point of view. I'm sure the helmet, window net and windshield sticker do narrow your vision, but we're just playing a game here -- open it up. There's a zoomed-in version of the in-cockpit camera, which is what we used most of the time. Lastly, as fun as starting a new discipline can be, you still have to relearn how to drive in a new type of car. On the other hand, it gives the game a ton of replay value.

As you might already know, we play our games with wheel controllers here at Autoweek, and "GRID Autosport" didn't disappoint. The handling model seemed a tick more on the simulator side compared to the last game, and it offered tons of fun on standing starts, liftoff oversteer and wallowing understeer. The cement curbs send vibration back to the wheel and if someone is leaning on you in corner, you'll feel it when you spin wildly out of control.

What really struck us as funny is when we hopped in a simulated Mercedes C63 AMG and marveled at how realistic it felt. Did GRID do a ridiculously good job, or does Merc's steering just feel like a video game? You'll have to decide.

"GRID Autosport" is on sale now everywhere for $60. It's the best of the three in the series. With the open-wheel aspect, it could sate your need for “F1: 2014,” too, but we're not sure Codemasters would be happy to hear that.

 


Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd Her Voice Reaches You : Trailer

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2014 at 4:20 AM

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Moto GP 14 : Review

Posted by Admin on July 4, 2014 at 4:00 AM


In a world where games such as Gran Turismo, GRID, Forza, and Need for Speed have essentially become household names for those who enjoy racing games, be they simulation based or insane arcade fun, it’s always refreshing to see lesser known games although they’re fairly legendary and pre-date most of the former, make their way back into the spotlight and actually reel in some serious attention.

While car games mostly dominate the genre of racing games and motorbikes tend to play on the sidelines of being an optional vehicle stumbled across within the game’s vehicle selection menu, developers at Milestone S.r.l. however have decided to flip things the other way with MotoGP 2014.

For a good number of the most recent years, we’ve had to satisfy our needs for adrenaline-fueled, motor popping gas tanks with racing games that follow of the tagline of Batman and Robin. To quote Chris O’Donnell from 1997′s caped crusader sidekick equality “It’s Batman and Robin, not Robin and Batman, and I’m sick of it!” MotoGP 2014 stands out as a game that seeks to rectify this for all the bike racing wonders of the gaming world, and rightfully so it does.



 


So how exactly do two-wheels instead of four hold up in this day and age? Frankly it’s been far too long since we’ve seen a good two wheeler that actually approached the genre of simulation racing, if any at all. As fun as Motorstorm Apocalypse is, MotoGP proves that race lines and flat surfaces can be just as heart-wrenching and nerve worrying as those that crumble before your feet and lift you over death-tumbling buildings.

MotoGP 2014  incorporates a fair number of gameplay modes most of which are no stranger to any other racing game. These include an instant race mode, grand prix, championship mode, MotoGP career, time attack, split-screen local multiplayer,online multiplayer and a safety car mode.

While the majority of these are fairly self-explanatory the modes to take note of here would be real events and challenge the champions. Real events use a mixture of real and fictional races that the player is able to experience for themselves, change the outcome, and live the event through the eyes of the selected rider.

Challenge the champions on the other hand does something fairly similar while placing a set of objectives for the player to complete, all of which are unlocked as you play through the other modes within the game. Although the main bulk of the game is played through MotoGP career which uses the player’s custom rider as their progression tool. I found the championship mode of the game to have more interest.

 




Using riders and tracks from past MotoGP games there’s alot of content thrown in to make up the game, the majority of which are unlockable riders which are gradually unlocked the more you play the game. There’s a reason to play here and more so than in the game’s career mode.

But that’s not to say the career mode takes a hit of any sort, as the basis of immersion and progression which is essential for any racing game is largely a requirement should it seek to be considered worthwhile. Keeping true to authenticity and realism, the game uses a physics system based on the rider’s behaviour when riding the bike.

MotoGP enthusiasts will know these as Balanced, Body Out, Old School, Elbows to the Ground, and Shoulders Out. Each of these riding styles have an instant and different effect on how you ride your bike, and players will have to play with each one to find their own unique style and which one works best with them.

It’s not as simple as automatic and manual, no car pun intended  but MotoGP 2014 has everything under the hood, when it comes to gears, tuning, and character behaviour. The game also uses a rewind feature that’s more commonly known to the Grid series by Codemasters.

This basically allows you to rewind the game while you’re actually playing up to a certain point in time, should you crash or wish to retake a certain turn from a different angle or strategy. There’s also a level of bike behaviour properties that tie in to the the simulation aspects of the game. These work in combination with the riding aids available in the game all of which can be toggled accordingly.

