Scheduled to release just over a year later from its predecessor, GRID Autosport has a lot on it’s shoulders in terms of how well and how much the series has accelerated within such a short time span. GRID Autosport recycles much of the same aesthetics and attributes from the previous games. However, GRID Autosport also introduces new ways to play, through the use of the game new modes, as well taking a twist on existing ones.
For instance, during my playthrough in the game’s career mode, which is essentially the heart of the game, one thing that immediately stood out to me upon deciding which team sponsor and season I would race in, was the implementation of partner based competition. This means that races won’t be done in a solo fashion anymore and the chances of winning the given event are at a double.
This also means however that races are more aggressive, as your competition is also tag-teaming their way to the finish line. Where CodeMasters played it smart on this new implementation of team-based racing was the ability to give orders to your A.I. team mate. Ordering my partner to race more aggressively, maintain their current position, and push up to the first position when I felt the time was necessary, adds a more dynamic feel to the game, as well as strategy.
How this will play out in split-screen races not to mention online is something to be excited for, as it could possibly give rise to something highly competitive, that I imagine will gather a large fan-base.
Although being largely different in terms of gameplay, this tag-team style racing brings back memories of Need for Speed: Carbon during the days of the Playstation 2. Race disciplines like Touring car, Open wheel Formula one, and Street racing, are all successful in keeping the game feeling fresh as you try out and explore what the game has to offer.
There’s a high level of authenticity and professionalism that flows through the entire game, even in it’s street racing events. GRID still feels like GRID, but it also seems to have matured with the type of image that the game is going for. One thing I feel Codemasters has done so well with GRID, is holding it’s own identity amongst the many driving games on the market.
Adding to this new method of racing are old time favourites such as Time attack and Endurance, as well as new ones that do well in making use of this new team system. GRID Autosport clearly favors the authenticity and feel of a more simulated and realistic racer this time round while still providing something that still feels arcade just enough, not to put up any barrier of entry.
This is noticeable not only through racing but through your vehicle preparation before hand. This allows you to tune the mechanics of your car and tinker with the brake bias, ride height, gear ratios, and so on. While many would say and for the most part I agree, that racing games are in a genre whereby visual finesse is something that’s easily accomplished.
Precise car models and the small details and textures gain more credit than they deserve, and for the most part aren’t too entirely demanding in the first place. When you factor in a crowd that you’ll rarely see, trees trapped in motion blur, and road surfaces that become something of flash that you’ll never slow down long enough to admire the textures, it’s easy to make the actual vehicles look visually amazing.
This is where GRID Autosport shines though, it is in the attention to detail in its environment. Sponsor flags and banners swamp the outskirts of the tracks shelters, helicopters travel above, and the background that extends past the trees and city environments all have a level of detail, that does well in having you thinking there’s a life outside of the race lines.
It’s also worth noting that where Forza 5 opted for cardboard cut-outs in place of actual crowd members, GRID Autosport trumps this in filling the seats and walkways with a huge number of people, that forever immerse you more into the driver’s seat. Playing on the PC version of the game I was pleased to bare witness to the graphical menu that I deserve. Starting with a preset of low to high, as most PC gamers would I proceeded into the custom settings and cranked every available option up to the maximum.
Anti-aliasing, advanced lighting, shadows, various levels of details, and more are all present to tinker with and the game looks astonishing because of it. Most important off all that game runs smoothly, screen tearing is non-existent, and framerate is forever high as all racing games should be…I’m looking at you Driveclub.
Amazing visuals in a game which seeks to immerse you into the seat of a race driver is nothing without incredible audio to back it up. Speaking of being in the racing seat, if you was as ticked-off as I was when Codemasters had the foolish idea of removing the cockpit view in the previous iterations, then you’ll be pleased to know they’ve brought it back in.
The backlash that the studio received for making such a stupid move must have switched a few gears and fired a couple of neurons, and in doing so they realized what a terrible mistake that was. Releasing GRID Autosport without the implementation of a cockpit view would of surely placed them in an even more terrible position than from before. Ah yes! audio! playing in cockpit for visual comfort and surround-sound speakers tailored to drown-out the outside world, GRID Autosport delivered an unparalleled sense of immersion.
The vibration and sounds of the many different track surfaces and the ambiance the game’s world, where just one step away into fooling me I was literally in the driver’s seat. The attention to detail that lies within the sound effects of the game are truly magnificent. It’s safe to say that GRID Autosport although still feeling too early for it’s release, will without a doubt give fans of the series as well as any newcomers, something to look forward too that feels just different enough from GRID 2, that it justifies it’s existence.
This game was previewed on the PC.