If there was a racer I played the crap load out of – it’s the original GRID. Full of adrenalin filled races and disciplines that satisfy both online and offline mayhem. It’s easy to jump into and that’s what made it fantastic for everyone to experience the fun racing without the excess ‘serious’ aspects when it comes to racing games. After keeping it on the low for a few years or so, Codemasters has returned with GRID 2 – the long awaited sequel. Is it worth taking for a spin or letting it pass?
Patrick Callaghan is a businessman who wants to create the World Series Racing league or WSR which brings together the world’s best drivers from different discipline all on one track. Problem is, he has no one to compete and is need of a representative to help make it happen. This is where you come in, the driver who has potential – your mission is to defeat the other drivers in order to persuade them to join. This sees you globetrotting from one event to another, testing your skills in different disciplines from standard track racing to street and drift.
The build up of a story in GRID 2 was somewhat interesting at first but reaches top speed too quickly failing to get players interested in anything beyond that – which was disappointing. You progress your career as WSR by building a fan base for the company. The more races you win, the more promo competitions you enter – the bigger the fan base gets. That’s what I got mostly from the WSR league, nothing more than just building a base. The lack of drama or tension between car groups and drivers could have made the story impact more on the players yet GRID 2 plays it safe and sticks to the standard racing core.
GRID 2 doesn’t break away from the pack it was in before, fans of the original will find the racing very similar which is not a bad thing. The racing in GRID sat in between realistic simulation and arcade. It’s easy for newcomers to learn and makes GRID 2 an appealing game for players who desires realism without simulation.
Straight into your first race, GRID 2 chucks you in the seat of a grumpy American muscle V8 then offers you a Jap Import after showing it has no room for any pedestrian vehicles. It’s all about the world’s most popular cars taken to their limits. The cars separate themselves into four tiers with the highest being the super cars. You’ll get an assortment of tools to use from the Aston Martin Vanquish to the R35 Skyline GT-R. You’ll also get to customize the looks of the car by changing the livery or wheels. There’s no car tuning or engine modifications here, just pure stock vehicles ready to tackle the road.
The biggest down side to GRID 2 has to be the repetition of tracks in the campaign. The events just make you run the same course over and over. GRID 2 does have some track variety but I just can’t see why the events in the campaign forces you to race the same track almost three times before progression. This slowly degraded my interest in continuing the events on top an already sub-par racing ‘story’.
In saying that, GRID 2 does introduce LiveRoutes – where upcoming turns and sections generate on the fly. Do you trust your instinct and floor the car or play it safe? The introduction adds tension on the track where going fast may result in your car side slamming into the wall. LiveRoutes is where the game shines and it provides plenty of challenges even for veteran racer fans.
If the stale single-player has got to you quick then the multiplayer is something you can delve into. The multiplayer features your usual races found in the campaign but also adds a new matchmaking system and CodeMaster’s RaceNet platform so you can socially keep up to date with rivals and statistics. The multiplayer also features four tiers of cars but also gives you the ability to do upgrades which was missing in the singleplayer component.
GRID 2 offers some rejuvenation into the series but ultimately doesn’t do enough to stand out of the pack. The original GRID came as a revelation to the racing genre and I was hoping in the years of slumber, GRID 2 could stand up on the podium again but it rather play safe than full throttling ahead. It was somewhat disappointing in that aspect but Codemasters still managed to deliver a compelling racer. Maybe in the next race, GRID 3 will take that next gear and shift the series forward.
Developer: Codemasters Southam
Release Date: 30 May 2013 (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) – Reviewed on both Xbox 360 and PC.