Desire for redemption

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
Author and references

Admitting that you have made a mistake and retracing your steps, perhaps spurred on (and supported) by those who have been disappointed, is not exactly common behavior, much less in the ruthless videogame industry, where nowadays they are often the beatings of the shareholders - and therefore the trends market - to indicate the horizon to developers, rather than the wishes of the most passionate and loyal users.

The unexpected and at least sudden process of redemption, with a lot of mea culpa in the background, is this time touched (with full merit) to Codemasters, the famous British software house devoted to racing games which, with a sudden blow of the sponge, has decided to cancel the "daring" solutions adopted in GRID 2 and to fully embrace advice and suggestions from users. Like? Pulling out of the cylinder GRID: Autosport. Surprisingly announced during the recent Level Up 2014 in Berlin, the new chapter of the saga (heir to TOCA) was in fact produced in a particularly short period of time, thanks to the assets and experience gained by the developers and, above all, the feedback. of players disappointed with GRID 2, which came out exactly one year ago. As good as it was, in fact, the second chapter of the excellent Race Driver: GRID (2008) did not know how to grasp the essence of the original production, slipping on an excessively arcade gameplay and too prone to drifting, leaving inexplicably at home the visuals from the cockpit (beyond the institutional excuses on streaming circuits) and for other reasons, which the most passionate about the brand have absolutely not liked. GRID: Autosport was born therefore from the need to fill that "void of affection" caused by GRID 2 but above all to bring the series back to its former glory, in a sort of farewell to the old generation of consoles, before devoting itself to the new systems. The latest GRID is in fact exclusive to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and after recently testing a tasty preview code on Steam, we got our hands on the final version of the product. These are our impressions.





GRID: Autosport represents the sum of the experience acquired in these successful years

Password: fun

Although in recent years it has lost part of its commercial appeal, as well as the evolutionary momentum catalyzed by pioneering works such as the first Gran Turismo, the multifaceted racing game genre is still today among the most popular and healthy, driven by the visceral passion for the world of motorsport and in particular for cars, whose charm goes beyond epochs and fashions.

To seal the boundless passion for the four wheels there will be the next autumn-winter videogame season, so rich that it will bring to our screens an impressive number of ambitious projects (Forza Horizon 2, Project Cars and Drive Club, just to name a few) capable of to satisfy any palate and, in some cases, to push an even on the originality pedal, thinking of the vast Ubisoft The Crew. While waiting to embrace the next, exciting future, racing game enthusiasts can satisfy their hunger for engines and doors with a Codemasters present that is anything but obvious, built around the fun factor before any other feature. Framed in the crowded middle ground between rigorous simulators (Assetto Corsa) and pure arcades (Ridge Racer), GRID: Autosport represents in fact the sum of the experience acquired by the developers in these years of successes and (few) missteps, including the best spirit of the top productions declined at the service of fans, thanks to a very careful analysis of the feedback.. Just think of the Touring class, included by popular acclaim and probably the best of the entire lot available in the game, being able to evoke the ancient glories of TOCA Race Driver 3 and earlier.



But let's proceed in order. After creating the profile, perhaps by connecting it to Racenet, the backbone of the online experience in Codemasters racing games, the player can choose whether to engage in the long and layered career in single player, face a customized competition, launch into network multiplayer or offline (shared screen) and set a plethora of options in the appropriate menu, drawn in the wake of the previous works signed by the British software house. Beating heart of GRID: Autosport is undoubtedly the main mode for the single player, divided, to descend, in seasons, championships and events, in turn proposed for five main categories of cars, namely Touring Car, Resistance, Open Wheels, Processing and City Circuits, also available in different power classes. Variety is therefore a central aspect and the player can decide whether to specialize in a certain discipline or to prove to the whole world that he is a complete driver. After all, reaching specific skill levels in all categories allows access to the prestigious GRID Championships, the broadest and most complex experience that the game can offer, where competitions of various kinds and rhythms alternate. After selecting one of the disciplines and the offer of the first sponsors for the new season, the player is encouraged to give their best not only to conquer the podium, but also to attract the interest of the most prestigious brands, which allow them to drive better and better vehicles. to obtain more conspicuous rewards (read experience), while offering increasingly stimulating objectives and challenges.


