GRID 2 Review: Helping Establish a League Has Never Been So Fun
Played on Steam (Also Available on PS3, 360)
GRID 2 is all about the WSR – World Series Racing – and establishing it as a well-known league across the entire world. Players start in the United States and race hard to earn fans, since having more fans is obviously better. Before the WSR holds a championship tournament in different regions, players must compete against a number of racing clubs to impress fans, recruit drivers, and show that racers associated with the WSR are indeed the best.
As players engage in the campaign, they’ll start collecting many fans while helping promote the league in not only the United States, but all over the world by beating new clubs to gather further interest in the WSR. What’s enjoyable about the campaign is that it’s fun to impress clubs to join the WSR by beating them at their own game. While, a lot of the time, racing is the main event, there are different types of events that come up when facing new clubs across the world. For example, players will first come across drift events when they reach a club based in Japan. Each time you come across new clubs, different events take place.
Racing, Endurance, Eliminator, Drift, Touge, Checkpoint, Face Off, Time Attack, and Overtake are the available modes that players come across throughout the course of the campaign.
One of the new features available in GRID 2 is LiveRoutes, which is actually rather awesome. Instead of knowing the course by heart and having an understanding of every corner, LiveRoutes keeps players on alert because they’ll never know what turns are coming up ahead. However, just to be clear, LiveRoutes is simply another event type, so players still get plenty of regular racing in case they are worried about not having regular laps and lap times to race against.
LiveRoutes is a fantastic addition to the game and its events, something that all racing fans will enjoy. I love when I am racing on a large course and it takes me along a longer route but then quickly shortens it, having me race along the same streets that I just recently passed. It’s edgy and entertaining, especially as players are unsure of what turn is coming up ahead. However, most gamers will eventually learn the courses well enough to not be completely surprised by a turn.
Should players ever mess up on a corner, there is a flashback button that allows them to rewind the action to reattempt the turn or situation. The flashback button also works online, though it operates a little bit differently. It quickly respawns players, with speed, not too far back from where they crashed, though it’s a big enough gap that players are still punished for screwing up.
The racing in GRID 2 handles suitably, having a good mix of sim and arcade-based gameplay. Each vehicle, of course, has a unique handle on the road. It’s rather difficult going from a tightly controlled vehicle to a slippery one, though once players get a feel for either, they’ll be able to handle them well enough. There are four different tiers of vehicles based on performance, and vehicles can be customized with decals and paint, though upgrades in performance only exist with online gameplay.
GRID 2 offers a racing experience that isn’t overly surprising, yet it’s still a lot of fun with the addition of LiveRoutes, which helps contribute to another fantastic racer. One of the first things players will notice are the visuals, which could explain why my racing was so ugly at the beginning. I love watching the leaves fall down onto the track or seeing the sunrays come through the trees, the game’s visuals are very impressive. They’re even more impressive when sparks are flying from the rims of your tires due to not having any tires. It certainly looks cool, but it doesn’t handle well at all when trying to drive above 50mph. This ends up sending players flying into another wall, and all walls have a tendency to bite at vehicles.
There are a good variety of tracks available in the game as well, from city streets to actual circuits, players are going to enjoy racing on these roads. The mountain trails are enjoyable as well, and each track is full of fast turns and hairpin corners that can have players slowing to a near halt. This also adds for good variety of online gameplay, especially when mixed with the amount of event options that are available.
GRID 2 online is completely separate from the single player campaign, meaning players are starting all over from the begging, having to earn money and level up to unlock and purchase new vehicles. Cars online can be upgraded in three categories, engine, drive train, and handling. Players are going to spend a lot of time with the beginning vehicles, so it’s best to enhance them as much as possible without increasing their tier rank. If players enter an online race in a tier with a vehicle they don’t own, they are provided with a standard vehicle from that tier. However, on an important note, players don’t earn the full percentage of cash when racing with an un-owned vehicle, so it’s best to always try and find races with an owned vehicle.
Playing in online customized events is a great deal of fun as they are based on up to 5 rounds during each online session. Each race and event type can be random or specific and has the goal of earning the most points by finishing in top positions against lobbies of up to 12 players. I haven’t had any issues online at all, either, and it’s been very enjoyable to race against the community. I’ve seen cars go flipping and flying off the tracks and tight roads become cluttered with cars, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the round/points-based online gameplay that GRID 2 offers.
GRID 2 is absolutely beautiful, and players will love the intense feeling of speed that the game presents. It’s easy to recommend this title to any racing fan.