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Seven Things About: Grid 2

Codemasters' latest hits shelves this week, but how does it compare to what else is out there, and a looming Gran Turismo 6?

grid 2

The gritty, noisy visuals – they’re back

If you thought Codemasters would abandon the noisy, sometimes distractingly overly busy visuals that made up Race Driver: GRID (and most of their games afterwards) you’d be wrong – Grid 2 looks like a mix of Need for Speed: Shift’s dramatic camera angles and pretty much every lighting effect available right now. It’s meant to be edgy, of course, and succeeds to a certain degree, but it’s to the detriment of the frame rate, which (on consoles at least) starts at 30fps and fluctuates down when there’s a lot going on. There’s a bit of tearing too, which doesn’t help.

I don’t personally mind what the developers have done here, the special effects and jaunty angles help to convey a sense of motion and spectacle that accentuates velocity and acceleration, giving the impression that there’s more going on, and faster, than there really is. It’s a shame that the stability has suffered a little, but most people won’t even notice, and nobody was really expecting Gran Turismo levels of clinical clarity, were they?

Environmental details are pretty rich, the colour palettes diverse, and there’s a certain sense of branding that the Codemasters games have pretty much stuck to since the first Grid game that would be lost if everything wasn’t soaked in layers of filters and post-processing. It’s not what the real world looks like, but as we’ll see throughout this article, Grid 2 does away with the notion that this is a simulation as soon as you first get behind the wheel – this is arcade racing wrapped up in oddles of official licensing. And a few Photoshop tricks.

grid 2

There’s Codemasters’ usual juxtaposition of user interfaces

But first, let’s try and navigate through this confusing mix of ooh we’re terribly modern simplistic vertical menu structures and oh why haven’t they changed this yet first person ‘immersive’ but completely different sub-menus. I like the quick flicking up and down to choose between single player and online (which didn’t work in our review build) because that’s what we’ve had since the ZX Spectrum; I don’t like then trying to figure out that a PC monitor holds a myriad of multi-layered race types that have to be explained by an unskippable voice-over.

A good rule of thumb is this: if you have to stop and think in a menu structure as to what to do next, or how to get back, you’re in a bad menu structure. Grid 2 seems happy enough to try to emulate what it’s really like for a small racing team but fails to appreciate that not everyone has the patience to figure out the way the developers have decided everything after the top level should pan out.

Again, this is one of Codemasters’ things, but whilst it worked in DiRT because you could see the whole thing and move back and forth in a 3D environment, here you’re navigating a menu, looking around for another, then you’re into a silly faux-website based system trying to guess which race you’re meant to do next. I’m exaggerating a little – it’s messy but hardly rocket science – but it shouldn’t be this way. The grace period for you doing this, Codemasters, is over – can we just have menus next time, please? And ones that load quickly?

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39 Comments
  1. Forrest_01
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    I should hopefully be getting this for my birthday – Love me a good arcadey racer & generally get on quite well with codies racers.

    Plus as R1M rightly pointed out, it isn’t like there are a lot of racing games scheduled for this year!

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 14:18.
  2. suicidalllama
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    I’d really love to get this, been really wanting a decent racer for a while now.
    When it comes to the rewinds being limited I’d prefer that to it being infinite which would remove a lot of the challenge. Things need to have consequences for them to matter.

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 14:31.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      The limited reinds thing isn’t really an issue for me either – If you have played any Dirt game after Dirt 2, they all have a limited number of rewinds (maybe not showdown, can’t remember).

      Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 14:54.
      • Wardy-77-
        Member
        Since: Mar 2013

        Codemasters do make exceedingly good cakes.

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 15:51.
      • Forrest_01
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Lol! Does that mean that Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good racing games? :D

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 16:46.
      • Wardy-77-
        Member
        Since: Mar 2013

        Oh he quite possibly makes the best racing games,Oh hang on that could be Codemasters ;)

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:07.
  3. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    I enjoyed the first one, but it’s gone too arcadey for me. Having rewinds takes the pressure off, and the handling appears to be focusing too much on drifting, but it’s the lack of cockpit view which is the biggest deal breaker for me.
    I’ll keep my eye on the PC version though, maybe someone somewhere down the line will create a cockpit mod for the more popular cars, and mods to change the handling.

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 14:57.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      Not had a chance to read the article, but seriously, no cock pit view? Huge deal breaker for me too, and possibly people who enjoy playing with a proper wheel and pedals.

      Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 15:35.
      • gazzagb
        Master of speling mitakse
        Since: Feb 2009

        I know it’s a lot of extra work to model car interiors, but without it I’m simply not going to buy the game.

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 20:12.
      • Youles
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        It does seem a bit lazy to me, but then this is Codies who re-used most of the tracks and locations for DiRT 3 in DiRT Showdown. I understand that it might be a lot of work, but they’ve had them in GRID, DiRT, DiRT 2, DiRT 3 and DiRT Showdown, so I just see it as a step backwards. To be fair, it’s not the only reason I’m not buying it, I don’t like that Codies are also pretty DLC heavy and with GT6 being announced, and DriveClub on PS4, I can live without this.

        Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 08:36.
  4. Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Wow, that preview made the game sound pretty average. Bet those who purchased the £125,000 special edition are pissed ;)

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 15:32.
  5. SpikeyMikey23
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Just waiting for it to arrive through the post. Can’t wait.

    We used to have a regular meet with Touring Cars. Manor, Moakasice, Ash, rob, enemy and a few others Anyone interested in reviving it?

