Also On: PS3
Developer: Codemasters Southam
After five long years of waiting for a sequel to the 2008 smash hit Grid, Codemasters finally decided to dig this franchise out of the ashes and unleash Grid 2 upon the world. After a few F1 and Dirt titles you have to wonder what took this series so long to return to the starting grid. Nevertheless, Grid 2 is out now and while it may not be as wow inducing or slick as the first, it does provide a solid racing experience, even if it may not be thoroughly impressive.
Going along with a style that the Dirt series incorporated, using a home base and racing guide, and the WSR that will be there every step of the way to try to help you become the world’s top racer. You begin as an up-and-coming YouTube phenom and are taken under the wing of Patrick Callahan as a pet project to become the most famous racer in the world by gaining fans and notoriety. While this may not be the typical way to take racing fans on a journey, it does provide gamers with a greater sense of accomplishment than traditional pole position racing offers. For Grid 2 it especially works for the great amount of racing variety styles you will come across; from leader of the pack races, bracket style elimination competitions, promotional races, drift races, overtake, and invitationals are just some of the game’s racing features that will keep you glued to the track and to this game.
The career mode in Grid 2 is very structured and less convoluted as some racers, which may undoubtedly have some sim fans turning their heads the other way as there are no gear head options to be found. While this point to point atmosphere doesn’t provide a whole lot of wiggle room for gamers to just jet off and do their own thing, this disciplined style of career mode has a point. You begin as an upstart trying to prove your worth in North America, followed by a trip to Europe in season two, and even gaining ESPN coverage into season three once you hit the Asian circuits and so on and so forth. This is all set up to provide gamers with a since of accomplishment as you gain cars, endorsements, and most importantly fans on your way to fame and fortune.
Online racing pits you in a different environment altogether where you get to choose the style of race you wish to enter and compete against people all over the world for online cash for upgrades and bragging rights thanks to the “Autolog” style racing leaderboard. The setup is a play at your own pace style, but the rewards you earn give gamer a greater since of leveling up more so than you traditional online multiplayer.
Visually Grid 2 is a good looking racer with detailed environments and super cars geared to feed your, if you will pardon the phrase, need for speed. Each area you drive is unique and looks fantastic. You will see the city streets of Hong Kong or Chicago, the open areas of California, and even WSR racing grids all are white-knuckle inducing and completely unique from each other. Audio is another staple that Codemasters is famous for and in Grid 2 they never fail you here either. From the sounds of the atmosphere of the tracks you race on, to the rev and roar of the engines under the hood, all the sounds are genuine and authentic. The car offerings may not be as plentiful as Forza or Gran Turismo, but there are still a good number of cars, each with different handling styles and the typical plusses and minuses that will force you to make that tough decision when choosing a car for a particular race.
Speaking of handling, this is where Grid 2 excels with impeccable controls that the Codemasters line is very known for. The game has a wonderful sense of speed, but you never feel out of control of your vehicle even at very high speeds. If by chance you happen to lose control of the wheel, Grid 2 brings back the flashback option that will allow you to rewind back to a portion of the race where you are most comfortable as to not make that same mistake again. When this was first offered in the original Grid, it was cool and unique, but of course it has been mimicked by every big racer out there so it’s almost a standard five years later.
While there are things Grid 2 does to surpass its predecessor, there are parts of me that just don’t seem as impressed or awe inspired by this title as I was with the first. Maybe it is because it’s not that breath of fresh air that once separated itself from the pack, or maybe it just tries too hard to outdo itself, but nothing here really stands out as something that will be as reminisced upon like the first Grid title was. Nevertheless Grid 2 is still a worthy sequel that offers a good and deep racing experience that should please any diehard fan, even if it doesn't give you that OMG face at any time during your experience.