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Review: Grid Autosport

The third in the Grid series provides a window into the various forms motor racing can take in the modern world.  It is an unflashy presentation of car racing that will test player’s abilities to adapt to different driving styles, opponents and tracks.

GRID Autosport contains more content than ever before, providing events, cars and tracks to suit just about any taste.  It does this without flare or pomp, and for some this will be appreciated, for others however it will be hard to become excited about the grind required to reach the next steps of game progression.

The GRID line of games has always been a little quirky compared to other semi-arcade-simulation games.  Whereas most racing games will focus on the vehicles, or perhaps a single element of motor racing such as F1 or rally, GRID Autosport is not entirely focused on anything.

In particular, this game doesn’t champion cars; instead it looks at a number of racing genres and presents them to the player as a challenge to be mastered.

So, in Career Mode you can choose a race type, choose a team (with associated challenges, such as the almost impossible to achieve “complete a race with no collisions”) and then head to the race track.

No car selection just straight into the race.  

Just to be clear, there are plenty of cars in the game, and in multiplayer, eventually you will earn enough bucks to fill your garage with non-loan cars, and these can be repaired and tuned to a degree, but options are limited.

Five racing disciplines are on show with GRID Autosport.  Touring cars include Commodores and Falcons, including the very-Aussie Ute versions and our own favourite Mt Panorama Bathurst track.

Open-Wheel events feature some snappy handling cars on some nice open circuits.  Meanwhile the walls close in for the Street events, where racing around Paris, Chicago and Washington (amongst others) urban environments in a hot-hatch or similar vehicle will raise tension in your knuckle joints.

Tuner events include races, and awful drift events in specialised vehicles whilst Endurance events occur at night with rolling starts and a focus on protecting tires from wear as the clock counts down to zero.

In order to attend the Grid Grand-Slam events you must increase your experience level in all five disciplines.  

Race lengths are good in most events, giving the opportunity so rare in video-game land, for planning your race.  Use patience, biding your time for the perfect corner to make that passing move.  

The game also features a reasonable damage model system, like the driving model however, it is very forgiving allowing for an easily accessible game for all skill sets.

The PC version of GRID Autosport is the flagship platform for the game, we tested however on the Xbox 360 (the game is also available on PlayStation 3) and graphically it is clear we have been spoilt with console racing games such as Forza 5 on the new-generation of gaming consoles.  This game has some real ugly moments, particularly where it is asked to push pixels to the screen at a great rate, such as during a split-screen couch multiplayer session.

For the most part however it looks and performs ok.  The AI is robust, but perhaps a little too aggressive, however taking your game up against human opponents will really let you know who your friends are.

In multiplayer games, gone is the feature to allow time rewinding, and as such, a simple nudge to the rear in most games will mean a spin-out and an opportunity to curse, get back on the track and watch the rest of the race from the tail-end of the field.  

Creators of GRID Autosport, Codemasters have a well-deserved reputation in the field of virtual car racing, but the GRID franchise has always been a hard one to pigeon-hole and sell to fans.  It is certainly not going to win over the hard-core simulation crowd, and at the same time, despite modes such as “destruction derby” it is a title that takes itself somewhat too seriously to really garner a more mainstream audience.  

Spend some well-earned grind time with GRID Autosport and there is fun to be had, particularly online with friends, or – if your frustration levels can be controlled – with strangers.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.