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 has spent a long time to become a fan favorite. The Forza Horizon racing series of video games have become one of the biggest racing game franchises in the entire industry. WIth the most recent Forza Horizon 4, has the game surpassed it’s progenitor, Forza Motorsport?
I am still playing this game even though I don’t think it’s all that great. Somehow, the gameplay just sucks you in and make you want to play even though it’s practically nonstop torture. I understand that multiplayer with friends might be a better time, but jokes on you, I don’t have any friends. -chet
Gear.Club Unlimited is a console exclusive racing game for the Nintendo Switch and is based on the Gear.Club games for mobile, although this was developed by Microids. Which is interesting, because that developer is well known for their point-and-click adventure games. You could say this is actually the Switch’s first true racing game, because although Mario Kart 8 does feature racing, I consider it a party game due to all the mayhem. This is the first racing game on the Switch that features real cars on a semi-realistic racing atmosphere. Can it launch a potential new series for the console?
Well to start the graphics are… bad. Really bad. You cannot blame the hardware for the graphics on display here. They don’t even look as good as other mobile racing games out there. Asphalt 8 for mobile dances circles around this. As far as the environments go, they are very unfulfilling. They are blocky and have very low-res textures, and you don’t even have to stop driving to bear witness. Even at top speeds you can see how bad everything looks in full detail. The roads aren’t too real looking either, seeming like they were pulled out of a 90s racing game for PC. The cars themselves aren’t too much better, but they are better. They at least look like the cars they are supposed to, and the game does feature licensed cars, which is nice to have. But even then, trying to represent the real cars is where the game fails, as it looks like it could run on a very early Xbox 360.
This needs to be specified more in the about section, but when a game doesn’t have a story, it has to either benefit from not having a story or have a good progression system. GCU has the latter. The goals and rules of the races are as straightforward as possible. You have a couple of cardboard cutout characters who will tell you what to do and where to go, and that’s all you need. This game has tons and tons of races, all of which use the typical mobile formula of giving you a 1, 2, or 3 star ranking based on your performance. The more stars you get, the more races you earn, and in a matter of hours my map was a litany of racing championships to partake in. The money you earn in the game is also fair, with cars, parts, and even your own tune up shop gear all being decently priced and tiered accordingly. Everything in the game has a goalpost, everything is upgradeable, everything rewards you. Best of all: no alternate currencies!
So, the game doesn’t have great audio either. A lot of the cars have that lawnmower sound, the menu music is generic and… there’s no soundtrack. How do you judge that? Is it good because it could have had a bad soundtrack and doesn’t have one at all? Is it bad because it should have a soundtrack? There are a lot of games that don’t feature music during races, so it’s hard to say. The game’s sounds are functional, for the most part, even if they don’t match the car being used, but that’s getting too technical. I guess you can just this game is BYOS, Bring Your Own Soundtrack, and that’s… just okay I guess.
At first I thought the game was bland. But after a couple races, the game showed that not only can the AI be altered but that you can also alter the assists for driving. This is one of those racers that sits halfway between being a sim and being an arcade game. It’s the kind of formula that makes Forza Horizon so great. And GCU has an ace up its sleeve, because you can REWIND your mistakes in it, just like Forza. In fact, not only can you rewind, but you can rewind to whatever specific spot (in a 15 second window) you want to go back to, whereas Forza’s rewind forces you to rewind back to wherever it wants you to go back to. So yeah, this tiny indie game just one-upped Turn 10 in one of its biggest gimmicks. Besides all of that, the racing is fun and various. The locations, despite not being gorgeous, are unique and varied. Controlling the car hits just the right spot, and can be as difficult or as easy as you want, based on your choices for assists. The game has different kinds of races too, from time trials where you race the ghosts of other cars, to rally tracks that get off the asphalt and into the mud. It’s satisfying, and with the length of each race being short, it’s great for short rounds or long runs.
Like I said earlier, the game doesn’t give off the best first impression, what with the cardboard characters, low visual fidelity, lackluster sound and rigid structure, but once you get past the first 30 minutes to an hour, the game opens up in a grand way giving you multiple options on how you want to proceed. This isn’t a game that has trapped me and has me coming back day after day all in a row, but I play it in between games or when I’m on break at work; it’s always a quick and easy distraction to just go, get your fill in, and stop whenever you’re done.
