Grid Autosport – Review
The spiritual successor to the TOCA Touring Car series, which happens to be some of my favourite racing games ever is back with the latest instalment, Grid: Autosport which is out now. However, does it live up to the greatness of the TOCA games? Has Codemasters made amends for the disappointing GRID 2 or will fans be let down yet again?
I was excited when I saw this announcement as the series seemed to be going back to its routes, with different disciplines and an impressive array of cars and tracks. GRID2 was a bit of a letdown, it was lacking in many areas and had moved away from what made this series great and why I spent many of an hour playing and enjoying the TOCA games. However there was also that nagging feeling that this only exists as GRID 3 isn’t quite ready yet and to fill the gap after the disappointment of GRID 2. This may not sounds a very promising basis for a new game, but in all honesty if you enjoyed the TOCA games you will enjoy this.
The problem with GRID 2 was that there was an unfortunate shift towards americanising the game with over the top voice over’s and general annoying presentation to appeal to the American market. As Codemasters are the last independent publisher in the UK, I was left disappointed by this and so where many fans. Thankfully and I’m very glad to say all that’s gone in Autosport. This makes the game feel like a classic TOCA title and completely changes the mood and personality of the game.
The GRID games sits somewhere between Gran Tursimo or the fun Project Gotham Racing in terms of realism and complexity. To sum up it’s not quite a simulation but it’s also not an arcade racer. The driving model in Autosport is tight and you have to give constant attention when taking even the simplest bends as you will usually encounter understeer. The game does impose its own limits and as you would guess there are plenty of options to change to match your level of experience and skill. However the more driver aids you put on the less XP points you will get following each race so you will always try and keep the aids to the minimum.
When it comes down to the all important content, the game is certainly not lacking with 100 routes through 22 different locations and five distinct event types. This encompasses everything from Formula 3 to street racing, tuner events, wheel-to-wheel racing, and night-time endurance challenges. Yet I was a little disappointed by the game’s career mode which isn’t as good as GRID 2 where you saw overseeing an entire team. This included handling sponsors and your co-driver. Autosport’s career mode is certainly lengthy but it’s nowhere near as interesting as you don’t feel quite that involved and more take on the roll of just a racing driver rather than anything more.
To add to the longevity there’s also split-screen multiplayer, a real rarity nowadays for any non-Nintendo racers, and a weighty online mode that has a completely separate progression system and includes the fan favourite destruction derby mode.
Before each race weekend you look through your sponsorship offers, pick the discipline you wish to take part in and look at the races ahead of you. When it comes to race weekend you certainly won’t be disappointed with the ability to qualify for a better grid spot, tune your car, practise the track or simply head into the race. Once you start your race, be prepared for some frantic and exciting bumper to bumper action with aggressive AI that will always be looking to get ahead of you and you are usually joined by a team mate who you can give simple commands to such as attack or defend positions however they usually finish near the back . The racing is worth noting and is partially good and you will be constantly trying to hit every apex just to gain that one position you need, you will be kept on the limit until the end.
Graphically there are some nicely modelled cars and tracks with realistic looking damage to match and dirt flying around when you go off road accidently. However one feature that is a massive let down and was missing in GRID 2 is the return of the in-cockpit view which is one of the headline features of this game but it’s not actually particularly good. With a weird blur effect that attempts to hide the fact that the dashboard displays are just static images. This was a bit of a letdown and I for one will not use this view on this game.
The problems do continue with the game and they’re both predictable and obvious. The most glaring is made clear by the title, I personally think it shouldn’t carry the GRID name as this isn’t a sequel and it features an awful lot of regurgitated content. You could say this is the sequel that GRID 2 should’ve been and unfortunately leaving little in terms of genuinely new concepts.
This game is tough one to score, it’s probably not going to win Codemasters any new fans but it is an acknowledgement that they got things wrong the last time and I hope it bodes well for GRID 3. Nevertheless this is a fun and enjoyable game with some excellent racing to be had and with a strong line up of content, I’m not convinced it’s worth the £29.99 (PC) price tag and for that the score is lowered. If you enjoyed the TOCA racing games you will enjoy most of this title and I have certainly enjoyed playing it.