Tech News on G4
Grid 2 accelerates series
Jul 23, 2013
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
Coming five years after the successful debut of its predecessor, Grid 2 has finally drifted its way into the hands of racing gamers. Has its long wait been worth it, or is Codemaster's sequel better off taking a permanent pit stop?
The game starts you off as an up-and-comer with ambitions of bursting through the ranks of the racing scene. You will begin your career a modest driver with plenty to prove. Following each successful display for skill, you will see your popularity increase.
Soon after, opportunities to sign with sponsors will arise. Rather than just a slight cosmetic change to your car via a logo sticker, each sponsor choice provides a unique challenge for you to complete during your time on the track. I found the many sponsor challenges reasonably enjoyable and encouraged me to race in ways I would have never thought to. Impressive finishing will eventually lead to getting invites to race with established driving clubs.
All of this falls under the umbrella of the games career mode known as World Series Racing. WSR does a great job of leading you through all the different event types offered in the game, while at the same time not holding your hand too much. I unfortunately did find there to be a slight difficulty spike later on in the career. Its nothing unbeatable, but could be a potentially irritating surprise for some.
Something that always turned me off of simulation-heavy racers in the past was the tiresome slog of having to complete events with substandard vehicles before unlocking more desirable cars. Grid 2 does away with this and cuts short the boring beginnings of your racing career. You will unlock all manner of cars relatively quickly.
Ranging from the powerful American muscle cars to their smooth handling European counterparts, the game makes sure you'll always have something new to drive for your next event. But having access to a plethora of exotic automobiles means nothing if they don't control well. Thankfully, Codemasters has made sure each vehicle feels superb in their handling.
Every car comes with a distinctive feel. Some possess greater horsepower but falter during hairpin turns, while others have a more elegant rounded feel but aren't as aggressive. The weighty preciseness of the cars lends a sense of appreciated realism to driving. If the realistic style of racing gameplay present in the likes of Gran Turismo and the Forza series has left you intimidated in the past, fear not, as Grid 2 successfully straddles the lines between arcade racer and simulation.
You won't be slamming and crashing into cars Burnout style, as that will result in a last place finish, and you also won't need to worry about every minute detail to win the race. This decision to not totally alienate diehard fans, while making it more accessible to newcomers is a commendable design choice by Codemasters.
Something that has been a dark cloud hanging over Grid 2 up until its release is the head-scratchingly strange decision to do away with the cockpit view. The choice to axe one of the most popular ways of playing this type of game leaves one wondering. Driving fans looking to be immersed in their racing experience will have to go elsewhere if the omission of the view is the be all and end all for them. Grid 2 remains playable without it, but the inclusion of this familiar feature would have only made a great game better.
Undeniably, the most important thing design-wise in a racing game is to make sure the cars look like their real life counterparts as much as possible. The folks over at Codemasters have made sure to do just that. Each vehicle looks superb both untouched and totaled.
Environments also look fantastic. Chances are you won't be paying attention to every little detail in each location as you barrel through the track, but if you choose to take your eyes off the road and admire the surroundings, you will be pleasantly surprised. From the scenic California country side to the dense streets of Paris, high production value reigns throughout. If I was told Grid 2 was running on PS4 or Xbox One when initially seeing debut gameplay from it, I would have been none the wiser. Simply put, Grid 2 is an excellent looking game.
In the end, Grid 2 is an admirable follow up to 2008's Grid and also a worthy addition to Codemasters already solid catalog of racing games. Its been a long time coming, but the wait is worth it. While not all is perfect, racing fans would be doing themselves a disservice by avoiding Codemasters' latest.
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.