In each event, in pure Codemasters style, there is always a rival to beat, and sometimes you have to contend with your teammate, to whom we can give orders for a more or less aggressive driving, in order to get the best placement in the ranking. builders (often linked to the above objectives). Between one race and another it is sometimes necessary to participate in special single-make races called CUPs, exhibitions with exotic and classic cars (Shelby Cobra, Mini, Lancia Delta, McLaren F1 and so on) which further increase the variety, already catalyzed by the great difference between the five main disciplines. To reach the top of the rankings in all specialties, dozens and dozens of hours of gameplay are required, and the campaign events, increasingly long and complex as you level up, offer an exciting challenge able to keep the player's interest alive. above all thanks to the possibility of switching from one discipline to another when desired. Curiously, unlike the online component and many other similar titles, in the single player career there are no virtual dealerships where to buy the cars, but they are made available by the sponsors based on the competition to be faced.


The right compromise

In our recent preview, based on a preview code, we underlined the differences and peculiarities of the various disciplines available, characteristics that we can easily subscribe to even in the review.

As we specified, the Touring class is probably the most interesting of the whole package thanks to the race dynamics devoted to contact and aggressive driving, while maintaining the need to stay well focused on the track. In such a context, the hybrid driving model between simulation and arcade is enhanced, and the resulting fun is simply incomparable, especially considering the 16 cars involved in the brawl. The different subclasses of power and genre, which include, among others, classic cars (Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500) and Super Tourer (Ford Falcon FG), also increase the sense of progression within the category, offering the player the possibility to improve with the right learning curve. Another feature of this discipline are the two rounds to be tackled (with the grid reversed) on the race weekend and the extra point in the standings for those who win the pole position in qualifying. Endurance races, on the other hand, put us behind the wheel of much more powerful and nervous vehicles, such as the Lola B12 / 80 and the McLaren 12C GT3, where the characterizing element is represented by the wear of the tires. Aggressive driving is generally not recommended and it is necessary to maintain a constant race pace, however it seems that the first drivers controlled by the CPU do not suffer excessively from wear problems, forcing the player to real feats to obtain good placings.

The difficulty is further increased by the fact that endurance races are run at night. The Open Wheels class is undoubtedly the most demanding from the point of view of the driving model, always ready to "betray" the driver when he exaggerates with the gas pedal or is not perfectly concentrated on the track, especially with electronic aids disabled. . The contacts between the single-seaters - also divided into various categories, but no F1 - are generally not recommended, however the effects are not as harmful as one might imagine: the wheels, in fact, do not overlap or fit together, and the contacts they penalize above all for the speed sustained by the chasing cars, much more motivated to overtake than in other categories. The Tuner discipline is the most varied of the whole package, offering heterogeneous competitions that alternate with each other. From simple muscle car races we move on to challenges against time at best of five laps - where it is necessary to pay attention to the "traffic" -, up to drifting competitions, a real game in the game with heavily modified Japanese cars for the specialty. The latter is divided into truly compelling qualifying and elimination rounds, in which you have to brush perfect drift curves to get the best score from the judges. As pointed out in our previous test, the excessive sensitivity of the steering and accelerator make these cars a real nightmare to be controlled with the steering wheel, making the use of the joypad much preferable unlike all other disciplines. The last category available is the one called Street Racing and, as the name suggests, projects the player into very tight challenges on the streets of some large cities like Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Barcelona and Paris.

In these competitions, contacts and accidents constantly play a fundamental role, and "survival" often counts more than clean driving, especially when fighting at the center of the pack. The roster of cars available for the specialty ranges from the common Golf, Focus and Mini up to "Hyper Car" such as the Bugatti Veyron, the Pagani Zonda or the recent and very bad McLaren P1, passing through the Gran Turismo (Alfa Romeo 8C) and coupe of various kinds (M3 E92). All in all the driving model of GRID: Autosport is extremely enjoyable and solid, thanks to a delicious recipe that enhances its depth (in particular without electronic aids) while not giving up accessibility and fun. In certain categories there is still a certain tendency to drift, but not at the levels criticized in the second chapter of the series, especially when using a good steering wheel. For anyone who has a peripheral with 900 ° rotation, we suggest eliminating the "dead zone" by 5% and reducing the steering angle, in this case too simulated oriented and not suitable for the frenetic gameplay of GRID. Finally, the return of the internal views amplifies the involvement and does justice to those who had rightly suffered the inexplicable removal, while the rendering of the accidents is rather accurate, although sometimes not particularly realistic in terms of damage suffered.

