Review: Grid Autosport (360)
As a keen player of racing games and lover of Hot Wheels and believing the two belong in bed together producing 5000 horsepower babies made of chrome and lust for adventure, I was a bit wary of this game at first. I usually tend towards the Need for Speed/ Midnight Club type racing games where you get electric harpoons and such and you can smash your opponents into other cars for advantage and hilarity, rather than the super serious and technical Forza Motorsport end of things, but I am glad to say my wariness was largely misplaced.
Grid has a Career mode, custom cup and online. I tried custom cup first where you have complete freedom to set up a race in any of the four disciplines and got absolutely buried by the AI. Repeatedly. Weeping with rage I decided to have a crack at the career mode and here is where the game opened up, career mode is huge and requires you to conquer each of the four disciplines in a series of races and championships. As you complete races you earn XP which allows access to higher level events, tougher opponents and makes you more attractive to sponsors.
Each sponsor you race for has certain feats you must achieve in the race series, such as finishing ahead of a certain racer or getting at least 7th place as well as bonus feats for extra XP and glory, and you also have a specific rival to beat in the events to brighten your star still further and make sure you get more choice of offers from sponsors. Impress your current sponsor and they’ll up the ante to stop you leaving, which manifests itself in more XP and greater control over the pre-race car tuning options. These choices as well as plenty of menu options allow you to wildly vary how challenging the game is to suit yourself and is sure to make for a decent amount of replayability.
The tuning options can give you a real edge, allowing you to mess around with gear ratios, the differential, ride height and so on to tailor your car to the event and to your preferred style. It’s not as massively detailed as the options on Forza but the mods make a real difference and their relative simplicity mean that you can jump straight in and customize your vehicle, which is well worth doing otherwise you end up trailing round the track in a automotive centipede wishing for self replenishing nitrous or electric harpoons just to get past the insolent backside of the guy in front. Hating him, hating life.
A cool feature is the ‘flashback’; if you mess up badly you can deploy it to rewind time and drive the last 10 seconds again. You can select how many you have and the fewer you choose the more XP you’ll make. Most of the game options have a similar mechanic and the easier you make it the less bonus XP you’ll get. Despite its technicality the game has enough difficulty options to make it accessible no matter your level of skill, so if you are used to the less realistic street racing games it needn’t be too intimidating. My big gripe with the game is that every screen you go through requires loading and it can get extremely tedious, especially when you start a new season and there are lots of decisions to make and loading screens to endure.
It’s not really my kind of game because I do prefer the street racing titles, though it’s good to actually have to think about driving rather than using outlandish weaponry and forgiving physics to achieve victory and is a fine, solid racing game that will keep technically minded gamers occupied for a good long time. There’s an online option, of course, to pit your skills against the world if you get sick of AI and you can buy extra cars and online garage slots from the online store as well as a neat ‘boost bundle’ that increases your XP and in game cash earnings by 50%.
If you tend more towards ‘proper’ racing games you could do a lot worse than Grid Autosport.
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