I was really quite disappointed with GRID 2. Not particularly because it was a bad racer but because it felt like a step backwards from the first GRID. At least it did to me. GRID: Autosport is making itself out to offer pretty much everything in one nice tidy racer package, and avoiding being thought of as a sequel to GRID 2.
Autosport offers five disciplines, Touring, Endurance, Open wheel (basically F1), Tuner and Street. I reckon that should just about cover everything. Assuming there’s a decent roster of cars to back it up there are clearly enough disciplines to make sure Autosport keeps us coming back for more many hours down the road.
Swapping between disciplines it becomes very obvious that they’re not just for show too. With the difference in cars, tracks and race types there is a definitive line drawn between each discipline that keeps them separated from each other. Although in the preview code I played there wasn’t an enormous roster of vehicles and upgrades the groundwork is there ready for the full release.
The handling models have that familiar GRID sliding feel that makes tight races all the more exciting but it’s clear that Codemasters are perfecting their formula with the franchise. The handling never feels overly simplistic but ensures GRID doesn’t fall into the trap that some simulators can and forget to actually let you have any fun. If GRID has always done one thing right it’s excitement.
The visuals are everything we’ve come to expect from GRID and the tracks always seem to have even more detail than the car models. Which, truth be told, is the right way to do it. How many of us play racers from the bumper cam where you can’t see the car anyway? In fairness GRID’s handling model does at least give you a fighting chance of playing from a third person view but it’s still not the same. With GRID constantly staring at the track for hour after hour isn’t a problem and Autosport is looking good so far, especially the textures on the asphalt and tarmac.
Most importantly I was elated to see the return of many of my favourite features from the first GRID that had disappeared on GRID 2. There’s an XP bonus that increases as you increase the challenge by changing some, or all, of the many difficulty options (like Forza). Better still is the return of your team mate and team objectives. You aren’t required to arbitrarily make it to first place from last place race after race. There are realistic goals that you and your AI driver can achieve together. I’m so glad Codemasters put this back on, I loved this feature in the first GRID.
So even though I only got my hands on a relatively small amount of the content it looks like Autosport will offer there’s a definite feeling that everything’s in place. The mechanics are solid, there’s a decent damage model and everything’s looking rather polished to be honest. With a ton of cars, upgrades and races Autosport just might be what GRID 2 should have been.