While Gear.Club Unlimited may not be the darkhorse the Nintendo Switch needs to bring itself up against the big boys in racing, it is not without its merits. If a solid, if very direct, racing game is all you need and you wanna take it on the go, get this game. It’s value-priced to download and is almost exactly worth what it sells for.
Gran Turismo Sport worked really hard to make sure that their game would be taken super seriously. They had an official racing aggregator schedule and maintain all instances of online races. You are forced to watch an orientation video before participating. This game really wants you to make sure you know the rules of real world racing. It’s too bad that only the rules were the most “realistic” part of this “driving sim”.
Gran Turismo Sport is the thirteenth game in the Gran Turismo series, one that has been forever exclusive to the Playstation platform. Props for loyalty, eh? It was developed by Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Now, I’m going to be up front here, I’ve never been a big fan of Gran Turismo and have always leaned more to the side of Forza and being an Xbox fanboi. But considering that the most recent entry in the Forza series was the lackluster but well-made Forza Motorsport 7, I was hoping that some good, sturdy competition from a rival series would bolster some friendly competition between the two. The last Gran Turismo came out in 2013 and that’s quite the gap. Can the new game pull it off?
It’s becoming increasingly hard NOT to find a racing game that looks stellar in the visuals department. Gran Turismo Sport is no different. Every car has been built with careful and loving detail from top to bottom. The fictitious race tracks also lend some credence to creativity when it comes to the design, as many other racing sims rely purely on real world tracks, so this game was a breath of fresh air in that regard. Sadly, unlike the new Forza game, this game does not feature realistic weather and every track and race are all situated in a clean and clear race day. That said, to make up for this, the game features the tracks at many different times of the day, so you get many variations of lighting. You can race at dusk, dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, morning, night, and everything in between. If you’re keeping your eye out for flaws, you will notice that some buildings in and around the circuits could use some love but that’s some sheer nitpicking. One particularly great looking course is a dirt rally track based around a wind farm and the aesthetics of that track are gorgeous no matter what time your race.
As stated before, in games that don’t particularly qualify or have a story, you have to observe what sort of progression the game gives you and what incentives are in place to keep you going. GTS sadly has none. For starters, it has three very sad campaigns you can take part in. The first is literally driving school, in which you watch YouTube videos on what you’re supposed to do (no really, it has YouTube videos embedded in the loading screen) and then drive for usually seconds at a time. Not only is it boring, but it also gets incredibly hard as it tasks to perfectly recreate a corner it wants you take to learn about turning. That would have been fine if it weren’t for the fact that it drops you into the heat of things too quickly and makes a lot of the intermediate driving courses unreasonably challenging in a vacuum. If the driving school isn’t your bag, the second campaign is a series of challenges that start off interesting but quickly become annoying or unreasonable by the time you reach the second or third series. Then if that’s not enough, the third campaign is track mastery in which you just do specific sections of the tracks in the game, which isn’t very fun either.
All of this leads to me giving up and just playing the “arcade mode,” which is far more fun and just lets you race with whichever car is available. But, while the fun can be dug from there, the progress you make is far from engaging. It has four sections for leveling: you have your currency, mileage points, actual miles, and your experience. Leveling up your EXP unlocks tracks in arcade mode and nothing else (for the most part). The mileage is a daily challenge that gives you a free car if you do a sort of daily mileage workout. The mileage points are used to unlock cosmetics that are laughably minimal. The credits you get aren’t quite enough to buy some cars, but buying cars is a moot point when most of the races supply you with the car you need to race with for free, and the car selection is absolutely abysmal. This game really doesn’t hold your attention or do much to keep you going.
