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Release Date:
May 28, 2013

If you weren’t already aware, Codemasters typically produces rock solid racing games that are deep and highly engaging. Featuring a heady blend of arcade and simulation elements, the first Grid succeeded in delivering a high-octane ride that was worthy of notice. The sequel features a wide range of locales, fantastic track design, demanding physics, and plenty of stimulating event diversity. The damage system is quite realistic and you’ll soon find yourself appropriately dreading collisions. It has a few flaws that keep it from reaching elite status but all in all, Grid 2 is a damn fine racer.

Visually, Codemasters steps things up with more detail and better special effects. While you certainly don’t want to crash, you’ll appreciate the effort put forth by the graphics team. Each car is beautifully designed, many of the backgrounds through which you race are convincing and attractive, and the vivid color scheme is excellent. There are some frame rate issues that jar the eyes a bit, especially when those collisions occur, and some of the circuits aren’t as sharp upon closer inspection. But as you’re flying down the track at ridiculous speeds, you probably won’t have time to worry about a random blurry image in the backdrop.

The sound is peppered with the gunning of all sorts of engines, as Codemasters has clearly done their homework when it comes to high-performance vehicles. The thrilling sounds of racing dominate the experience and a fitting soundtrack doesn’t outstrip the effects. Every racing enthusiast wants to hear the skidding of tires and the revving of the engine; he doesn’t want it mired beneath a loud, obnoxious score. That’s fine for straight-up arcade racers, I suppose, but this game has a lot more substance. Therefore, the clarity and authenticity of the effects is essential. The balancing isn’t perfect, though, which is mildly disappointing.

In Grid 2 , you will be given the opportunity to prove your driving prowess in all corners of the globe, piloting some of the fastest, most technologically advanced vehicles on earth. The task is a difficult yet exciting one, and you don’t really need the knowledge and skill of a true racecar driver to succeed. You do, however, need to practice, as mastering each distinct car takes time, and some of the more difficult circuits require constant repetition. For the record, I usually don’t like racers that straddle the line between arcade and simulation, because such games seem to lack a sense of identity. They just don't know what they want to be.

But this game does very well in presenting us with a semi-realistic racing experience that remains mostly accessibly throughout. The game won’t tolerate huge mistakes like overly heavy drifting, while at the same time, it will continue to assault your senses with the unmistakable flair of a colorful, grin-inducing arcade racer. And you know, I kinda like that in the setting of the game, you’re already a world-class driver. I realize that people may want to start as no-names and work their way up (yes, that’s realistic), but the fantasy and luxury of fast cars and exotic locales remains alluring. And Grid 2 captures that nicely.

From the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the streets Barcelona and just about everywhere in between, you will take on the best in the world. Each location is a treat in and of itself and when you get down to racing, you’ll be impressed with the rigorous AI and solid track design. The damage system in place really is special, as each car starts to disintegrate after a series of unfortunate scrapes and all-out crashes. The dropping frame rate can get a little annoying, especially during intense moments of action, but you can almost forgive that due to the extraordinary level of immersion. And although you’re a seasoned driver, you will still learn new disciplines and take part in various event types.