Codemasters have built up a die hard fan base when it comes to the Grid series of games, a fan base that was sore to say the least at Grid 2. Codemaster admitted to going in a different direction in Grid 2, one that lost some realism and caused outrage among the fans. With Grid Autosport they hope to re-establish the series and bring those fans back into the fold. We had the chance to get some hands-on time with Grid Autosport and try out some of what it has to offer, and I can tell you that the series is back with a big bang! Grid Autosport will be available on June 27th in the UK and Europe for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

Sometimes when we get to preview a game there is not enough on offer on the day to make a fair assessment of how it plays, that was not the case with Grid Autosport. We were able to sample each of the five disciplines, Touring, Endurance, Open Wheel, Tuner and Street. All of these disciplines require a totally different approach to your racing, and indeed the handling of the car. Take for instance the Endurance events, these will require you to be a thinking driver, conserving tyres and waiting for the right time to make your move, after all it is an endurance race. Having played all of the Grid games at one time or another, Grid Autosport returns to a racing experience that is definitely more grip focused than it’s ‘floatier’ predecessor. This results in cars much less likely to unpredictably throw their back-end out at the mere tap of the brake pedal. They’re slightly less forgiving when it comes to braking distance and hitting the apex of a corner is more important in order to optimally accelerate out of it. This level of precision makes every discipline more realistic and skill driven when it comes to the events.

Driving in the Open Wheel events will require the highest of precision in order to finish on the podium, while the Street and Touring car events are a bit more forgiving to the odd slip-up or minor rub. I also tried out the drifting events in the Tuner discipline, this is probably the only one that makes it easy for you to throw that back end out and screech around each corner in a plume of smoke. It all may sound easy but it is decidedly harder to do while maintaining control of the car. In order to win these events you have to stay on track, take the corners in a drift while sliding as close to the cones as possible. I have to say I do need a lot more practice at this event than I first realised to the point where I would call myself a ‘Noob’. You will also find the usual options for multiplayer, car tuning, and driver stats, some of which we were unable to try on the day but have no doubt they will please fans and newcomers alike.

One major contention in Grid 2 was the cockpit view, which I am happy to say has returned in Grid Autosport, not only has it returned, it has been improved from the first game in the series. Codemasters were quick to point out that they have taken all of the feedback from the fans, to make what they called the perfect Grid game, one that will not only keep the series alive but one that will be remembered as one of the best. The development of the game has taken around 12 months but in that time they have definitely improved on many aspects of the game. This time round you will find more than 100 courses held in over 20 locations, with over 80 cars to race including some classics. This is on top of the new game modes, improved view points and handling, all combining in a definite feeling of true excitement that the series has returned to former glory.

After the disappointment of fans at Grid 2, Codemasters have almost come back with a feeling of having something to prove, unfinished business if you like. That unfinished business has resulted in all that Grid Autosport has to offer. Through the feedback of the hardcore fans they have managed to put together a very competent and beautiful racing game, one that shows the passion Codemasters have for the series, and for the fans. I left my time with Grid Autosport excited and somewhat surprised at what I had just played. With such a short development time, I was surprised at how much they have improved the formula and also had time to add in the extras. Grid Autosport just may be the game all the fans have been waiting on, it’s realistic in it’s handling, beautiful in it’s execution and above all it’s a joy to play. I have no complaints at this time other than I am still waiting to try out the full version, and you have no excuse no to get this game as soon as it hits the shelves.

Don’t forget June 27th will be the re-birth of Grid.