Graph Paper

We follow the lines when checking out GRID 2.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: June 7, 2013
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There was a time when I was pretty sure that Codemasters was going to pick up the mantle from the fallen powerhouse Papyrus and claim the title of greatest developer of simulation racers. Codemasters have always maintained a huge range of racing games that touched on everything from F1 to Rally Racing to Street Racing and early on they definitely focused on realism as much as possible.

A funny thing happened this generation though. The Dirt series started focusing way more on stunts and demolition (not that there is anything wrong on that) and street racing was handed over to the GRID series which turns down the realism and spawned their latest release GRID 2. To be fair, the F1 series still carries the torch as a really tough and realistic racer.

That isn’t to say GRID 2 doesn’t try for some realism. There are a fairly broad range of settings that you can adjust that can make things like damage matter and driving tighter, but you won’t be setting camber angles and oil richness or do much of anything in the garage that doesn’t revolve around sponsorships. But here’s the thing… for me the racing isn’t very compelling in that mode. Tracks are carved out from city streets, but everything outside the course is just an endless wall of barriers and the tracks don’t have nearly as many 90 degree turns as you’d expect. In other words the city is just a backdrop and this may as well be Ridge Racer or even Pole Position.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a highly refined version of one of those types of games, so I turned the game to minimal realism and drove HARD and had a great time with game. In the single player mode you’ll start as a YouTube sensation who attracts the notice of a race promoter starting a new series. Taking on other notorious racers earns you more fans as well as the respect of racers who will join your new league. Soon you’ll be running through seasons and sponsor races and the occasional challenge to earn a new car.

The two dozen or so cars themselves are a nice mix of classics and modern racers so you’ll see tons of 60’s Camaros going up against a Fairlady Z and things like that. Cars are rated on power, acceleration and weight giving them a unique feel if not a super precise one. You’ll unlock new ones at a steady pace and occasionally you’ll get to test out a super advanced car for a race or two.

As has become a Codemasters tradition, you’ll find there are quite a few race types to keep things interesting in this modern age where just plain racing clearly isn’t going to hold your attention. There ARE standard races to be sure, but there are also one-on-one races, drifting challenges, eliminator races and overtaking challenges. Probably a couple others I am forgetting too. The only thing missing is Destruction Derby classic “Wreckin’ Racing” (man I wish they would have included that. GRID 2 would be a GotY candidate if I could have scored points for 360ing a dude) but even without that it is a nice variety.
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