Racing is all about power, speed, control, and spicy locales in which to show off those attributes in front of thousands of screaming fans. GRID 2, the sequel to Codemasters’ Race Driver: GRID, delivers on all of those key elements that make racing games so fun and enticing, even after all these years of basically unchanged gameplay.
As the player continues to win races and amass fans, the stakes go international, and the league grows from a small dream in the back of the mind of a rich guy into a worldwide phenomena noticed by fans, sponsors, and even the big fish over at ESPN’s Sportscenter. Much of this story is kind of unrealistically fast and ideal, but remains fun and doesn’t overpower the situation. A lack of vehicle customization both speeds the game up and takes away from a the total experience. While paint jobs and designs can be changed, the cars come souped up to their maximum level in the one-player mode, though there are some customization options in online multiplayer.
There is a huge selection of race types outside of the basic race, the simplest being the classic checkpoint or power lap runs. There are various other types, such as overtake or touge races, that challenge the drivers in creative ways. Overtake races take place between two drivers, seeing how many pace trucks in a row can be passed without collision. A touge race is a speed control run against another driver, with strict impact rules and difficult winning conditions. These and various other race types, like Eliminator and Time Attack races, give players a nice selection of racing experiences and challenges.
Taking GRID 2 online allows for versus races against friends and strangers from all around the world. The races seem to flow well and do not suffer from lag issues. During live races, the new LiveRoutes will change the direction of turns in-race as well as race to race, keeping tracks fresh. This is a great implementation that helps cure some of the monotony of racing track after track. If racing against others isn’t the ticket, GRID 2 also offers a series of Global Challenges, pitting you against everyone else for supremacy on weekly leaderboards.
GRID 2 is a really fun game that can become a long-time favorite for casual fans and racing fanatics alike. It’s story is accessible and rewarding, the races are varied and challenging, and the overall experience is positive. Aside from a few missteps in track selection and ambiance, GRID 2 firmly establishes Codemasters as one of the premier racing game developers around today.