Grid Autosport is a game originally released back in 2014 and is one of the many games finding itself ported onto the Switch. This will be the first serious racing sim game to grace the console. Grid Autosport isn’t exactly Forza material but it does have a lot of racing types from a wide range or racing disciplines from V8 Supercars to Formula A. It features 22 racing locations from all around the world. These include a lot of real-world tracks, a couple of fictitious tacks, and several street racing setups. There’s 103 cars total, but its yet to be announced if there will be more additions for the Switch version. They should. After all, it’s been enough time, you figure they could add in at least a couple of bonuses while they were porting it, right? Either way, as more hardcore racing simulator is severly need on the Switch platform, and hopefully Grid Autosport will be enough to fill that empty space Here’s the trailer.
With Grid Autosport announced for Nintendo Switch, we can hopefully look forward to even more racing games to fill up the empty desert that is its racing catalog. Last year we got Gear.Club Unlimited, and now a sequel is coming out in a matter of days. This new iteration of the formerly mobile phone racer comes with a new focus of 3 racing types. That’s asphalt, icy, and dirt. It is definitely far more on the side of being an arcade game, but a decent arcade game nonetheless. Especially since it features rewinding. That feature is almost an absolute must in modern racing games. In an old age where the moment you make one mistake and lose the entire race, new games decided that they will help you forgo this trouble with rewinding. It’s not going to guarantee you a win every time, but it helps to keep you from a bad losing streak. GCU2 will feature four player same screen co-op, a rarity in this age of games. Here’s the trailer as well.
Hooowooooowwwww! How about that. Some good racing games for the Switch! Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is out RIGHT NOW for full retail @ $59.99 on digital, meanwhile the physical release is surprisingly cheaper at $49.99. Meanwhile, Grid Autosport has a tentative “Coming 2019” release as of right now and will likely be the same price.
Forza Horizon 4 is the best racing game ever made.
No, wait, Forza Horizon 4 is the best current gen game ever made.
No no no, Forza Horizon 4 is the game ever made forever. End of review.
Okay, no. Fine, I’ll do a real review I guess. Forza Horizon 4 is the eleventh entry in the Forza racing series exclusively on Xbox One (and PC). It’s the racing game for people who love racing games, and also those who don’t. Developed by Turn 10 and Playground Games and published by Microsoft, it’s one of the only killer apps that the Xbox has in terms of exclusive properties. It’s hard to understand why it’s good, even for people who enjoy it. The game in general just has a way of accommodating all types of players. You can play it as a hardcore simulation racing experience full of professional competitors. Or, you can play it as an arcade racer with enemies who are dumb as bricks. Or, you could just ignore the entire game and make a name for yourself exclusively on making liveries and tuning setups for cars. In addition, you can also stare at and sit in the cars you purchased. How could you go wrong?
The power of the Xbox One is in full bloom on this game. Whether you’re playing it in glorious 4K on your X model, or just playing the vanilla version on your S model, Horizon 4 is absolutely stunning. It’s first party games like these that use the full potential of the Xbox’s capabilities. This game is the first one to feature changing seasons to keep the game lively. Every week, the game swaps between Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The appearance and condition of the large (but not too large) map change dramatically with every season, promising you a different experience every time you get on. Each one of these seasons is expressed in stunning detail, whether you’re driving across the frozen lake of winter or blowing through the foliage of autumn. Every car is excellently crafted. This is a perfect 1 to 1 model of their real-life counterparts. Not to mention the greatest looking rain effects ever, as the car you’re driving gets littered with tiny specks of water. They glisten on your hood and roof as you sprint through the picturesque city of fake Edinburgh.
This game has an astounding way of keeping you invested in the game. You are merely a competitor in the Horizon racing series, as opposed to being the boss in 3. The game conforms to suit the kind of racing you want to play. Four is the power number in this game. There are 4 racing types: Dirt, Cross Country, Street, and Road. The more you complete in a specific series, the more races of that type will appear on that map. For instance, street racing isn’t my bag, so I stick to playing the other types. There are only 3 street races on my map, but several dozen races of my preferred series dotting the landscape. The same goes for stunt challenges, four of which are: danger signs (jumps), drift zones, speed zones, and speed traps. If you like speed traps and beat them, you’ll get more. If you hate drift zones and don’t bother, there will only be a few.
The racing experience itself does a great showcase of the game to get you into the grove. Before you join the official Horizon roster, you have to prove yourself by playing “Year One” of the festival. You get to experience all four seasons in a very short period of time. During that, you learn of all these game types, as well as learning what earns you ‘influence,’ the progress tracker of the game that determines your driver level. You can get influence from practically everything, from races, painting, shopping, you name it. The game is also content throwing Wheelspins at you. Which sounds like gambling loot boxes, but you CANNOT buy them with real money. It’s simply a reward given to you for taking part in the game, and it is very generous.
Finally, the game also has 4 story modes: Stunt Driver, Drift Club, World’s Fastest Rentals, and LaRacer @ Horizon. These challenge races have replaced the “bucket list” of former games, giving you more context to a litany of racing challenges. It gives the game a lot more power to give you some context as to why you’re driving the car they gave you and what the challenge is. Of course, Horizon has its showcase races as well. Five races in which you perform a Top Gear style race against certain vehicles. You race a train, a large hovercraft, and a VTOL, among other things. Never a dull moment.
All the cars sound authentic. All the DJs are as annoying as real DJs. Voices are fine. The licensed OST is certainly a crowd-pleaser. Although it actually features fewer radio stations than the previous iteration, the lineup of songs still fit the mood of the game to a stunning degree. That is if you even care about the soundtrack. I do, but many gearheads may agree that the only sound they need to hear is the sound of the motor.
As stated before, you can play this game however you want. When you set up the difficulty, you can choose from more than 8 difficulty levels of driver AI. The AI itself is good because it simulates real drivers, rather than relying on cheap rubber band tactics like other games do. From there you can pick if you need traction control, stability control, or steering help. Then how to see how much help you need with breaks and whether or not you need a line to show you where to drive or just where to hit the brakes. Then you select transmission. Then you set if you want damage to be real, simulated, or completely absent. Then you select if you want the rewind feature enabled. All of these settings determine how much money you get at the end of a race. The more assistance you turn off, the more bonus money you earn. It absolutely is a “play how you want” game that will accommodate everyone.
There’s also a section in the menu screen called “My Horizon Life” that tells you what your progress in every facet of the game. The race types, exploration, photos, cars owned, paint jobs, online races. Absolutely everything is tracked and rewards you accordingly. And those wheelspins you earn are a fine motivator to keep you playing. That’s along with the perks you get just from getting points earned from driving, in or out of races. Also, every week, with the new season, comes new challenges. In the #Forzathon section of the menu, you can view challenges that are started daily, and up to 3 can be completed per day. There’s a challenge of the week that will ask you to buy a certain car or type of car and complete four challenges with it. Furthermore, all this challenge participation will give you an alternative currency (which also CANNOT be bought with real money) that you can spend on special prizes for the season. You can also partake in “Live” events, which is basically a team car meetup where you all head to a place, have a chat, take photos, then work as a team to complete 3 challenges. The multiplayer is seamless, and unless you specifically ask to play alone, you will encounter other drivers. But you have nothing to wait for when you launch the game. Just boom, you’re playing and other people are on the map.
As stated many times, the game constantly finds ways to reward you. Everything you do in this game will get you credits and influence. You can do anything you want to and the game will cater to how you want to play it. The only frustration I’ve found in the game is that during multiplayer races, one bad turn can ruin your entire run. But that’s my fault because I rely too heavily on rewind and drive like a maniac. No more needs to be said. Unless you hate racing games explicitly, there’s no way you can hate on this title.
The developers of Forza Horizon 4 worked very hard in making sure that this installment of the series addresses a few of the sticking point and nags from the prior entry, but even that game was merely just shy of absolute perfection. This one finishes the job while opening up the game to new possibilities for the future. I implore you, please play this game. The demo is free, and you can play the full game if you own Xbox Game Pass. You could get the whole entire game for just a $10 single monthly subscription. Or just buy it, you can do that too. And you should. It’s that good.
Alright, Sooper Vega here, just wanted to apologize real quick. The Lucky Gamer Recap has been real sloppy lately but fear not, its only because I’ve been really busy. Planning, and now being, on tour, because I’m still a Hip-Hop artist, has taken a lot of my attention. It’s cool though, it’ll all be normal again when I’m grounded. It’s also cool because we’re like a week from E3 so not much news. Well except for Pokemon! Here’s what the Lucky Gamer Recap has in store:
1. Let’s Go! Right into it!
Pokemon is finally making its adventurous debut on a home console. And no, not like the pessimist joked about it being on a Playstation console. And also not completely familiar in the way gameplay works. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee were announced by Nintendo and will be available November 16th. These are technically not considered part of the mainline series even though they bear a lot of similarities to Pokemon Yellow. The game will fuse gameplay elements of the mainline and the mobile phenomenon Pokemon Go. On top of mixing mechanics, the two games will also be connected via bluetooth allowing for transfer of Pokemon between games and more. With the promise of a new mainline entry still on schedule for a 2019 release, this should hold most fans over till then. If not well…
2. There are other Pokemon Quest!
Nintendo and the Pokemon Company must really be tired of hearing people ask for Pokemon on Switch, because they came out swinging. According to the teams “Pokemon quest is a free-to-start game that lets trainers face off against wild Pokemon.” The entire game will take place on Tumblecube Island which the player will explore to gather treasure and befriend or battle Pokemon. The game will feature new cubed reimagining’s of all our favorite Pokemon. Well maybe not all but you get the point. I do want some to double back for a second and tell me what the hell a “free-to-start- game is? I feel like Nintendo just tried to make the term “pay-to-win” acceptable. It’s out now on Switch and coming to mobile soon.
