Codemasters are one of the last bastions of guaranteed great racing games. For many years now they have been known for creating the incredibly popular DiRT series but fans have clamoured for a sequel to 2008’s GRID. Now, half a decade later, GRID is back with a number of changes but does this game still deserve its place on the genres grid or has it been too long to qualify?
The first thing you will notice, as with all Codemasters games is the awesome presentation. Menus are incredibly slick and somehow enjoyable to navigate. Within those menus though things are pretty bare. You can either go online or enter the career. In the career, you can of course play split-screen, single-events or play through the five seasons.
Each season features mandatory events as well as vehicle challenges and promo events where you drive cars you will not unlock until later in the career. Compared to the original GRID, the career feels smaller, more directed, and to be honest, less exciting.
One of the biggest features of the original game was the fact that you could start up a team, hire racers and move up the ranks. It was mostly a new coat for the same structure of a racing title. GRID 2 is very standard in structure and because it’s by the numbers, it quickly feels likes it dragging on.
It matter s on the track though and GRID 2 doesn’t feel like a simulation or arcade game, which unfortunately will alienate all crowds. This means that every player must get use to controls and the feeling of each car. Once you get accustomed to the controls, there is a lot of fun to be had. Cars feel right and the higher tiered cars require you to be very careful accelerating out of corners to avoid spinning your car.
Throughout the game, there are a number of modes for you to play through including elimination, time trials, touge, and drift events which bring some variety but no one event type feels more exciting than the last.
The AI goes from fun to frustrating very quickly. As you race against opponents, they will change lines, be aggressive and make mistake meaning you won’t always be sure when to make your move. The one thing that is sure to annoy you though is the fact that all AI cars are much stronger than you. Regardless of your weight or how fast you’re going, each encounter with another vehicle will either end in you trading paint with them or you spinning out which is very aggravating when you are the one getting hit for just taking the correct racing line. Also, in touge events, if you make a mistake and the other car hits you, you get disqualified.
Visually the game is rather impressive but doesn’t come that close to the F1 racing series or Forza. It’s still a good looking racing title which great details on the car the reflect the surroundings making night races a standout in terms of impressing your eyes. The game definitely shine brightest in the night as street and building lights bounce of your bonnet or Chinese lanterns are released as you race down a hill.
The one major new addition to the game is live routes. This racing type is a simple race against opponents on a randomly generated track. There are set grid pieces to each track but they are all placed randomly making each race unpredictable. In an attempt the make the game seem it has more variety, it essentially will frustrate core racing fans who enjoy learning off a track and taking each turn perfectly. It was a decent idea never full realised or implemented.
Online is fun for those that really want to jump in. There are many racing series for you to participate in but unless you really want to jump in deep, you will be radically underpowered for a number of hours against higher levelled players.
If there is one major disappointment to be said, it’s definitely the lack of tracks. Whether they are in the exact same boat as Forza or not, they will be slightly compared to them and it is ridiculous to consider them being worth the same price in terms of content. GRID have about a dozen hours of content in the career but you will be racing on the same track over and over again and that’s disappointing.
GRID feels like a lot of games this year: short on content. A lot of games feels like they have a bunch of padding to feel like a full game possibly to give the team time to go to next-gen while keeping fans happy with a steady stream of games from them. It’s not as good as the original but it’s still a good game.