The sound is in good form here. Like many other racing games, the realism takes precedence over everything and most cars sound exactly like how they are supposed to sound in real life. I think the real problem comes with a few nagging points that stick and never go away. For one, it has a combo soundtrack of licensed songs and originals for the menu. The menu music is sadly generic and feels like it was done at the last minute. It also sounds like it belongs in a decades-old game featuring big beat and IDM. The licensed soundtrack is a joke, with uninteresting songs that get drowned out by the racing sounds to the point where they are completely unnecessary. There’s that and then there’s the screeching. The screeching sounds you hear when you make any turns or slam the breaks are deafening and unrealistic; taking a hard turn while jamming down the throttle sounds like you’re in some sort of drifting competition, but that’s not the case. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are going, you are going to hear a solid “SCREEEEEEEEEEE” whether you’re driving a Ferrari or a Ford. It’s so homogenous and grating that it really detracts from the experience. I had to stop playing and load a couple other games to see if it was present in other sims, and it just wasn’t. Or at least, not to the degree that this game emanates.
For a game with a subtitle under it that reads “The Real Driving Simulator” it sure as heck feels pretty unrealistic. Besides the aforementioned screeching, the brakes don’t feel like they work properly. Maybe it is the realism just getting to me, but it feels a lot like the cars are very very lightweight. This doesn’t apply to just braking. Collide with another car, be it a high-speed impact or a ding, and you send the NPC car flying off the track. It also feels like your car is made of elastic with the bounciness of slamming into the guard rails on the track. You don’t get stopped dead, you just BOING right off a guard rail and continue racing. I’m thankful for this mechanic, considering it doesn’t have Forza’s legendary “rewind” mechanic, but it also feels cheap at the same time too. If you’re going to call it a real racing sim, then make it so. This feels a lot more like you’re driving a go-kart at times. This was especially so when I tried out various racing assistance settings.
This game allows novice, intermediate, and expert presets for how much assistance the game gives you with driving physics. I immediately started with expert and was pretty satisfied with the realism it offered at the time, except for my aforementioned issues. Then I tried “intermediate” mode and suddenly the car was practically driving itself. No joke, I kept forgetting to steer the car I was driving because I fell into a trance as the game practically takes over the controls for you when you get to any of the corners. This “autodrive” feature took me completely out of the experience and sent me right back to expert mode. But the problems don’t end there. At the start of many races you are in “autodrive” mode while the race counter counts down from 3. More often than not the game relinquishes control to you in the middle of a corner. It’s absurd.
As said before, the game puts a lot of focus into some realistic driving expectations. Once you get used to the physics engine, the game is rather enjoyable to play for a quick race or two in arcade mode. Unfortunately, you will often find yourself bored as the game makes you try driving around the same corner for the thirteenth time in driving school, doing the same challenge over and over because the difficulty spiked tremendously, or you simply run out of things to do. This game has a lot of merits that save it from being bad, mark my words. For one, restarting a race is instantaneous. If you are unhappy with your drive, you can start over at the press of a button and boom, the race is ready to go. For what it’s worth as well, despite the driving school being unfun for the most part, it DOES make you a better driver. The use of cones to signal braking and turning points are new and interesting. But none of this is enough to keep you going. You have to watch two racing etiquette videos just to join multiplayer. Not only that, but they seem to be fixated on making the races official, so instead of any form of matchmaking, the game just has scheduled races you have to sign up for. I had to borrow a PS4 for this review and didn’t feel like this was worth my time, so I avoided it.
I was really hoping that Gran Turismo Sport would be a triumphant return to form for the series, but sadly this is not the case. GTS feels like another prologue game at best. With its extreme focus on rules and regulations while not being quite a good driving simulator in and of itself, it falls short of being the true racing experience it wants to be. There is a VR mode available for it, but I don’t have 400 dollars to spare so that was ignored, unfortunately. Could that increase the quality of experience? It’s entirely possible. But for now, it seems that Forza will keeps its racing game crown until it gets more complacent, but hopefully that doesn’t happen. With these two racing sims tried out, the way is paved for me to try more racing sims. Project Cars 2 came out earlier in September and is now at the top of my priority list to try before the end of the year. Nintendo is also going to throw its hat into the ring with the upcoming Gear.Club Unlimited in December. Can they best the almighty Forza? This reviewer wants to find out.
Also, WTF was up with that always online crap? I need to be online even in the ‘campaign’? Total bullsh*t.