by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
More of the same
Codemasters are best known for their racing titles. They probably own the Formula One racing model with their F1 series. More recently, the GRID series has become the go-to game for those who want something more than an open wheel racing fix, and something a little less simulation based. GRID Autosport follows on from GRID 2 and, in many ways, the GRID series is beginning to follow in the footsteps of yearly sports titles such as the FIFA and NBA2K series. They are the sort of titles, that unless you require the latest team rosters, you could probably skip a year or two. GRID Autosport is much the same. It is a heap of fun, but it is very similar to the previous title in the series.
Not a simulation
GRID Autosport can be played either as a semi-arcade style racing game where you can simply turn up at an event and race, or it can be played as a simulation type of game where players can customise all facets of their vehicles. Revheads can customise gear ratios, determine the softness of their suspension, work out whether they want more power to the front or rear brakes and even adjust the downforce. They can then turn up for practice, qualify for the race and then hopefully save their best effort for the race itself.
There is certainly some realism in the racing, especially on the higher difficulties, but like previous GRID titles, the racing has a somewhat arcade feeling to it. On the lower levels, damage to your vehicle is purely cosmetic, but on the higher difficulty settings, damage affects vehicle performance. Damaging the engine slows you down and damaging your wheels affects steering. Small amounts of damage can be countered, but too much damage will make it almost impossible to be competitive. Various vehicles will be able to take varying degrees of damage. The touring cars, for example, can take more damage than the open wheel vehicles.
Different Racing Styles
As with GRID 2, GRID Autosport comes complete with a heap of racing styles, each with various vehicles to choose from. I found Endurance to be the toughest racing mode. In this mode, preservation of tyres is a must. Constantly screeching around corners will quickly wear down your tyres and effectively put you out of the race. The Open Wheel races have you driving kart-style vehicles (similar to Formula 1 or Formula 3 cars) on racing circuits. With the open wheel vehicles, it is best to avoid contact with other racers, as damage occurs more frequently than with other competitions. Street racing has gamers racing around tight street circuits, whilst Touring Car racing has you driving on racetracks in... well, Touring Cars. The Tuner Championship is slightly different altogether as it involves a range of modes such as Time Attack and Knockout racing.
Prior to competing in any series, you are given the option of competing for one of two sponsored racing teams. The racing teams offer various incentives based on your result during the Championship. Performing well and completing their objectives grants XP. Sponsor objectives include finishing ahead of a certain rival, reaching a particular speed during an event or setting the fastest lap during a race. Gaining XP then unlocks new events and vehicle upgrades. In a way, it works in a similar fashion to the XP system in the Battlefield series and other similar titles.
Although the game really wouldn’t be classed as a driving simulation, such as Gran Turismo, Codemasters have made sure that vehicle types perform quite differently. The Japanese drifters are easier to control through the hairpin turns, while the US Muscle cars have a tendency to oversteer if you attempt the same manoeuvre and the open-wheel cars also have a more stable feel to them when cornering. Getting to know how each vehicle handles is actually part of the fun, but it can often take a race or two to work out the nuances of each. In that time, crashes inevitably occur.
Heaps of racing styles, loads of cars to drive
Very similar to GRID 2