Back in 2008, Codemasters released one of my favourite racing games ever, Race Driver: Grid, but last week, much to my excitement, the sequel was released.
Grid 2 is just like its predecessor, but on steroids. At first glance, it looks just like any other racer, with its long winding country tracks and short city runs, and in many ways, it is. But there’s just something about Grid for me that sets itself aside from the rest. Graphically, the game is brilliantly capable, and it looks and feels great whilst driving around the courses. The experience of driving itself, for me, is a great one. I’m generally not a huge fan of racing games, especially realistic ones, but I love how the cars feel when you’re drifting around hairpins and tearing down screen shaking straights. Crashing your car is also a genuine joy as the detail of the visual damage is absolutely great combined with the out of control spins, flips and barrel rolls. The ‘True Feel’ technology, created my Codemasters, gives individual feeling and characteristic to each car and blurs the line between real and virtual without making the game too difficult to handle. Another unique aspect of Grid, are the use of flashbacks. If you crash, you can press Triangle and the game will rewind until you press again, or if in Multiplayer, will spawn you just before the crash, and will guide you onto the right line.
There are over 40 cars to choose from across 4 Tiers, and you will find classics like the Aston Martin Vanquish, Mclaren F1 GT, 1970 Ford Mustang and the Audi TT. The cars are also fully customisable, from different types of colours, paints, vinyls, styles and rims, so you can make your favourite car look the way you wanted it- if you were lucky enough to have one!
Codemasters really went for a unique style of Multiplayer mode with Grid 2. With every event, you not only gain XP and cash to buy new gear, but fans across the world. Much like on Twitter for example, word of your greatness will spread, and you will gain more following until you reach world fame. Events range across various Multiplayer modes such as your standard Race modes and alternative modes such as Faceoff, Drift or Checkpoint and depending on your placing, you will reap the relative rewards.
The ‘Campaign’ though sees you through an epic discovery of the WSR and your quest to make it ‘the greatest racing competition ever.’ The idea is that you recruit different racing clubs across the world and they bring their following with them. At first, the game is about gaining reputation and increasing your fan base before you begin to earn cash, and you can then go on to buy more cars. Alongside the main campaign are bonus missions such as promos and vehicle challenges which allow you to unlock more cars and decor for them. You can also paste sponsors onto your car which have assigned objectives to complete which will also grant further rewards
Although Grid 2 really is a great racer, I have to be picky as a critic and there are a few bugging things that Codemasters have missed out. There is no cockpit view…WHAT?!?! There are various views, such as the empty car view, ‘on top of the bonnet’ view and a couple of ‘behind the car’ views, but it seems Codemasters have missed what some racing game lovers enjoy, and thats the inside of the car. Secondly, the matchmaking of multiplayer games is a little slow in many ways such as being put into races that have already started, so you’re sat in the lobby listening to what a great time everyone is having. There are also a few bugs I have noticed such as bits of chassis floating in midair, or the menu screen getting stuck, but patches will come, I imagine, to fix these.
With quite a range of tracks to choose from, with more available through DLC, and the many number of race types, Grid 2 grants a really great racing experience to all. I love the cars, the tracks, the attention to detail and both the campaign and multiplayer modes are equally great. The implementation of flashbacks is unique and a great element to the racer. There are also global events, as if there wasn’t enough to compete for, and it really is a long lasting game that you could play until Grid 3 comes out. (hint hint Codemasters.)