Jay is an up-and-coming gamer specialising in sci-fi, action and sport games.
From the moment that you open Grid Autosport for the first time, you know that it is a serious racing simulation. The opening sequence shows multiple action shots of every type of racing discipline and, even in handheld mode, the graphics are amazing!
Pros and Cons in the Tutorial
After the opening shots, you are put straight into a touring car race, my favourite discipline, and given a short tutorial. Everything seems perfect until you realise just how awkward it feels to race using digital triggers rather than the analogue ones which are adopted by both Xbox and PlayStation. However, this isn't Grid's fault; the Switch console is programmed to only use digital triggers, a small inconvenience that must be overcome.
One thing that sets Grid Autosport apart from other racing games is the unique "flashback" feature. This feature allows for a certain number of rewinds per race. For example, you might be in first place on the home straight when another racer cruises past you on your left, then you rewind a couple of seconds and instantly steer to the side to block the racer, ensuring your win. This is a very fun feature that relaxes the otherwise serious racing sim.
After the tutorial, you are left to explore Grid's multitude of race modes, disciplines and tracks. Everything is good again!
One of Grid Autosport's highlights on the PlayStation and Xbox is the career mode and it is still the main feature of the Switch counterpart.
When you begin a new career, you must first choose what discipline you would like to race in for your first season. You can choose from: Touring, Street, Open-Wheel, Endurance or Tuner. Seasons typically last from 3–6 races but are varied, often including a cup race: a race using an unusual car which results don't count towards your team total.
Oh yes, teams! In career mode, you are put on a racing team at the beginning of every season. At first, you will only have the choice of a couple of the worse teams, but as you progress you will begin to receive more offers, eventually being able to race for Ravenwest Team or Team Kickers. Depending on which team you choose, you will be paired up with a different CPU racer.
Throughout races, you can communicate with your teammate, asking them to race either more defensively or attacking. You can also talk to your "pit-crew" to get information such as how far away you are from your rival (a CPU racer, similar to your level, chosen each race) or a damage report.
You gain XP for each season you complete and once you have reached a certain threshold in each discipline, you will be entered into the Grid Grandslam: a season in which you will compete a number of races for every discipline. There are three Grandslams at intervals of increasing XP and once you have completed one, you cannot play it again.
Overall, I think that career mode is a lot of fun, but after a while, every race feels the same and it becomes just a grind for XP. Time for something different . . .
When you finally get bored of career mode, there are always custom championships! Custom championships allow for a more arcade-like race mode where you get to mix and match cars, tracks and race types that would not normally be seen together. It also adds a few different types of race such as; eliminator, demolition derby and checkpoint. My personal favourite is demolition derby where you race around a figure-of-eight dirt track in a muscle car, crashing into your opponents whilst trying to avoid being crashed yourself.
Custom championships are a very fun and a welcome break from the seriousness of career mode as well as a good way to try out new cars and tracks.
When released, Grid Autosport had no form of local or online multiplayer but has since updated to include four-way splitscreen local multiplayer. This proved to be exactly what you would expect with no noticeable draw-backs.
Grid plans to release an online multiplayer update soon but it has not stated a specific date yet. When it is released, I hope to see some features such as the weekly challenges that we saw in the Xbox and PlayStation versions.
Cars and Tracks
One of the most obvious aspects of any racing game are the cars and tracks.
Choosing a Car
Grid Autosport comes with 100 cars across each of the five disciplines. You can switch the livery on all of these cars with a choice from team racing colours to plain colours.
One thing that was instantly noticeable when playing Grid was the awkward way of choosing cars. Before you even get to see them, you have to choose the discipline and then class in which you want to race. This makes choosing a specific car very difficult. When you finally get to choosing a ride, the menu becomes very slow, unlike anything else in the game. It takes around 30 seconds to switch from one car to another, making it hard to conduct comparisons.
Another thing that I noticed after only playing for a little while, was that quite a few cars don't have the full selection of camera modes. In general, you can choose from; close follow, far follow, bonnet, front bumper or interior. Many cars don't have the interior option which is many people's (including my) favourite view. This is only a small hiccup however, on a whole, every car feels unique and you will soon find your favourite.
Moving onto tracks. There are 22 tracks in total which, at first, may not sound like very many. However, most tracks have various routes and with the option to race at different times of the day, there are actually over 100 possible races. The tracks include real life ones such as Brands Hatch and also ones created by Grid like Autosport Speedway. Every track has beautiful scenery and the actual ones are meticulously copied to seem just like the real thing.
Conclusion: A Good Switch Port
Overall, Grid Autosport has been transferred to the Nintendo Switch very well, with good graphics and most of the features which we have seen in all of its other versions. Like any game, it has it's flaws but is definitely an enjoyable play and it is good to see a serious racing game on the Nintendo Switch. It costs around £30 which is a fair price for all that you receive with no DLCs or extras that need to be bought.
I would definitely recommend this game!