Average User Score: 5.7Jun 6, 2013Mediocre. That is the word I usually use to describe gas station food or my snowboarding ability, not a massively hyped,Mediocre. That is the word I usually use to describe gas station food or my snowboarding ability, not a massively hyped, waited-forever-to-play-it video game. But yet, this game manages to attach that word to itself in my mind.
On the surface of things, it has all kinds of potential. A deep career mode, online racing, Facebook and YouTube-esque social settings, new cars, new adaptable tracks, a host of new racing schools, and those stunning graphics. How could it possibly go wrong?
Well, the career mode is possibly the biggest part of Grid 2 that Codemasters got wrong. Compared to the first Grid, where you could select what series you wanted to race, from the beginning-of-the-game-tier to the you-have-too-much-time-on-your-hands-tier, Grid 2 hands you a select few races that you must complete before they give you another set of select few races. While the races and series in Grid 2 provide some unique variety, there isn't the same kind of variety of Grid in which one minute I could be crossing the finish line at the Nurburgring short track, and lining up at a figure-8 demolition derby track the next.
The car selection is another pain in both the online and career modes. You no longer purchase whatever car you want from a specific race discipline. You have to finish "Car Challenges" to unlock a car that you will use in the next set of races. The first time I saw this, I thought "Ok, I'd better pick a car that I will like at the end of this, because I won't be able to pick the other one...", but as soon as I was finished, another challenge popped up. "Wait... So I just have to do two challenges for two cars? Well, that doesn't place any importance on these decisions..."
Speaking of the cars, I come to the driving physics. I have never personally driven a high performance car around a track, but if I ever get the chance to do it, I better hope that it doesn't behave like the cars in Grid 2. Every single car slides uncontrollably into the nearest immovable object. If I hadn't deliberately turned the car around and driven the wrong way around the track, I would have no choice but to think that every race was scripted, because I certainly didn't turn THAT direction. Or THAT direction. The cars are a nightmare to drive. Even if you come across one of the seemingly rare "Grip" oriented cars, if you try to trail brake into a corner, the back end tries to present itself to the nearest railing. And yes, that was an intended metaphor, since that is exactly how racing in Grid 2 feels.
Once you finally get used to your rear bumper railings and manage to get the car around the track without totaling it, you can start to enjoy the graphics and some of the unique racing elements that have been added to Grid 2. There are race tracks that change over the course of the race, meaning you have no idea if the left turn you took last lap is still there, or has turned into a straight, or maybe it still is a left... *BANG*. Nope, it was a right. I enjoyed this particular race style the most as it keeps you on your toes, but it is not without it's flaws. Depending on the track and race length, some of the course changes will loop around, and you can still start to memorize the track. They also use Time Trial races, no doubt borrowing from Codemasters' own Dirt franchise, which is refreshing for the asphault-only drift-o-rama that Grid 2 is.
The graphics however, are great. The reflections, shadows, and scenery are all spectacular. From rolling desert mountains, to twisting woodlands, and urban city-scapes, everything is on par to what I would expect if I drove through them at 120 MPH. Squirrels and rabbits will scamper across the road, flocks of birds will take flight as you drive past, and dirt, smoke and leaves swirl around the cars. All of this lends to create a very immersive environment which feels like you are actually driving past.
However, once you get over the jaw dropping first impressions, the visual effects dull out and you start to notice certain things that begin to take away from the experience. The squirrel that runs past the same tree EVERY lap. Those birds fly away EVERY lap. Those bystanders are all waving their arms at the EXACT same time. The sun flare seems to be the exact same regardless of the view mode used. Some of the smoke and dust effects seem to bug up and pixelate instead of staying smooth. While not important by themselves, all of it added up breaks the environment's image.
In the menus, things are not much more interesting than the first Grid. All of the attempted YouTube and Facebook imagery is nothing more than part of the rather shallow story. You can't watch videos of your last epic race, the social wall is nothing more than a repeating series of "Comments" from your competition that you can't respond to, and the available options are mostly zilch.
Overall, while the game tried hard to take things to the next level, it feels unfinished. Codemasters, this game is mediocre.… Expand