by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Luckily for drivers, the Flashback feature has returned from the previous GRID title. Essentially, if you are involved in a collision that puts you back in the field, you have the chance to rewind. It's definitely a feature that some people would love in real life. The flashback feature is not unlimited though (the medium difficulty allows five rewinds per race) and must be used conservatively. They can come in very handy though if an opposition driver nudges you into a spin that dramatically reduces your chances of a podium finish.
And podium finishes can often be hard to complete. Many events involve racing on the circuit or track twice. The second race does not have a qualifying round, but instead starts with a reverse grid. So, after finishing first in race one gives you the ignominy of starting from the back of the grid in race two. It then takes all the skill you possess to overtake the field in order to finish at the head of the pack.
There are plenty of tracks on which to compete. Tracks ranging from well known F1 tracks such as Hockenheim in Germany, to street circuits in well known cities such as the hills of San Francisco, Washington, Dubai and Barcelona. Aussies will love the inclusion of Mt Panorama, the racing Mecca for Touring Cars. Many tracks would be familiar to those who have played GRID titles. With the amount of tracks that are playable in the game, I guess the developers have an excuse to re-use some old tracks. Most racing titles do the same thing anyway.
Online racing uses Codemasters' RaceNet matching system, and for the most part works quite well in searching for similarly skilled drivers. The multiplayer races play out far differently from the AI races. For one, the Flashback feature is absent meaning that drivers will probably need to drive a bit more conservatively. Crashes are fatal to your chances of winning a race, especially when racing against competent human opponents. Also, the races are simply that... races. There are no practice sessions and no qualifying laps, so if you want to get to know the racetracks prior to the online competition, more practice in offline mode would be required. Like the offline mode, points - in the form of GRID money - are awarded for great performances. Of course, some of the money may need to be spent on repairing any damage to your vehicle. This money can then be used to purchase better vehicles. Vehicles can even be pimped-out with customised paint jobs.
The soundtrack is pretty standard for racing titles these days, with electronic type beats. Personally it isn't my favourite music genre, but it does seem to suit the game well, keeping the tempo up prior to each race. The sound effects are fairly standard for racing games too, with revving engines, screeching tyres and various crashing sounds as you plough into opposition cars or stationary objects alike.
Along for the ride
GRID Autosport is definitely a fun game to play. It is one that anyone can pick up and play without having a working knowledge of the intricacies of a motor vehicle. Racing around famous cities and racing circuits in digital form is not the same as being there, but it is the next best thing. Doing so against other human competitors in the online mode, is even closer. The offline mode certainly has a lot of replayability, with tons or tracks to compete on and heaps of vehicle types and racing styles to test out. Although the visuals aren't stunning, watching the replay of a victorious, hard-fought race is still pretty cool. The only real downside, for me anyway, is the repetition of tracks from the GRID 2. But if, like me , you can get past that, GRID Autosport is an enjoyable ride.
Heaps of racing styles, loads of cars to drive
Very similar to GRID 2