Grid 2

grid_2_box_art
6.5 Overall Score

Fun Racing | Tough AI

Separate Garage For Online and Single Player | Earning Fans Does Nothing For You

Written by on June 22, 2013 in [, ]

Simulation style racing games can be extremely difficult for people to get into. The aspect of making one mistake on a course and ruining an entire run can potentially scare off newcomers, yet there’s still a large number of people who find this extremely fun. Grid 2 attempts to make some small changes to the genre to get more people involved. At the same time, however, some small things will likely have newcomers and fans alike feeling that Grid 2 is lacking in some important ways.

Grid 2 stars a nameless protagonist as he helps racing mogul Patrick Callahan build his new racing league: World Series Racing. The game features a decent number of cutscenes, with interviews from actual ESPN announcers telling the story of WSR’s growing success. It’s a cool concept but it never feels like anything more than massive product placement, which the game is already littered with.

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The actual racing style of Grid 2 is more akin to a simulation style racer than it is to an arcade one. However, like Forza before it, Grid 2 adds in a rewind button that you can use to undo some of your mistakes. While you’re getting accustomed to the controls this is critical, but the moment you make more than five major mistakes you might as well restart the entire race, simply because it isn’t worth losing all the time it would take to get all the way near the end, only to make that critical sixth mistake and have to start over anyway. Since there’s no penalty for using this feature, it seems odd that Grid 2 didn’t follow Forza’s lead and allow for unlimited rewinds.

Instead of featuring the (currently) more popular “open-world” racing approach, Grid 2 relies heavily on selecting what race you want from the various menus. The immediate downside to this is that if you get stuck on one race, you’ll likely have to drop the difficulty down a notch in order to progress. This can be somewhat frustrating if you’re dead set on trying to complete every race on normal difficulty.

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The AI in Grid 2 can be somewhat bipolar. Certain levels will be incredibly simple, placing you in first only a few seconds in. Then, only one race later you’ll be hounded by the AI drivers to the point where you spin out. For players who are willing to invest a lot of time with the game, it actually can keep you on your toes as you’ll almost never know what kind of race you’re going to be in. Certainly it’s not by design but, that said, players who are more accustomed to arcade style racers will probably want to drop the difficulty down a bit.

One thing that Grid 2 loves is marketing. There are a ton of sponsored challenges from real world companies. These challenges manifest in two different forms. The first features races with branded cars. For example, there’s a Rockstar Energy series of races that has you driving around in a car covered in Rockstar Energy logos.

The other, and arguably cooler, approach is in sponsor challenges. When you unlock a new part of the WSR, you’ll be allowed to pick several different sponsors. Each sponsor has a different challenge for you to complete. These can be things like drifting a certain distance or completing a specific type of race. These small challenges are cool, however they really bring to light one of the biggest problems the single player campaign has: you’re really doing this for nothing.

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As you race, you’ll accrue fans, depending on how well you did in a race and what sponsor challenges you completed. However, these fans aren’t any actual sort of currency. You just get fans to get fans. You can’t use these to purchase new vehicles, as all of the vehicles you earn are unlocked by completing “vehicle challenges” to win them. You can’t upgrade your car in single player, but you can in the multiplayer and that seems to be where these fans could have actually benefited the player. As it stands, though, the number of fans you get is just a statistic with no real significance.

If you enjoy the racing of Grid 2 you’ll be happy to know that there is a ton of it. You can play Grid 2’s single player for well over fifteen hours and still be nowhere near done with all of the races. There is a caveat that the number of locations feels very limited. As each section of the WSR is broken into specific sections of the world, you’ll see the same locations and race in the same areas lots of times. The game does add in a decent variety of race types slowly throughout, though, so even if you do see a track multiple times you’ll likely be doing something a bit different each time.

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The multiplayer does feature one fairly significant difference from the single player and that is the ability to upgrade your cars. The slight tuning of each car in Grid 2 is very precise, so making these changes to your cars does bear a significant impact. However, if you’ve invested a lot of time in the single player earning all of the cars that you can, you’ll have to do that all over again as the multiplayer and single player sections of Grid 2 don’t share a garage.

Grid 2 is a decent, yet flawed game. There are small things that many hardcore simulation racing fans will enjoy but it will do little to bring in fans of a more arcade approach. The issues with seeing the same tracks over and over again are significant enough to make the game very bland if you’re not completely invested in the racing mechanics themselves and the fact that your fans do nothing for you is extremely confusing and disappointing. There’s some decent racing to be had in Grid 2, but little else is terribly interesting.

A copy of Grid 2 was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

One Comment on "Grid 2"

  1. Joe July 7, 2013 at 2:13 am - Reply

    What would have made this game really good for me was if you could use the fans as currency to upgrade your car/performance. But since you cant do that then its pointless accumulating fans in the first place. I would have scored the game 8-8.5/10 but since you cant upgrade in single player the hard work doesn’t really pay off so I would give it a 6/6.5 out of 10.

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