This is great for training newcomers to the series and will help by gradually increasing their skills and techniques the more they play, until they’re ready to take on the game at it’s ultimate level of realism. It should also be noted that the level of A.I. from your opponents are just as superb and well designed as the other implementations of realism within the game, and can be adjusted too. As said previously MotoGP takes realism quite seriously within the topic of tuning of your rider’s bike and character’s physics.

 



Bike mechanics can be adjusted before the start of your race and I’m sure fans of the series will tweak till their heart’s content. Mechanics such as handlebar rake and trail can be adjusted, the discs of your front and rear brakes, wheel choices of soft and hard tires, gear adjustments and so on. All displayed through an immersive interface that really succeeds and pulling the player directly into the game.

One thing in particular that serves as an interesting feature to MotoGP is one that isn’t particularly well implemented. The game employs a rider customization system that allows you to choose between male and female.

Without going into the whole debacle of more games should involve female characters, as that seems to be the latest trend within gaming these days, of the fairness and equality of variety in games, I will say this.

The way in which the game gives you female riders isn’t actually something that visually noticeable, and I didn’t see the point nor could I find the reasoning for picking one over the other, when the differentiation between them is a portrait photo of an actual rider, symbolizing your characters.

Physically the two gender models appeared the same and the fact that they wear helmets anyway made the overall idea pointless. Without being said however, the choice of rider gear, colours, and player information was all done fairly well.

Customization ranges from helmet, gloves, boots, and  knee pads. Taking it a step further to increase player immersion are the choices of your character’s name and age, rider number, and the choice to represent your own country. So where exactly does the rider fall off amongst all this precious content of enjoyment? Well let’s start with the game’s method of installation.

Coming close to ten years since the launch of Steam, PC gamers were no longer burdened by the need of physical discs in order to play their games. While some developers over that time period opted for the idea of disc based installation while still requiring you to insert the disc in order to play, most of them threw this idea out the window and went for a one time installation via an activation code.

 



Milestone S.r.l. on the other hand decided to be negatively old school and required that I install the game from it’s disc, while still having me insert it every time I wish to play.

Two things the studio needs to take note of here: A. This is the year 2014, and B. There’s no need to inconvenience the player with noisy DVD-drives when we live in a technological world dictated by mandatory hard drive installations. Adding injury to insult for not taking advantage of modern technology let alone PC hardware are the graphical options given to PC gamers.

Employing a method of incompetence through the use a game launcher, which acts as barrier of entry between me and the actual game is where these lackluster of options reside. With nothing but the basics of V-sync, resolution choice, high quality AFX and high resolution textures, the game falls flat on it’s face with the potential of even giving the impression of something beautiful to look forward too. While v-sync is a must to eliminate screen-tearing the game doesn’t look all that bad, but with that being said it’s clear it should look better than it actually does. Especially for a racing game which by no means is demanding.

One thing in particular, I really have to question though is the developer’s understanding of high resolution textures. There wasn’t one thing within the game that displays gorgeous textures of any sort, and while the bike and character models are quite accurate and look reasonably good, the game isn’t going to turn any heads.

 



This lack of visual quality also extends into the game’s tracks and environments. Racing tracks look fairly bland, the backgrounds outside the stadiums are non-existent, and the NPCs that make up crowds in the stands may as well be dead. Cardboard cut-outs are not cool.

This is a real shame as it’s gameplay is so damn impressive and gives you plenty to do. Up until now I still await a game that visually exceeds the level of detail and over the top eye candy that Codemasters did so well with GRID 2 and GRID Autosport.

Visual inferiority aside MotoGP 2014 is without a doubt an enjoyable ride that succeeds in delivering great gameplay, immersive entertainment, and unlockable content using the true method of learn as you play progression. MotoGP constantly gives you a reason to play and it feels rewarding. Becoming better the more you play there’s enough gameplay modes to take part in, and more so than I’ve seen from the majority of the car games available.

 


An enjoyable progression system combined with unlockable riders and bikes motivate the player to ride on.



Poor visuals and a failure to stay up to date with modern technology inconvenience the player as much as it embarrasses the developer.


PS4, PS3 getting system updates soon; software stability improved

Posted by Admin on June 24, 2014 at 2:50 AM

A system update is coming soon to both the PlayStation 4 and PS3. Sony’s new console will be brought to version 1.72 while the last-gen system will be set at version 4.60. A tweet published on the PlayStation account confirms that the update “will improve system software stability during use of some features”.


More classic characters return for The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Flash II

Posted by Admin on June 24, 2014 at 2:35 AM

Two new returning characters have been confirmed for The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Flash II. Lloyd Bannings and Rixia Mao, both from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Blue, will be in the game. A screenshot from Famitsu shows the two of them fighting party members.


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