Grid 2 ReviewPC

very good
key review info
  • Game: Grid 2
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
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Grid 2 review on PC

Codemasters has released a variety of great racing games over the years, and among its most popular was Grid (or Race Drive: Grid, as it was known in certain territories). Since the game's launch back in 2008, fans have been clamoring for the studio to release a sequel.

Now, after a lengthy wait, Grid 2 is finally here, promising to once again combine arcade with simulator mechanics, while featuring many different cars, tracks, or disciplines.

With an improved version of Codemasters' already impressive engine, not to mention the expertise the studio has gained form the Dirt franchise, Grid 2 is looking to be a great racing experience.

Does it manage to see the checkered flag first or should it retire from the race? Let's find out.

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Start out with a few events ...
... and draw in fans


Story

Grid 2 has a pretty interesting story, as the player is a pilot employed by a wealthy individual to single-handedly promote a newly founded championship called the World Series Racing, which needs fans to actually get organized.

As such, players have to go around the world and compete against different clubs in various disciplines in order to rack up fans and get the WSR noticed.



Gameplay

Grid 1 managed to strike a good balance between arcade and simulator mechanics, but Grid 2 tends to move into arcade territory, even if it allows all sorts of players easy entry into its different events.

While it can be a bit annoying at first during the single-player campaign as you gain control of hard-to-maneuver muscle cars with rear-wheel drive, things get progressively easier as you move into Europe or Japan, after conquering the first region of North America.

In terms of cars, the game is filled with many impressive vehicles, both old and new, from lots of different eras, ranging from classic American muscle cars, to new European hot hatchbacks or powerful Japanese drifting machines.

These cars can be unlocked as you progress through the story, usually by choosing between two vehicles, but you can unlock the others by completing various vehicle challenge events, which are basically time trials.

After getting a car, players can choose to customize it with a variety of pre-determined decals of various shapes, sizes, or colors, and by fitting different wheel models. Exterior tuning or performance improvements, however, aren't included in Grid 2.

In terms of events, the game is filled with many different experiences, from the basic races to sprints, drifting events, endurance challenges, or elimination ones. All of them feel really good and keep the experience varied enough to stave off boredom. There are also promo events filled with more outlandish requirements, such as overtaking trucks on a circuit in the fastest time possible.

Speaking of circuits, Grid 2 features a wide variety of different tracks, including famous ones, like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but also city or location-based ones, as the game takes players from Chicago to Miami, Paris, or Dubai.

While most of these tracks can be experienced in one direction or the other, Grid 2 has an ace up its sleeve in the form of the new LiveRoutes system, which constantly changes the orientation of certain corners in city circuits. During these events, you won't have a mini-map so you'll have to keep gazing into the distance in order to figure out where the corner will take you.

In case something wrong happens, the familiar Rewind system makes a comeback, allowing players a certain number of retries if they make a mistake. The system is quite handy, as it can sometimes be much easier to go back a few seconds than to restart the whole race. Sadly, once you enter Rewind you can't cancel it, so activating it by mistake will cost you. You also can't choose the specific moment where you want to go, instead depending on the game's regular system.

In terms of AI, the title is good, as the opponents are skilled and there are certain individuals that are either more talented or more aggressive, proving to be an extra challenge during races. While most of the times the AI behaves normally, at some moments they can pull off either quite dumb or really smart moves.

There are different difficulty options and you can choose whether damage is visual only or if it affects the performance of the car. For those who want a really pure experience, there's even the option of turning off the heads-up display. Sadly, there are no custom options for things like traction control, and there's no cockpit view.

On the PC, it's highly recommended that you use a controller, as the keyboard and mouse combination doesn't work that well, especially in events that require a bit more finesse, like drift.

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Customize your car ...
... and start racing


Multiplayer

Online racing in Grid 2 is pretty regular, as you can enter all the different race types seen in the single-player campaign and even create custom events in which you can select various options.

Besides creating basic races, there are also different challenges and events organized by Codemasters via its Racenet online service, so creating a subscription is a must in order to make the most of the game's multiplayer mode.



Visuals and Sound

Grid 2 is a gorgeous game in terms of cars and circuits, once again showing the power of Codemasters' Ego 3.0 engine. While you'll definitely be impressed by the overall visuals, things are noticeably of a lower quality when it comes to simulating spectators or secondary elements.

In terms of sound, the game is also impressive, managing to make most cars sound really special, no matter how they're driven. The ambient noises are also pretty good, with the crowd reacting to the different events that are happening on the track.

The soundtrack is decent but doesn't really stand out with any memorable tracks. Your crew chief is also a bit annoying sometimes, as the information he offers is always a bit late and sometimes creates confusion.

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Race on circuits ...
... and on city tracks


Conclusion

Grid 2 is a great racing game that should entertain lots of fans of the genre. It has varied events, lots of cars, and quite a few circuits, not to mention custom mechanics like the LiveRoutes system.

While the AI may be a bit erratic in certain moments and you'll have to deal with a rather annoying crew chief, the experience is still quite good, although those looking for a simulator won't find it here.

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story 7
gameplay 8
concept 8
graphics 9
audio 8
multiplayer 8
final rating 8
Editor's review
very good
 

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