Features// Grid Autosport

Posted 23 May 2014 15:00 by
Evan-Jones describes the general structure of Grid Autosport’s multiplayer: “The online side is about you as an individual. You’ll have a finite number of garage slots, and will be able to buy cars new or second-hand.

The vehicles have persistent mileage, and you need to pay to repair them; as you gain XP, you’ll unlock things like tuning options and custom liveries. But the longer you run a car, the more it costs to maintain so ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether to keep it, or sell it to open up an empty slot.”

Why so soon
One unusual aspect of Grid Autosport is that it will arrive barely a year after Grid 2. Evan-Jones maintains that unfinished business with Grid 2, and fan-feedback, led Codemasters to push on so quickly:

“We got to the end of Grid 2 and there was still a lot of fresh idea-generation going on within the dev team. People had lots of ideas about how we could push the tech a bit further on Grid 2, and we also found a lot of feedback from the community.

"There was a big shout for the internal Cockpit-Cam, which got lost due to the optimisation of Grid 2. So we thought: actually, we’ll just roll straight onto Autosport, get the same team working all the way through, and we were making big strides very quickly.

"We got 16 cars on-track and managed to optimise for that, rather than 12. With the track streaming-tech, which previously bumped Cockpit-Cam out, we were able to keep that. On the Flipside, the Dirt guys are loving it, because it means they’ve got more time.”

As soon as we got hands-on with Grid Autosport, any suspicious that it might be a rush-job evaporated. For a start, it looks superb, noticeably more realistic than Grid 2, with incredibly convincing particle effects (key when you’re drifting and generating clouds of tyre-smoke) and texture-work. It is without a doubt the finest-looking driving game on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

More importantly, it feels fantastic. The front-drive touring cars, for example, feel totally different to the rear-drive open-wheelers, in which you have to be much more precise when attacking corners at exactly the right speed.

The street races felt much like those in Grid 2 – frenetic and crowded, and often featuring powerful rear-drive beasts on tight, twisty circuits.

Meanwhile, the drifting proved much more rewarding than we expected; it required a bit of acclimatisation, but once we became attuned to the early turn-in and throttle lightness required, it provided much satisfaction (around a specially demarcated track at the Yas Marine circuit).

Endurance racing was trickier – but, again, very distinctive. The super-powerful cars required early braking and a certain amount of tiptoeing around corners, and you had to decide whether to be gung-ho at the start, in which case your tyres would go off, leaving you having to drive defensively in the latter stages.

You could question whether the world needs another Grid game so soon after the last one, but once you get your hands on Grid Autosport, it proves highly infectious.

It’s nicely structured, looks great and provides a greater range of interesting driving experiences than pretty much any of its peers that we can think of. In fact, it is surely destined to go down as the finest current-gen racing game ever – a last hurrah which may not be a must-buy but will reward those who get their hands on it.
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