3. Whisper whisper, Fallout 76, Whisper whisper.
Apparently the unexpected reveal of Rage 2 wasn’t enough for Bethesda. No they needed to really flex their muscles this year. So they pulled up in the foreign car and whispered “Fallout 76” before riding off into the sunset. Or something like that. Not much was said about the game but rumors suggest it maybe an online experience like Rust or DayZ. It’s good for the die hard fans to know they got some more Fallout on the way but I know far too many people asking a different question. Where is the next Elder Scrolls? (Editor’s Note: It’s coming out this month and it’s called ESO: Sommerset.)
4. Sonic’s back in the race, literally.
It’s been a long time since we last played a great kart game that wasn’t attached to Mario. There have been a few good ones along the way but none which stood the test of time. It seems like Sonic and friends felt the same way. And Sonic jumped into action bringing us the all new Team Sonic Racing. It’s going to be an indirect follow up to the amazon Sonic and All-Stars Racing that released so long ago. Sporting 15 playable characters, tons of our favorite modes, and power ups to turn the tide of the race, Team Sonic Racing is making a strong play for our hearts.
5. Dirty move Xbox, real dirty move.
Alright so here’s a thing that’s rumored to have happened, that we really wish didn’t happen, but signs are pointing to it actually happened. Microsoft seems to have fired a bunch of paid staff and replaced them with volunteer staff who were trained by the paid staff. I’m going to give you a second cause that’s a merry go round of info to take in. Apparently 12 Xbox support staff lost their jobs after unknowingly training their volunteer replacements as part of the Xbox Ambassador program. The @xboxsupport twitter is now being handled by ambassadors. Microsoft hasn’t commented on the situation yet, but I’m hoping they do soon.
6. MegaMan 11 gets a release date.
There was a moment in time, a few years back, where the return of the blue bomber was extremely uncertain. It even Keiji Inafune to embark on a journey to create a spiritual successor. That game ended up being not very good. Capcom saw the opportunity and last year announced MegaMan 11. And now they gave us a date when we can play it. MegaMan 11 is coming to a console near you on October 2nd. It is set up to play just like the classic games fans are used to but it carries a brand new more bubbly cartoon look. Some could say inspired by Mighty No. 9 but I’ll say inspired by the cartoon designs of the past 8 years. Still looks like it’ll be a ton of fun, just weird to have done it without Inafune.
7. Days of Play PS4.
Sony unveiled a limited edition blue PS4 releasing June 8th. The Days of Play edition Playstation 4 has the iconic face buttons printed largely in gold. As always a matching color, in this case blue, is included with the system. The system is being released to celebrate the Playstation Day of Play event that takes place every summer and sees discounts across numerous PS4 products and games. Days of Play runs from June 8th to June 18th so make sure you check in to see what kind of deals the days bring.
Everyone keeps saying that Payback takes huge inspiration from the new Fast and Furious films, but if you dial time all the way back to the original releases including 2 Fast 2 Furious (still one of best sequel names ever, shut up it’s brilliant) and Need for Speed has ALWAYS been on the same wavelength of the series. However more recently they ditched that in favor of trying to make better racers vs cops modes and zero’d in on that. Even the new 2016 self titled sequel had a hard time breaking the mold. But the continued success of the newest generation of Fast and Furious films have given rise to a better Need for Speed experience.
As far as reviews go, many reviewers weren’t too into it, but Vega disagrees.
Racing games tend to be the conduit for showing how powerful new consoles are. It’s no surprise, with the release of upgraded consoles PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, that this holiday season has been riddled with racing games. Need For Speed: Payback is one of the contenders aiming to fulfill the adrenaline desires. Published by EA and developed by Ghost Games arrived to store shelves on November 10th, 2017. As the 23rd entry in one of gamings most iconic franchises, Need For Speed: Payback has the difficult job about giving gamers a reason to stop playing the other incredible racing games available now. Full speed ahead to see if this game will continue to revitalize the series that the previous entry reignited.
