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 loading times aren’t great, but are still being optimised

Yeah, so whether it’s my decrepit TEST PS3 or just this reliance on everything being a solid, tangible thing I don’t know, but Grid 2 takes a while to get things done. There’s a widescreen throwback to Need for Speed: Undercover’s loading screen that you’ll see a lot of (albeit one interspersed with Codemasters’ love of slowly scrolling statistics) but it’s in things like switching between cars that’ll really test your patience – a feat rewarded with a view of just a wheel and a bumper, by the way, despite only having a tiny card to choose from.

It’s a similar story in-game, too. Some of the events involve multiple runs at the same track, and whilst each individual bout can be over in a minute, there’s a fair chunk of loading that goes with it, too. And then once its done you’re treated to the exact same circuit flyover before the game starts. Yes, you can skip the video, but you can’t help wonder why this wasn’t all streamlined.

The review notes do say that load times are still to be optimised though, so although the code is marked as ‘review’ it wouldn’t be fair to assume that the waiting times won’t be improved when the game is mastered for retail. Bear this in mind when you read the reviews doing the rounds today – whilst I’m not expecting the loading to completely fix itself (and Codemasters don’t give much away in terms of numbers) we’ll take another look at this when final review code rolls around, hopefully in the not too distant future.

grid 2

The cars – they’re there, but they’re not the stars

It’s true. Grid 2 has loads of cars, but they’re not really the focus. The game tries to make you think that you are, as you’d expect, and that comes across in the game’s lengthy career mode which puts the player right in the centre of everything’s that going on. The game taps into current social networking attractions (like YouTube) and ranks your performance in terms of fans – even the post-race audio commentary likes to chip in with how you’re currently being perceived outside of your team.

Does it work? Yes, and it gives a real sense of progression. Whilst the menu system doesn’t always highlight the best way forward, the game does continue to pile on the ever-increasing stats, and the integration with RaceNet promises (I didn’t get chance to really test it) to ensure that there’s always competition between friends and rivals for the best times for each track.

So whilst the game happily dangles fancy metallic carrots in front of the player throughout the game, in Grid 2 the cars really aren’t the focus. You start with four (one of each of the game’s classes, which means there’s one from the fastest to play with from the off) and are faced with multiple decisions over which ones to choose from a supplier and which to enter into races (although some races are for specific car types) but this is a racing game about the racer, not the ride, it’s all about the career.

grid 2

There’s the quirky, centralised handling system again

The game starts you off with a big fat muscle car, but the first choice you get – the one that opens up a more spritely Nissan Silvia – doesn’t necessarily change the handling a great deal. The fact that the game things a heavy Mustang Mach 1 should line up specs wise with an S15 tuned for drifting is baffling enough, but out on the track there’s not a massive amount of difference between the two. Yes, they do handle differently, but not by nearly enough. The game opens up fairly quickly (after the first couple of seasons) and the options highlight the handling more acutely, but at first it’s not evident at all.

This isn’t helped by the external camera view making you feel like the cars are spinning on a central pivot rather than turning at the front wheels. I’m sure they’re not doing this and it’s just an optical illusion, but early Codemasters games did suffer from this issue and when the camera’s swinging so violently from side to side it’s hard to establish what’s going on at all.

What’s also worth noting is that there’re no assists to switch on and off. The game attempts to figure out what you need and what on the fly, which may or may not work for you.

Thankfully, the in-car view is much, much better. Sure, the dashboard viewpoint is gone (there’s just the bumper view and one from the centre of the bonnet) but the game controls far more convincingly from the first person settings. It’s a little twitchy, especially at first, but given enough practice it’s not hard to coax the vehicles around the corners with a little drifting – they’re heavy, but not heavy enough so that they’re not fun to drive at high speed. It’s a fine balance between accessibility during the street courses and keeping the cars on the track during the long point to point ones, and Codemasters have done a good job.

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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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