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. Loved GRiD but was not holding high expectations for this after DiRT 3 failed to improve on what made DiRT 2 so good. Both GRiD and DiRT 2 found a great balance between arcade / simulation that made them both feel easy to get a hold of but not denied a sense of pride when smashing lap times.
    GRiD 2 seems to have left such great origins (by what I’ve read here and elsewhere) and thus I shall be holding out for Drive Club / GT6 / PGR5.
    Codemasters; please dear lord release a new TOCA game, for me they were the best racers you guys made!

  2. More of the same. Any other year i might buy it but im saving up for a PS4 + games, GTAV

  3. It does look pretty good, but to echo the thoughts of a few others, the lack of Touring cars (apart from a possible golden oldie German touring car series?) is a little dissapointing. The game might possibly be to Grid what Dirt 3 was to Dirt 2, we’ll see, I just don’t seem to be filled with eager anticipation for some reason.
    I will pick it up at some stage, but not as a pre-order.
    In the mean time GT6 demo in June haha :P

  4. 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.

    ———

    Say F’n What?

    No sale.

  5. What were codemasters thinking with Grid 2 ? Everything that was good about the original seems to have disappeared completely. No in cockpit view EH? your shitting me. I think they’ve been drinking from same bonkers cup as microsoft. I pre-ordered this on Codemasters previous track record of racing games which have been good. So if your were hoping for a Toca/Grid style racing game like me your gonna be sorely disappointed. Americanised drivel is whats left, bloody shame to.

  6. Bring back Toca or give me my money back.

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