Right out the gate, racing games have two very important jobs. The first is for the console manufacturers. They need to extract every possible amount of power that the little box can muster and make sure to show it off through visual representation. Need for Speed: Payback does an incredible job making the world feel alive and real but it doesn’t do anything that makes it stand completely outside what other racers are doing. Fortune valley, the most recent recreation of Las Vegas in video games, is a beautiful city filled with different environments that help to breathe fresh air into the long drives. The cars all look fascinating, accurate, and provide a real representation of some of the worlds greatest super cars at home. Some of the character models for less important characters look a little shoddy but nothing of importance is ever effected by the lack of attention. This new racer does a great job of showing off all the technical power in these new consoles but it doesn’t do anything to break the mold or really stand out.
The games title is pretty telling when it’s comes to the plot in this particular game. The story opens up with a typical race crew of misfits who each fill a general role working together to steal a car with some crazy prototype technologies. Things go bad pretty quick and a member of the crew screws the whole team over. The team falls a part everyone goes on their own sad adventure till they eventually team back up to fight the good fight. In no way is Need for Speed: Paybacks story bad. In fact it’s actually pretty great. The story unfolds through the eyes of the 3 playable characters from the crew and the fourth who happens to be the team mechanic. The issue with the story, as with many of the titles this year, it feels to predictable. Maybe it’s a writing issue or maybe it’s a reviewer issue. The story just lacks any real sense of freshness. However it’s still a really good fun story to experience, just not one that will have the edge of the seat warm by any standards. Also, not sure why one of the main characters is Bruce Wayne. Just saying.
Hearing the roar of the roar of the most powerful engines in the world is one of the most endorphin-inducing sounds for any person. Vehicles moving at speeds that literally break wind (insert fart joke) have to sound as real as possible. The screeching of tires, the sounds of collision, everything sounds incredibly real. It would be easy for a neighbor to confused the sound of this game through surround sound for an actual vehicle collision. On top of the hyper realistic world noise, the voice acting is also pretty good. Lines are delivered in ways that feel convincing and compelling. None of the characters fall into a muddy or uninteresting tone however there maybe a little backlash over the stereotypes in some of the characters voices. Arguably the most important audio component in any racing game or sports game is the soundtrack, and boy does Payback deliver. Boasting a playlist that covers a wide range of genres that keep the blood pumping the music really pulls everything together. It’s super easy to envision someone racing down the street with A$AP Ferg’s “Trap and A Dream” playing at neighborhood rattling volumes.
It’s hard to judge gameplay on a game type that has one basic mechanic: Drive fast. Sure some of the game modes and challenges add a little dynamics to the concept but overall it’s just drive really fast. And for better or worse that’s where Need for Speed: Payback sits. It doesn’t really do anything new but it also doesn’t really get anything wrong. The one gameplay mechanic that was kind of a silly decision was not including police cruisers and chases in the free roam. All police chases are tied little bait boxes which provide loot when completed but have no negative impact at all when failed. It’s a really interesting choice that doesn’t quite make any sense no matter which lens it’s looked at through. It was just a bad choice that hopefully can get patched in via an update or something. Who knows how games work? Either way all the other modes and race styles almost make up for it but not quite enough. The one thing that seemed to be a major point of concern were the loot boxes EA is trying to force into every game. After playing the game for a few hours, there was never a moment where purchasing a loot box felt necessary. The pay to win model, for single player, doesn’t exist, however the impact on multiplayer is still not entirely clear. Hopefully the concern remains baseless.
Tying things back to the beginning of the review, the second important mission every racing game is tagged with completing is owed to the gamers. Every member of the development team who wasn’t taking the console apart to figure how to abuse its power, is now focused on making sure the game carries endless amounts of fun. Check this box for Need for Speed: Payback for sure. Hours and hours of fun can be had with this game whether playing through the interesting story or driving around fortune valley smashing billboards there is something for everyone. Vehicle customization remains a staple feature, now that EA finally figured out no one ever asked for racing games with out customization, and boy does it get deep. Of course it doesn’t get as deep as the ultra pro racing sim, Forza, but it definitely goes a lot further than any other arcade racing sim available now. Locating derelicts feels like an exciting scavenger hunt in this brand new world while racing around the world aimless still feels just as adventurous. The major complaint is still the lack of police cruisers when free roaming but outside of that can’t imagine putting the control down once the engines start.
At the end of the road, Need for Speed: Payback will be remembered for giving fans almost everything they love without to much extra filler. Beautiful cars to drive through beautiful scenery while playing beautiful music. That sums up the fun in a beautiful way. Anyone looking for a great story or something incredibly brand new in racing gameplay may not be 100% satisfied with this selection but it would be hard to believe they didn’t enjoy themselves at all. Need for Speed: Payback is almost the game fans of the series wanted but in the world’s current state, maybe complaining about the little things isn’t to great of an idea. Just hop into Payback and push those cars to wind breaking speeds. [Editor’s Note: Fart Joke Here Too]