PlayBack: GRID 2

GRID 2 isn’t exactly what you’d call a surprise sequel. Though it passed me by, the 2008 original was subject to rave reviews and a shower of awards so it always seemed likely a follow-up would eventually come in tow. Roll on five years and GRID 2 finally passed the finish line, arriving on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows. Though not as notable as its predecessor it still made for a stellar racing experience despite a few minor flaws here and there.

Since the first GRID, Codemasters had turned their attention to the F1 franchise as well as the Dirt series, a particular favourite among readers here at TSA. Though still popular in their own right (bar the rather dull F1 Race Stars) GRID 2 delivers a bit of variation with unique flare and distinctive racing gameplay.

As before – or in most racing games for that matter – your objective is to compete in events around the world and build acclaim, unlocking new venues vehicles and other bonuses. One thing that particularly stood out was how modernised the out-of-race experience felt. As a career racer you’d watch as your online fanbase grew through online videos and other forms of social media. Another nice touch was allowing players to input their own names, which would then appear all over the world as your exploits became more famous. GRID 2’s menu design also did a great job in tying up this slick yet simple look Codies were aiming for.



Best Bit

I don’t like Gran Turismo. There, I said it. I don’t like Forza either. Or F1. In fact I actively try to avoid anything racing sim related, whether that be in video games or elsewhere. Where some dream of belting down open roads in a Lamborghini or Ferrari, I’m quite content taking my nan to the shops behind the wheel of my Nissan Micra, with its odd-coloured passenger door and missing radio.

Before I get mobbed by pitchfork-wielding petrolheads I must say that GRID 2 succeeded in captivating me. I still have little interest in the motors themselves but the Race Driver sequel has kept me ticking over for quite some time.

I suppose it comes down to the fact that it isn’t a pure racing sim. Compared to Forza and Gran Turismo it feels a little more arcade-y with a strong emphasis on drifting. GRID 2’s Flashback mechanic also widens the gap, allowing you to turn the clocks back if things start going tits up.

Perhaps what I like most is the array of game modes on offer. Alongside default races is an eliminator archetype as well as time trials, endurance courses, drift challenges and more, all of which can be played online.


Worst Bit

One thing I failed to appreciate was the amount of repetition on show. I’m half way through the singleplayer career and fatigue is really starting to drag me down as I attempt to blitz through drawn-out race set lists. Codemasters may have nailed the racing gameplay but in terms of content GRID 2 can feel sloppy at times, as if the game is longer than it needs to be.

Online also has its problems. In truth I’ve gradually warmed towards it but there was a time I thought about packing in multiplayer all together. This was largely due to the inequality between racers; familiarity with courses and a spot of luck can be enough to win any race though GRID 2 also handed out unfair advantages.

Winning races online unlocks credits which can then be spent on better cars or upgrading the ones you have. Of course, the better your car, the better chances you have. It’s a natural progression path though one that begins to create a divide. Higher level drivers have the upper hand and can therefore keep winning over and over while getting more and more credits. Newbies, on the other hand, will be left desperately trying to finish, let alone grab first place. That is until there are eventually able to fork out on a shiny new ride.

GRID 2 surprised me in more ways than one and I’m glad I managed to overlook my preconceptions of racing sims. It’s slick, meaty, and more importantly, fun, bridging the gap between the schools of simulation and arcade.



  1. I thought GRID2 was a ferocious snarling beast, suggestively dipping your toe into a pool then pushing you into the deep end, turning off all aids and flashbacks help keep you at the edge of the sofa. The only downfall was the hype of the WSR I felt it didn’t really help me connect emotionally with the premise of being a part of grassroots racing series, if I’m honest developers need to drop the unnecessary single player story lines involved in racing games and just let us race!

  2. Wait your car has no radio, your journeys to work must be a bore.

  3. The online matchmaking for games like this usually is a bit cack, especially as the loan cars are usually the lowest/worst handling specimens in the given Tier in comparison to seasoned players with wealthy garages full of top rides.
    Good entertaining game though, albeit lacking in the Toca department!

  4. I enjoyed this and its predecessor, but I got bored before the end of both games for the same reason you mentioned, too much repetition, and also I think they’ve drifted a little too far away from the realism side on this one, so the handling model felt a bit off. ISTR Grid 1 had a better feel to it.

    Still, it was fun while it lasted but as Hully666 said above, they need to drop the storylines.

  5. I am enjoying Grid 2 and I love muscle cars. I am now in Season 4 and I just do one season at a time then play Killzone MP or Sonic Transformed on Vita. Thought I’d post this. Every Tuesday at 8pm we have Grid 2 Meets, all is welcome to join. We don’t want random who love to crash at the first turn!

  6. Personally, I absolutely loved the first Grid and whilst Grid 2 is visually a leap forward, the car handling is a step back.

  7. I don’t think matchmaking has been a problem in GRID 2. I don’t have any specifically brilliant cars yet I won a string of multiplayer races last night winning in first or second place, and netting me 200,000 in total. The reason I won though was familiarity with the track and a bit of luck in escaping the race launch bash up. My VW golf easily matched a high end muscle car in track time so I think overall it doesn’t matter what level the players are, they have a chance of winning. Newcomers will feel a lit out of place, but then that’s because they have to get familiar with anything. If anything, I have moaned about everyone bashing each other up, something which I’m quickly learning to avoid.

    The career is OK, but nothing compared GRID 1. GRID 2 feels much smaller, with less content and less of that racing pedigree. I do wonder whether Codemasters are an American studio now with all the culture in games like Dirt and Grid.

  8. Clunky is a word that comes to mind while playing Grid 2, it was such a let down compared to the original Grid. Man, i loved that game online and played it to death but Toca 3 is still there best racer to date.

  9. “going tits up” ahhh, a phrase I haven’t heard or used in a while. Happy days.

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