Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Box Art(http://www.gridgame.com)  Rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.  Fans of Grid have been waiting for a sequel ever since its release in 2008.  Now five years later, they have their sequel. Over Grid’s five year absence, Codemasters has learned a lot from its other racing games and has implemented them in Grid 2. Getting into The World Series Racing league is the main goal of the game and everything you do is to build up a fan base to get into the league and maintain traction in the eyes of the fan.  The game introduces a lot of features that the racing genre may have needed, but is this the successor fans are hoping for? Or is this just another racer that will be left in the dust like so many other racing games?

Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Box ArtGrid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Logo

(http://www.gridgame.com)  Rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.  Fans of Grid have been waiting for a sequel ever since its release in 2008.  Now five years later, they have their sequel. Over Grid’s five year absence, Codemasters has learned a lot from its other racing games and has implemented them in Grid 2. Getting into The World Series Racing league is the main goal of the game and everything you do is to build up a fan base to get into the league and maintain traction in the eyes of the fan.  The game introduces a lot of features that the racing genre may have needed, but is this the successor fans are hoping for? Or is this just another racer that will be left in the dust like so many other racing games?



Graphics:
Overall the graphics in Grid 2 are quite beautiful, just as you would expect from Codemasters.  Even though it has been five years since the first Grid, Codemasters has made a couple of other racing games and have honed a nice visual style.  To put it simply the cars look gorgeous.  All the stops have been pulled out to make this an outstanding looking racer.  The customization of the cars adds to the overall beauty of the game and makes it look exactly how you want it.  The only thing that fails to impress about the cars is the damage.  It starts extremely good, but there is a point when you have so much damage that the cars shouldn’t even run.  They look plain ridiculous and don’t realistically look like what a car would with that much damage. 

Although the cars are great looking, the game does have a few things it doesn’t do well graphically.  For instance, the environments are not exceptionally well rendered.  This may have been done to put more emphasis on the car but it doesn’t exactly work.  The environments are not necessarily bad but they are dated for a racing game in 2103.  It does not seem up to par with other racing games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted, at least for the backgrounds.

Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots

Sound:
The music in Grid is more or less non-existent.  You will never feel like it is necessary or that it is even there and during races you won’t notice any kind of music at all.  Although there is no need for music in the game, the voice acting of the narrator is extremely entertaining.  For instance you can have him call you by a name and they range from regular names to names like Chocolate.  This helps make you feel like you are actually the racer.  Even though he won’t say your name, you know he is talking to you and that it is a name you picked for yourself. It is a very entertaining feature that makes the Codemasters games stand out from other racers.

In a racing game the most important sound is the sound of the cars.  Codemasters did not forget that and made the sounds of the cars as good as any.  Hearing a Mustang rev up is a sound that makes you feel like you are ready for action.  At times you will feel like the cars are actually there.  The sound of the crashes is also done well, but not quite as well as the engine noises.  You will never feel like the crashes are real or that they have any real impact in the game, hence taking from the realism of the great sounding cars.  This is something that most racing games have a hard time with though. 

Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots

Gameplay:
Grid 2 took a lot from all the Dirt games as well as the original Grid and smashed it all together in one spot.  Grid was a solid racer with a lot of unique features that other racing games have tried to duplicate for years.  Grid 2 does not disappoint in this regard and is one of Codemasters best playing racing games.  They have kept a wealth of game modes and their trademarked flashbacks system.

One of the newest additions is the TrueFeel handling system, which was implanted to bring a better balance between the ultra-realistic racers and the arcade styles.  It is a very unique system that takes a little while to get accustomed to.  It’s not as unforgiving as games like Gran Turismo, but less forgiving than Need for Speed.  This gives it an odd learning curve because all other games are either arcade or realistic.  The system is good, but it does have its own learning curve which near the start can be quite frustrating.  One thing that makes the game feel a little more real is the damage system.  Other games have done damage systems for cars before, but Grid 2 makes it a little frustrating.  Once you are damaged enough your car will start pulling to either the left or right and it will make it increasingly hard to drive.  This does not make the game unplayable, but it does push it closer to the realistic than the middle ground it strives for.

Grid 2 also introduced a new LiveRoutes system which can change the layout of a track, so that every lap is a different experience. For instance you could complete a lap with a lot of straight stretches and then the next lap it could be a bunch of complex turns.   This is a unique experience in a racing game; it’s not as free as an open world racer, and not as easy to play as a regular racing game.  This is a nice addition and something that can be reused in the future as outstanding addition to the racing genre. 

Connectivity is becoming a big part of our world and Codemasters has realized that.  They have implemented a system that lets you upload your race videos straight to YouTube.  This is a fun feature and really shows that Codemasters is forward thinking when it comes to their games.  There is also connectivity to both Twitter and Facebook, but it is not as fun or entertaining as the YouTube videos. 

Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots

Longevity:
Online play can expand the longevity of a game a lot and in Grid 2. You will find a lot of fun with it.  The uploading to YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook can add a lot of replay value for showing off to your friends.  For all you Trophy/Achievement hunters, there are over 50 to collect and there are not very many hard ones, but there are quite a few that will require time.  Overall the Trophies/Achievements in Grid 2 are extremely obtainable and if you are a hunter, this is a decent game for you to try. 

Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots   Grid 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Screenshots

Conclusion:
Grid 2 tries to do more than most racers do Although it is overall nice, it doesn’t always pay off. It is definitely an above average racing game with a few flaws. It has a lot of charm and replay value.  With Codemasters trying so many new things in this game, it would be nice to see them get a little more flushed out in future iterations.  For instance, the LiveRoutes system is a fantastic idea, but it does seem like it could have been implemented better and expanded upon in future games.  The TrueFeel also favored too heavy on the realistic, but not enough to be one or the other.  At times, this could be frustrating and should probably have been either realistic or arcade, not both  If you are looking for a solid racer that tries to advance beyond your typical arcade racer, Grid 2 is right up your alley.  Grid 2 stays faithful to the core of the Grid and Dirt games. And if you enjoyed the other games, this is a wonderful addition to your racing collection. 

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