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GRID Autosport

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2; 2 - 12 (Online)
Genre: Racing/ Simulation/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

I know that the most critically acclaimed racing franchise of the past decade is Turn 10's Forza Motorsport series. And I get it, really I do! There's just so much content there for people who really love cars that it's impossible not to recommend. But for me, Codemasters always delivers the experience that I want out of a racer. Whether its the amazingly fun offroad romp that is DiRT or the hardcore TOCA Race Driver, they know how to capture the primal experience of tearing across the planet with the help of the very best examples of modern automotive engineering. Oh, and all of their games look and sound amazing, too, so there's that. Maybe it's a little bit surprising that GRID Autosport is a last generation effort instead of a visual showcase for the new hardware, but damned if it isn't an excellent racer in its own right.

GRID Autosport is stunning, and this is coming from someone who owns and plays Forza Motorsport 5. While the very nature of the beast means that this game doesn't feature the sumptuous natural beauty of the DiRT series, it still finds ways to impress. Cars look sleek and elegant (until the recklessness of either you or your fellow competitors start putting some leverage on the game's damage system), and the environment looks almost pure. The sense of speed is captured perfectly, via an effect in the default camera angle that makes it seem as if the wind is buffeting the camera about. It's a bit dizzying, but it absolutely adds to the experience. Menus and options screens take the Turn 10 approach, opting for cleanliness over information saturation. All told, this is an exceptional-looking game.

Sound is an area that is sometimes easy to overlook in racing games; and quite often it really takes some really incredible audio design to get our attention. GRID Autosport does not have audio design along that level of quality, but it does get the job done. Of course, making a welcome return is the driver name system that has in-game characters referring to you by name (provided your surname is reasonably common), but that's beside the point; what does that matter when you've come to get your eardrums blown out by the power on display? Well, if that's what you've come for, this game might disappoint a bit. But frankly, this isn't what you should be coming to this game for.


GRID Autosport is all about putting you in real cars and letting you vie for dominance across a number of real and fictional tracks. But where this game excels is in its flexibility and commitment to diversity. This is not a racer for those who only like participating in a single type of racing event; instead, this is a multidisciplinary gauntlet runner that gives you as many choices as it possibly can before buckling under the weight of its own ambitions. And incredibly, it does just about everything exceptionally well.

Tying the entire experience together is the robust Career Mode, which encourages you to partake in its depth of choices. Not all of them are created equal, and some are stronger than others, but nothing is outright bad. The event types span across five main disciplines: Touring, Endurance, Street, Drift, and Open Wheel. The framework remains, however: this is a high contact racing game that will more often than not have you sandwiched into a series of increasingly tenuous formations -- that is, until you pluck up the confidence to make a move. Fans of pack racing will find this game absolutely irresistible.

The online play is also very well-implemented; if you can grab eleven of your own friends, you can alienate them all by driving aggressively. After all, it's always an absolute hoot to make that one little adjustment that inevitably ends with one of your opponents spinning off the road into a position where their hopes of being first, second, or even tenth across the finish line are impossible to salvage.


Having reviewed GRID 2, I can say with no hesitation that GRID Autosport is much more difficult than its predecessor. For a time, Codemasters seemed to have made a habit of making racers that emphasized the virtue of being a pick-up-and-play racer; something that neither Gran Turismo nor Forza Motorsport could ever claim to be. While GRID Autosport still seems more dedicated to that ideal than most of its contemporaries, it has definitely seen a shift towards realism. Every corner, every pass, and every straightaway must be fought for here, and mistakes aren't as easy to forgive as they were in the past, flashback mechanic aside.

But like all good racers of this type, the tools are there for those who truly wish to learn. A wide variety of assists are available for those who really want to acclimate themselves to the game. Stubborn novices who are just used to t-boning their opponents as a means of negotiating a hairpin turn will not find any solace in this game, and that's a very good thing.

Game Mechanics:

A racing game's most important part is its driving model, and thankfully, that is something GRID Autosport absolutely nails. Cars carry with them a sense of weight and power; they always demand your utmost attention and care when negotiating the numerous twists and turns of the game's several tracks. One mistake can cost you the race; this game has no rubberbanding as far as I can tell, and it expects quite a lot from you. If you're going to be bold enough to make contact with your fellow racers, you'd better be prepared to deal with the aftermath, whatever it may be.

One thing I found more of a curiosity than anything else is the team commands. In the heat of the moment, issuing orders for an on-track teammate driver to stir things up and potentially give you an in to where the top drivers jostle for the coveted number one position, it can feel like a chess match. A chess match moving in excess of 100 miles per hour. It's neat to feel like you're part of something bigger, even if you're not; watching the impressive artificial intelligence exploit and fake out their competition is almost enough to pull your eyes off of your current path.

GRID Autosport isn't the best, most consistent or most cohesive racing experience on the market, but it does a whole lot -- and well, at that.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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