|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.
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.