While gamers are waiting for the new batch of racing titles to be released when the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One swings around, there are a number of options available to them at present. The rather awful Fast & Furious: Showdown made its appearance last week, but luckily racers will have a much better time with Grid 2.
What we like about it
The fact that it falls slightly in the middle between arcade racer Need for Speed and serious racing title Forza is somewhat appealing. Although it doesn’t have all the customisation aspects of Forza, it’s a bit more serious than Need for Speed.
Where NFS has some silly elements, Grid 2 tries very hard to be taken seriously in many of the choices presented to the player, but aspects during the actual racing brings it down a notch. Something that has been present in many Codemasters titles are the fact that players will be able to rewind time after a crash or a wrong turn, and while it is great for correcting small mistakes, it removes itself somewhat from reality.
In terms of gameplay, it’s a smooth as one can hope for. The cars all respond and react as they would in real-life, and it’s very easy to get to grip with how the different cars handle. In the beginning of the title, players will be presented with a Rear-Wheel Drive car, and not making the back swing out violently is a bit of an art.
The overall presentation of the title is also very sleek, with players bouncing between elements in the workshop to reach different sections of the menus. A computer sitting on a desk is accessed for upcoming races and challenges, while a toolbox on the workbench is used for the options.
Between all that, the vehicle of choice is parked in the garage, and players will be able to walk around it to inspect the livery placement and just to get a general view of car.
Graphically, it’s not exactly on the same scale as Forza (but then again, which game is) but it definitely gives it a good run for its money. The tracks were created with a high level of detail, and even the in-car dashboard is accurate. The sound produced by the vehicles are also a plug-point, as they generally sound like their real-world counterparts.
What we don’t like about it
The dangers of having a racer that is neither serious nor arcade-like is that it can get lost in-between it all. While the racing is smooth and responsive, players will be able to rewind time. As we mentioned before, it’s not a bad thing, but removes it a bit from reality.
The difficulty curve is also something that might irk some players, as there seems to be a rather huge difference between Easy, Medium and Hard driving settings. Driving on Medium will pose players with a stiff challenge (and rightfully so), but some of the AI drivers just seem to be a little too good or vengeful to compete with the player.
Speaking of vengeful, AI drivers will have absolutely no worries about ramming their car against yours if you try to overtake them. It does make the player feel that they have entered a Destruction Derby match, instead of a heated race to the finish.
Also, some of the side challenges posed to players in order to rank up, can seem a bit unfair at times. Driving a lap to beat the Bronze time, we clipped a couple of corners, spun out on the grass and scrap the side against a wall.
Retrying the lap course with almost driving precision, we only managed to beat our previous time by one or two seconds – which seems a bit strange, as we drove a lot better the second time around. Its small things that like that, which will annoy other players.
There is actually no doubt that Grid 2 is one of the sleekest and most beautiful racers that we have seen this year. While it’s not exactly on the same scale as the hugely-popular Forza series, it does provide for great competition.
The vast selection of cars handle like they are supposed to, the graphics are very capable of delivering the smallest of details and the gameplay is exciting, action-packed and very fast. It’s definitely worth a try.
Our score: 8/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor
Here is an official gameplay trailer for Grid 2: