Can you believe it’s been a full 5 years since the original GRiD was released way back in 2008 and now to commemorate the end of the current generation of consoles Codemasters are releasing the much anticipated sequel to the game, GRiD 2.
I’ve been lucky enough to receive a preview snapshot of the game and have been putting it through it’s paces over the last while and I’m finally allowed to tell you about it.
So let’s get to it, the preview consisted of the first 3 career races and then 4 special events from further in the game.
The game starts off by throwing you directly into the action as you find yourself in an American Muscle car racing around the streets of Chicago. Your engineer comes over the line and lets you know that people may be watching your performance so you need to do your best. My best was stone last with a car that looked like it had been through the grinder.
And this is one of the first things you notice about GRiD 2, the damage effects not only look pretty awesome but they also affect your driving style quite considerably. Smashing your front right fender into the wall will likely, but not always, result in your car continuously trying to pull you to the right. Knock that a few more times and you literally will not be able to turn left anymore.
A bit more smashing and you are treated to a slow motion replay of your death including that all important detail of speed of impact.
But don’t stress if you aren’t the best driver out there, the variable difficulty levels make this a game for anyone to enjoy and if you do mistime that corner and smash into the wall you can use the reliable GRiD flashback option to rewind time to a point where you are happy to try again. This became invaluable as I spent a fair amount of time trying to time a chicane absolutely perfectly which resulted in a lot of bent metal.
Once you have completed the Chicago test race you are told that an absurdly rich guy called Callahan decides to set you up with a track day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to see if you have what he needs. However you’re not doing the boring oval track this time you are racing around the infield circuit with its numerous sweeping curves and sharp turns so you can put some practice into your drifting and braking ability.
Once you’re comfortable with how the car races you can head back to the garage where you will find that you’ve been entered into the New Union Club Race along the Californian coastal road. You also finally get to find out the story behind GRiD 2. Mr Callahan wants to create a World Series Racing league and to do that he’s hand picked you to showcase the ability of drivers that he is looking for.
American Muscle – California
Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to enter races across the planet against the best drivers in the world and convincingly beat them to show them that the best of the best race in this special new league. Each of these unique competitors are slightly different and have different racing styles. Your engineer will warn you if they are scrappy and happy to trade paint or other options.
And when they say they are happy to trade paint you better be ready, that guy took my paint, rust protection and right leg through the one corner.
The racing experience is solid with all the cars handling and sounding different. That overpowered Mustang sounds incredible but its handling leaves a lot to be desired while the Austrian Super Touring car sticks to the track like glue..until you push it that little bit too far.
As with all racing titles in this day and age the difference in handling on different surfaces is also striking and as always you really want to keep the car on the black stuff as much as you can.
Unfortunately I couldn’t progress any further in the career with this preview but I was given the chance to try my hand at three events from further in the title.
Austrian Touring Cars – Red Bull Ring GP Circuit
These beasts are incredibly fun to race around the Red Bull ring and are far better adapted to swapping paint and slamming on the breaks than the American muscle cars.
This part of the game apparently arrives in the fourth season of the WSR which points to the game having a lengthy single player experience which is never a bad thing
Nixon Drift Series – Okutama Mizu Mountain
Next up is my most hated part of motor sports, the sport of drifting. I don’t like drifting, I think it’s a waste of time and really has very little to do with motor racing. But who am I to judge when the entire Eastern part of the planet appears obsessed with it.
So I found myself screaming down a mountain and flicking my car into the corners while trying to clip the apex for those all important multipliers.
Granted it was a lot of fun.. but it’s still not motor racing.
Rockstar Energy Race Series – Dubai
Next up we headed to Dubai which looked absolutely incredible but what is really unique about this event is that it is using the new Live Route technology.
What is Live Route, well simply put it is an event where the route dynamically and randomly changes as you race through it, the easiest way to ensure victory here is to stay out front as you don’t want to see the road that your competitor just took to suddenly be closed up.
It’s a great idea and one that I can see being an awesome co-op or online experience
Alpinestars Elimination Series – Paris
Elimination races are nothing new in racing games but I think this is the first I personally have raced around Paris in the dark and I have to say the graphics and ambience was incredible.
I’ve luckily been to Paris a few times and noticing that cool bistro that you had lunch at as you speed past at 40 billion kilometres per hour is awesome, but even for those who have never been it’s a beautiful track to race around and that’s a good thing.
Because it took me absolutely forever to perfect my lap to end up in front as the top three guys appeared hell bent in putting my beautiful Bugatti Veyron into the Arc de Triomphe at every opportunity.
All in all GRiD 2 appears to be a solid package and if you were a fan of the previous experience you will likely be grateful that another version has finally arrived.
The title appears to do a good job of catering for the real racing fans out there as well as the Carmageddon styled drivers like myself. You can tune the type of damage that you want your car to withstand so if you are as bad a driver as Geoff you can still make it around the circuit in one piece.
GRiD 2 is expected to land on local shores at the end of this month on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC and according to the letter that came with the preview copy it will likely support all major race wheels.
There is apparently a large online and social section of GRiD 2 but unfortunately that wasn’t available in the preview so we’re just going to have to hold out for that experience.