This sequel from Codemasters has been a very long time coming. Given the developer’s erratic performance, it’s probably a miracle Grid 2 has arrived at all, but arrived it has and it’s mostly extremely good.
Coming four years after the first game in the series, Grid 2 has only two game modes, making it nice and simple to kick off: World Series Racing (WSR) and Online.
Up to 12 players can duke it out in the online mode, selecting from predetermined lists or customising your own events and race types include Race, Endurance, Drift, Touge (1-on-1 racing), Checkpoint, Face-Off and Time Attack. Global challenges throw up others, such as ‘Overtake’, which is a direct ‘homage’ to Project Gotham Racing – and ludicrously difficult!
Codemasters has always had a strong view on how they’d like you to experience their games, and Grid 2 makes it plain from the beginning that, whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to learn the joy of drifting, sticking you in a tail-happy Ford Mustang in your first few challenges.
And if you don’t like underpowered, waggy muscle cars, well hard luck, because that’s all you get to drive for some considerable while.
Fortunately, Grid 2 is incredibly slick and looks great for most of the time.
After each race, a replay of your performance automatically kicks in, which is surprisingly satisfying to watch; perhaps the best employment of the of the replay function we’ve seen, in fact.
Load times give Codies the opportunity to treat you to visuals that make it seem like you’re experimenting with hallucinogenics or have just been knocked senseless, but in game everything is very pretty.
Success brings you attention, with a simulated ‘fans’ count as your deeds attract notice. Progress also brings you new vehicles – admittedly the first time this choice was between two rear-wheel drive Nissans with absolutely identical characteristics.
WSR is objective led, so you’re always given something you need to do to ‘pass’ and go on to the next event. It’s a bit like school, actually.
And, just like school, sometimes they start you on something, and you do it as well as you can only to find they fail you without you having a clue why you failed.
Fairly early on, there’s an ‘Overtake’ event. If you fail, the narrator chirps up with “Don’t worry pal, now you know what to do, give it another try”. Only we had absolutely no idea at all what to do, and just had to keep replaying it until we, for some inexplicable reason, passed the event, having done exactly the same thing as in all previous attempts.
New to Grid is the ‘Live Routes’ mode which should give Australian racing fans a good laugh when the voiceover guy announces the event in an English accent.