M'illumino d'immense

The fact that the game has not been developed for next-generation consoles should absolutely not deceive the players: on PC and at maximum graphic detail, in fact, the Ego Engine is presented in great dust, offering not only breathtaking views, supported by a valuable lighting system (during the day and at sunset), but also a fluidity and scalability uncommon.

Among the best business cards for the technical skills of GRID: Autosport there is certainly the Paris circuit, perhaps aboard a Pagani Huayra, an ideal context to test the evolution of the sun's rays while caressing the sinuous lines of the Italian berlinetta. Nothing that makes you cry a miracle from the point of view of the polygonal size, the shaders or the filters applied, but the visual rendering is still of the highest level and almost unsettling with the details set on Ultra. Too bad for some uninspired settings (Chicago) and, above all, for the polygonal models of the cars, a couple of inches below those seen in other racing games: they are in fact poor in details, sometimes angular and with poorly defined textures, although being perfectly shaped and proportioned. The interiors are the most overlooked element, but thanks to the blur applied by the developers they are able to "endure" when focused on the track. As far as optimization is concerned, the advanced graphic options menu offers a range of settings that are nothing short of gargantuan: night lighting, shadows, advanced fog, particles, crowd, fabrics, soft ambient occlusion, terrain, details, objects, reflections, water. , advanced lighting, global lighting, texture quality, shader quality and smoke shadows are just a part of the items you can set, all in favor of scalability.

A close collaboration with Intel has also allowed the usability of the title even on systems that are not particularly performing, although it is of course necessary to sacrifice some of the more advanced settings. Among the aspects that most surprised us is the local multiplayer in shared screen, anchored at 60 fps with 12 cars on the track: it is an incredibly engaging and challenging two-player experience, which evokes the pleasure of playing shoulder to shoulder. shoulder also on PC. As far as online multiplayer is concerned, an excellent job has been done thanks to the total support of Racenet, with the possibility of creating your own club and challenging those of other players. There is a fairly complete livery editor (not at the level of those present in Forza Motorsport) and you can also access a series of challenges constantly updated by the development team. The credits earned in the various online modes can be spent to buy cars (both used and new) in virtual dealerships or repair those already owned, bearing in mind that maintenance costs rise with wear on the track. Since the game has not yet been released on the market at the moment we cannot comment on the solidity of the netcode, however, considering the past works of Codemaster there should be no particular problems from this point of view.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • The editorial team uses the ASUS CG8250 Personal Computer
  • Intel Core i7 2600 processor
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card
  • Windows 7 operating system

Minimum requirements

  • Processore Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4Ghz o AMD Athlon X2 5400+
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Intel HD3000 o AMD HD2000 o NVIDIA Geforce 8000
  • 15 GB of disk space

Comment

Version tested: PC Resources4Gaming.com

8.6

Readers (60)

7.9

Your vote

GRID: Autosport is a greeting, or rather, a bow to the generation that gave birth to the series and, probably, the last act of the versatile Ego Engine as we know it, waiting to discover the specific projects for the new consoles and the physiognomy of the next F1. Featuring delicious gameplay halfway between simulation and arcade, the title of Codemasters is exalted in the Touring class and offers a long-lived and engaging experience, both in single player and on the competitive front thanks to the integration of Racenet. It probably lacks the so-called "quid" to be counted among the sacred monsters of the genre, but if you appreciated the first Race Driver: GRID or the TOCA series it is undoubtedly a title not to be missed. While not coming out on new generation consoles, on PC it offers a spectacular and extremely scalable technical sector, enhanced by a valuable lighting system that shows the side only in night races. Enjoyable both with a joypad and with a properly calibrated steering wheel, the title is recommended to any racing game enthusiast, without particular reservations.

PRO

  • Long-lived and exciting
  • The Touring class is pure fun
  • Perfect mix of arcade and simulation elements
  • Wonderful lighting effects ..
AGAINST
  • ..except at night
  • Unrefined car models and interior view
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