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. 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!

  2. 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.

    • 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).

      • Codemasters do make exceedingly good cakes.

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

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

  3. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

  5. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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

    • 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.

      • 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 :).

      • 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

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

    • Pretty sure that’s up to them.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      • Sorry, forgot to add the smiley at the end.

        Here you go… :)

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

      • Yet I adored GRID. :(

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

      • Take a deep breath fella.

        Feel better? :p

      • 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?

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

  10. 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?

    • 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! ;)

    • 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.

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