Driving. Is there really anything better? Nothing but yourself, some tunes and the short windy track with more sharp corners than your average coffee table. Thats right, I'm talking about racing. In a game. You didn't think I meant real life did you? No way, not a fan of driving round busy roads to the latest super market and back in my beat up old fiat panda. Anyway, if you know racing games then you surely no about Codemasters (and if you don't then shame on you!) and these guys know their stuff when it comes to a decent adrenaline fix!
From the popular F1 games to the historic Colin McRae Rally titles, even to Fuel or Dirt, you can immediately tell theres so history within this team and their latest game looks set to be yet another amazing journey in the world of racing.
I am of course talking about GRID Autosport, which is set to hit store shelves later this week (June 27th) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, and lucky for you lovely lot I have had the chance to get my hands behind the wheel just a little bit earlier than launch, all in order to give you the heads up on what you can expect.
Hey, I’m just nice like that I know.
Well, for starters, GRID Autosport looks beautiful. Sure, its not next-fen I know and I’m sure for many of you that could be a little off putting but firstly remember that great graphics do not equal a great game and secondly, GRID actually manages to pull of something pretty solid. Don't expect too much from the gleeful yet plastic on lookers, or glare to far into the distance but keep your eyes on the road and gorgeous cars and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were playing Forza or a next-gen Gran Turismo (get the time in now as who knows if that will ever actually happen)
And with such a variety of tracks and vehicles to play with, theres a lot of beauty in the world of GRID Autosport! Enjoy it!
Damage is a very really concept here, this isn't your average racer, aiming to look good while playing like bumper cars, oh no. If you prang your car, you’ll know it. The first time I turned to late and went head first into a barrier, not only was my bumper crushed and bonnet torn, Id managed to near enough destroy my steering column, forcing me to run the rest of the race while constantly veering to the right hand side!
Theres a lesson to be learned here, although I didn't necessarily learn it as I still crossed the line in 2nd place, but for future reference you should take care of your car and hopefully it should take care of you!
Mistakes will happen but thankfully Codemasters have thrown you a bit of a life preserver in the form of the ‘Flashback’. If you make a boo boo or feel that you could have handled that last turn just a bit better, hit the Y button and you’ll rewind back a few seconds allowing you that second chance you always wanted. You can even get a third and fourth if you fancy!
Now this obviously isn't that fresh of an idea but in all honesty its the first time Ive found it to be a teaching tool. Much like Super Time Force (a time bending shooter from Capy Games) each time I rewound time, I could take a moment to really look around me and learn exactly where I went wrong, making me that much a better driver for next time. Teach a man to fish eh?
While you’re free to enjoy one of races, GRID offers a pretty extensive career mode that sees you rise above the ranks of some really skill full drivers, in 5 particular disciplines.
Tourning, Endurance, Open Wheel, Tuner and Street meaning theres truly something for every race fan out there. If you love Formula 1 then hey, jump into Open Wheel. If you fancy yourself as the next Vin Diesel, then Street is definitely your thing (just don't expect all the gangsta speak or gats’ and half naked ladies)
Each discipline challenges you to utilise a completely different skill set for each. While I found wide turns at speed helped for street racing, Open Wheel really pushed me to maintain a tight control over ever curve of the road, lest I ran over white line only to be rewarded with a penalty.
This focus on different driving skills makes tuning your car all the more important. Its lucky then, that GRID offers you a fairly deep set of tweaks and tune ups. Before each race I found it extremely helpful to balance my differential setting, increasing it allowed me to handle corners better on those tight tracks, while lowering it gave me a much steadier grip for speedy straight runs. You can change it all, from Brake Bias or Gear Ratios to Suspension and Ride Height.
During your career you’ll have to choose a sponsor for each season, all of which will offer you a car and partner while asking you to fulfil a certain set of tasks. Your main challenge will be to achieve a certain position at the end of the season, both as a team and an individual. Luckily I was only pushed to reach 4th with 6th as a second best conciliation. The better you do, the more sponsors who will want you on their team next season, opening the door to better cars and even partners.
You’ll also find a list of smaller, short term goals which all go towards boosting your XP which is crucial for unlock parts and upgrades to boost your cars performance over the edge. These start off as little goals such as ‘hold 1st for 1 whole lap’ and eventually move up to ‘don't hit any other vehicles for the duration of the race’. The challenges really serve to pile on the pressure and can push a race from difficult to extremely tense. I lost count of the amount of times I almost came first and was pipped to the post at the last.
GRID Autosport really was a nice surprise, it offers a real deep experience for those more accustomed to racing and driving simulators, but is still wholly accessible for those in search of a quick adrenaline rush!