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 15:51.
    • Ro6afc11
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      I had just assumed it was a given that something will be happening at some point.

      I have my copy ordered and hoping for Friday delivery from Amazon.

      Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 16:28.
      • G_The_Enemy14
        Member
        Since: Jan 2009

        You referring to me mikey? :) The Grid meets are the only ones I ever joined in with! They were so good, always competitive but nothing too aggressive or serious, which was handy because I was naff most of the time ha

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 21:35.
    • Manorhowze
      Driving God
      Since: Dec 2008

      Oh yes, once everyone gets up n running with the game there will be more touring car meets going on. Just got to decide on a day to do it.

      Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 13:35.
      • Adam Garrett
        Community Manager
        Since: Feb 2009

        We will definitely help you promote the meets. Feel free to make a forum thread about it. Maybe the winner could be noted from each week to keep a tally going and we could see about getting a prize to add a little more competitiveness to it while keeping it more casual than a fully fledged tournament.

        Just let us know what you would like :).

        Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 13:40.
      • Manorhowze
        Driving God
        Since: Dec 2008

        Cheers AG, the first meet or two will just be learning how it works online, after that I wanted to do some more mini tourneys. I’ve setup a thread and hopefully will get a response as to when is a good day for everyone.

        http://www.thesixthaxis.com/forum/tsa-meets/tsa-meets-grid-2/#p240335

        Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 17:38.
  6. Wardy-77-
    Member
    Since: Mar 2013

    Looking forward to this really enjoyed the original Grid, As for no cockpit view im not fussed as i don’t usually play that view anyway i like to see my car most of the time or play bonnet/bumper cam in most driving games,Apart from F1 where my view of choice was the slightly raised behind drivers helmet view.

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 15:59.
  7. Death_In_Flamez
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    Can’t believe people still refuse to buy the game because of no cockpit view. In my eyes it’s beyond silly as fundamentally it’s a fun racer. Not supposed to be like a sim anymore.

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 16:55.
    • Eldave0
      andUandU
      Since: Aug 2008

      It’s a difficult one but, in a way, I understand where people are coming from. I stopped buying Red Faction games when they moved from FPS to TPS, as I knew I wouldn’t want to play the game from that camera perspective. It’s all down to personal tastes I guess.

      Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:00.
      • Forrest_01
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Aw, you missed a bit of a gem in Guerrilla then – Stupid amounts of fun had in that game. Armageddon, not so much.

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:05.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      Pretty sure that’s up to them.

      Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 19:29.
  8. Blayney
    Member
    Since: Sep 2009

    Seriously considering cancelling my preorder. Why couldn’t they have made grid 1 with more cars, more real world tracks, more real racing series and a proper livery editor.

    The racing game I want sadly doesn’t exist. It’s a mix of Forza, Gran Turismo and ToCa Race Driver 3.

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:17.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Because it isn’t intended as a sim perhaps? I would say that if you want the things you describe above, you would be best sticking with GT.

      Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:33.
      • Forrest_01
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Sorry, forgot to add the smiley at the end.

        Here you go… :)

        Oh, sod it, have another for god measure! :)

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:36.
      • Blayney
        Member
        Since: Sep 2009

        Yet I adored GRID. :(

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:36.
      • Forrest_01
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Doh! Not sure what ‘god measure’ is, but i think that’s a sign to stop posting! :D

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:37.
      • Blayney
        Member
        Since: Sep 2009

        Take a deep breath fella.

        Feel better? :p

        Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 17:42.
      • Forrest_01
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Indeed i do! ;)

        Also, i should just point out that i wasn’t trying to be antagonistic with what i was saying, as i actaully get the same feeling when i realise that a racing game that appeared to be very arcadey is actually more akin to a sim (ferrari race challenge, supercar challenge etc), so i do know where you are coming from.

        That said, there are only a few racing games being released this year (this & GT6 are all that comes to mind), so my point was simply that with GT6 coming, if this was a sim too then i would personally have no racers to play this year.

        That said though, if you enjoyed the first grid, are you not more inclined to give this one a chance before writing it off as a loss?

        Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 14:01.
  9. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    It doesn’t sound as gripping as the original ..

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 18:40.
  10. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    I’m not sold yet, I was going to preorder this as a birthday present to myself, same as Forrest, but to say in the summary ‘The games not bad’ doesn’t fill me with confidence. Ill wait, keep my fingers crossed for a demo, and if all else fails treat myself to Far Cry 3 :)

    Forrest, two weeks today! Got anything exciting planned?

    Comment posted on 28/05/2013 at 18:53.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Less than one week for me now! :)

      But no, i have nothing planned really as i am a boring old fart! I believe that there will be a visit from my parents on the day (although as i say that, not sure if they are coming to me, or if i am moseying down to theirs) & i have planned to hopefully have a burn around on this in the evening with those that may be getting it (R1M, Wardy etc) providing santa got my letter (what do you mean he only does xmas??), but other than that, not much.

      The wife has been summoned to go work in another country for a little bit & has to leave on my birthday & i actually start my new job the following day, so i think my birthday itself will be somewhat of a subdued one.

      Still, I have the possibility of a birthday Grid 2 meet, a belated birthday Burnout meet & starting a new job, so i am not completely bereft of excitement! ;)

      Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 14:08.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Oh & i also meant to say that you should definitely treat yourself to a copy of FC3 for your birthday regardless of Grid 2 – Absolutely marvellous game.

      Comment posted on 29/05/2013 at 14:09.

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