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BAM. Ride Along – GRID 2 (Okutama Touge)

The Skyline GT-R (R32) is back in action, taking it to the native mountains in Okutama for some 1v1 with the GC Auto GC10-V8. Given the GT-R relies on the torque of that straight 6 turbo to pull ahead, how will it do against a V8 opponent laying it down in RWD? It’s up to the AI and the roadway to decide that.

Okutama is a powerful track in either configuration, the downhill helps level the playing field in acceleration while the tough initial corners allow drivers to pursue the fastest lines they can to pull ahead and leave the challenger in the dust. It’s a delicate blend but on the track it just looks like a mad dash to victory at any cost, cutting corners as tight as possible to save seconds and speed.

The GT-R came out ahead, normally the opening section is the attack point I like to use on Okutama. The GT-R has great traction and power where you can just leave it wide open with a hard flick of the car and push on your way. Since the AI tries to go for standard grip and high traction through the course it’s a weakness you’ll see no matter what the difficulty. Even if the AI goes in at full speed through the corner, they generally lose on the braking contest coming in and you can chisel away a lead.

When all else fails the other defining points for attack are the base of the downhill before the first bridge, there’s an S section that comes up and with the right setup it’s possible to slide the car and avoid some of that drag from the slope of the corner by coming in tight and early. Later in the second run I’m not quite able to get the gap I need so I rely on the curving back section before the tunnel to leave the car wide open and cut as straight as I can through the switches.

Okutama has many points to gain an advantage on an opponent or equal the playing ground, in Touge it’s a challenge of picking where you’ll make those moves and if you can avoid being disqualified for contact.

My setup:
AMD FX-8320 @ 4.4GHz
ASUS R9 290 DirectCUII @ 1000/1250
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3
Logitech G27 Racing Wheel
DXRacer King Series – OH/KS57/NB

First Impressions – GRID Autosport PC

GRID Autosport launched during the Steam sale in June, not the ideal situation but at least they marked it down. After having some time hands on with the game though I do question if it should have gone up to full price. Granted it’s pretty, has variety in disciplines for racing and has a familiar and rounded appeal for racing fans but… the execution is where things get a bit strange.

I admit I enjoyed GRID 2, it was simple to jump into and didn’t require much thought, I do enjoy car setups and minor tuning options and it was something I could just jump into. That said… GRID Autosport could offer that same appeal but the assist system really restricts the enjoyment. On top of that, things requested by the community like cockpit view have been implemented but in a limited sense, using blur and low detail models for the impression.

Personally, I don’t like the cockpit view all that much, the new over the hood drivers side mount is actually very alluring to me though as the camera is no longer dead center in the car like I’m driving a McLaren F1 and allows me a bit of genuine perspective on where the car limits are instead of just guessing and using experience to fudge the corners. It’s a good catch by what seemed like a less vocal audience compared to the cockpit users.

GRIDAutosport_avx 2014-07-01 13-10-39-31

Overall the impressions aren’t awful but the handling makes it hard for new players to integrate into the game, the overbearing TCS and ASC drag the car down, I actually did a test video to showcase this.

The brakes / car computer take over going into the corners and even with a high speed entry leaning for oversteer, it corrects. While this could be somewhat helpful later on, in the early stages of the game it murders the little performance cars like Golf have in the game.

There’s more to explore and a deeper experience with the season mode to experience but it’s a bit of a missed opportunity as an update to the series as it lead up with so much talk about the return to TOCA and improvements. There are some around but it could have come so much further and hit all the audiences.

Test system:

AMD FX 8320 @ 4.4GHz
ASUS R9 290 DirectCU II
Logitech G27 (Manual, H Pattern, Clutch)
GRID Autosport with 4K pack

GRID 2 Demolition Derby DLC arrives but is anyone home?

So the online community on GRID 2 is a bit hit and miss, and by that I mean it misses… often. Players when you find them tend to love crashing, other times they’re not around at all.

Demolition Derby is a revival mode for fans, hoping to bring back some of the enthusiasm and appease those who prefer to wreck cars instead of racing them. It’s a good mode, don’t get me wrong but the absent player base really doesn’t help the situation. I ended up opting out of a 30 minute wait cycle for players and instead jumping into custom events to get a taste of the carnage. It’s not overly brutal and the AI is a bit bossy but I think there’s another level waiting to happen by playing with human opponents that have no intent to finish the race with a functional car.

Check out the video demo for custom event Demolition Derby, hopefully I’ll see more people online in the coming week or this is really just a dead release.