Grid Autosport ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Grid Autosport
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
The original Grid 1 (or Race Driver: Grid, as it was known in some parts of the world) occupies a special place in the hearts of many racing game fans, as Codemasters managed to bring quite a few innovations to the old genre.
After several years and some intense anticipation from fans, the studio rolled out Grid 2 in 2013 and once again many gamers flocked to the racing experience to see how the developer managed to improve on the already stellar original.
Unfortunately, things weren't that great and, while the racing title was pretty good, it failed to live up to expectations and fans flooded Codemasters with complaints as well as feedback about what wasn't working in Grid 2.
The studio took all the criticism to heart and confirmed earlier this year that it was working on Grid Autosport, a new installment in the series dedicated to fixing what went wrong with Grid 2.
With an emphasis on different motorsports, way more cars, and more varied tracks or circuits, Autosport definitely looks like the successor that was promised to Grid 1.
Does it manage to hit all the right marks or should the franchise just retire from the race? Let's find out.
While Grid 2 tried to offer a sort of story, Grid Autosport is all about the gameplay and doesn't worry itself with creating a narrative behind the player. Instead, he's just allowed to engage in five different racing disciplines throughout seasons and progress until reaching major competitions like the Grid Grand Slam.
The actual disciplines are quite varied and emphasize, as the game's name implies, all sorts of motorsport disciplines. There's Touring, Endurance, Open Wheel, Street, and Tuner, each with different cars, available tracks, and gameplay mechanics.
The Touring one focuses, as can be deduced from its name, on touring cars, ranging from hot hatches and coupes to the utes found in Australia and other parts of the world. These competitions emphasize contact and allow players to race on all sorts of iconic tracks from around the world. From Malaysia's Sepang to Australia's Bathurst, this is true motorsport racing.
Endurance deals with lean and mean racing machines derived from supercars made by the likes of Aston Martin and focuses more on withstanding a certain number of minutes on a track while taking care of your tires. Any sharp brakes or offroad sequences take a big toll on your tires, so you need to balance being aggressive with being conservative.
Open Wheel events use Formula 3 and Indycar single-seater racers and here it's all about making sure you avoid contact at all costs, as it can send you crashing into the gravel.
Street races take place in the different cities already seen in Grid 2 and here you'll definitely feel every bump and mismatched surface with your tuned cars.
Last but not least, the Tuner discipline focuses on time trial and drifting events, each with different cars available, normally from the muscle and Japanese categories.
What's great about Grid Autosport is that you don't need to be a master in all these disciplines at once. Each season you pick a category and complete its different events to improve your respective level. You can focus on one or two, while leaving the others to a later time. Eventually, you might want to come back around to those neglected disciplines, as in order to unlock the special Grid Grand Slam you need to bring them up to a certain event.
In the game you're basically a mercenary pilot for hire, as you can choose a team, check out their sponsor goals, rewards, and the teammate they offer, and then start racing for that season under their banner.
The AI pilot can be controlled rather easily by setting different behaviors, from a balanced one to a defensive or offensive one. However, each driver has different skills and, unfortunately, many of them are completely oblivious. Their AI was sometimes so bad I would finish first and they would finish last, meaning that our team was constantly overtaken by other companies that had both their pilots near the podium.
The problems continue in terms of general AI, as Grid Autosport features a drastic case of rubber-banding. Cars identical to yours can always overtake you at a much higher speed than you can ever achieve and just one brake period that was a bit too long can see you get overtaken by plenty of opponents. What's more, if you don't manage to attain great starting positions by doing the qualifiers in disciplines like open wheel, you won't stand a chance against the seriously skilled opponents on Normal or even on Easy difficulty.
The actual racing system is relatively good, managing to strike a balance between arcade and simulator. However, in some disciplines, like open wheel, it ventures a bit too much into simulator territory. The drifting, on the other hand, has been simplified a bit and it’s no longer a case of luck to achieve great results.
Cars and tracks are quite varied, although in terms of circuits you'll often see ones that go in reverse or have a few corners modified to turn them into new variations. Many of the vehicles feel pretty good, but by far the most impressive are the open wheel single-seaters that provide a more simplified version of the F1 experience also made by Codemasters.
In order to address a highly criticized aspect of Grid 2, the studio added not one, but two different cockpit cameras to the game. Unfortunately, both of them are disappointing. One is a bit too zoomed in and blurs our the edges of the screen, while the other looks relatively good but shows off some rather Spartan or crude interiors.
In Grid Autosport's multiplayer you maintain your own cars and go through different events with them. You can attempt a wide array of online modes, but by far the most entertaining is the demolition derby, where you crash into others.
Using Codemasters' RaceNet system, you can also set up racing clubs and compete against others in different challenges for fame and glory. What's more, split-screen racing is back and the whole experience feels quite good.
Visuals and Sound
In terms of graphics, Grid Autosport looks superb, managing to polish the already impressive visuals of last year's game. What's more, thanks to a special free DLC pack with high-res textures, the game will keep its fidelity even at resolutions higher than 1080p. The damage and collision model is a bit crude in terms of variety and the closeups of the car after finishing a race expose some pixelated visuals. What's more, in some track locations, you might witness a bit of pop-in when it comes to stands or the public within them.
The soundtrack is a mixed experience, as while it's certainly varied, it's also a bit generic. Your team manager repeats the same thing over and over again, while the announcers at different tracks are bit too quiet.
- Lots of varied disciplines
- Plenty of cars and tracks
- Great visuals in most situations
- Erratic opponent AI and dumb teammates
- Generic soundtrack
- Open Wheel racing feels like a simulator
Grid Autosport is a pretty fun racing title, but in the pursuit of addressing every bit of feedback after Grid 2, Codemasters hasn't delivered the most cohesive experience. You still need to endure some of the disciplines that you may not like in order to progress through the career, and the two cockpit cameras feel more like a fan-made mod than something devised by the developer itself. Throw in the erratic AI and you might get annoyed quite a few times while playing Autosport.