The GRID series has been the refuge of racing game fans who don’t want to touch a Need for Speed title and don’t have a console to play either Gran Turismo or Forza with. With that said, Codemasters seems to have grown accustomed to releasing racing games on a regular basis now, and the fear is that frequent new releases won’t be as high in quality as previous ones. But they already do that with their F1 games, and they did miss a few things in the development of GRID 2, so this new game is more of an attempt at some redemption, and it’s fairly successful at that.
GRID Autosport is a racing game by Codemasters, serving as the sequel to GRID 2 that was released a year ago. This game also uses the EGO 3 engine like with GRID 2, but this one has more bells and whistles to go with it. The developers did decide to stick with the PS3 and Xbox 360 for this version though, so it’s more like a highly-updated GRID 2 than a whole new game. It doesn’t mean that you get the same game with a few additions though as Codemasters did make an effort in adding a lot of the stuff that GRID 2 didn’t get to have.
It’s still pretty much the same arcade racing experience for the most part like with GRID 2, but the biggest difference is the much-demanded in-car view that wasn’t included in the previous game. Its absence was a big disappointment in an otherwise solid racing game, so much of the selling point in this new title is that feature. It may not seem like much to casual fans and gamers who aren’t that into racing games, but it really adds to the experience as you get to feel like you’re at the wheel of a machine with over 500 bHP under the hood, which is something that most people don’t get to experience in the real world and are looking for in a racing game like this.
The Autosport part of the title is emphasized in the different racing modes that you get to play around with, which is consistent throughout the GRID series. There are Touring, Endurance, Open Wheel, Tuner, and Street racing modes, each with their own roster of cars to choose from. You get to choose from some of the most desired supercars and hypercars in the current market, along with muscles, concepts, and highly-modified customs. Once you’ve picked your car, you get to run wild in a mix of racing circuits both fictional and those set in the real world, and you also get street circuits in some major cities located all over the globe.
There are a lot more circuits here than what GRID 2 had, which adds to the racing challenge and replay value, especially if you’re the type who must get the fastest lap in all the tracks. That goes hand-in-hand with the improved car handling. The one in GRID 2 was pretty good, but it was also roughly similar with every car. That’s good for an arcade feel as it made powerslides easy enough to perform, but it does make the cars feel slightly redundant. While their differences in speed and acceleration do account for how hard it is to control the car, but there are also other factors involved in handling that you won’t find important unless you actually get to race extensively with different cars.
That has been solved in this game, and you get a lot more characteristics like how it was back in the first GRID, wherein it’s between simulation and arcade; it’s accurate enough to real life while still being pick-up-and-play fun. There’s now more going on when you’re looking for the best racing line in and out of every corner in every track, and there should be more decisions to be made whether you go on full-on attack mode or just hang back and wait for your chance to strike when trying to overtake an opponent.
Other than those additional features, it’s mostly an improvement over GRID 2 as a whole. From the singleplayer and multiplayer modes to the level of detail in the cars and racetracks that racing game fans can get to appreciate, this game is like a combination of the best parts in GRID 1 and 2.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8.5/10