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Is GRID 2 Left Spinning Its Wheels At The Starting Line?

02 Jun Posted by + in PC, PlayStation, Xbox | Comments

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GRID 2 is a cool game. From its exceptionally brutal crashes and the spectacle of a perfectly executed drift past a rival racer to something as simple as the slick menu system, you’ll be hard pressed to find a driving game out there with more pizzazz. Style isn’t everything though and with plenty of arcade and simulation racers vying for your attention this year in the form of Forza 5, Need for Speed Rivals and Gran Turismo 6 (to name just a few) does GRID 2 have what it takes to keep up with the pack?

With any racing game the first question I always find myself asking is where it falls on the arcade/simulation scale? Is it a Gran Turismo or a Burnout? While not a massive fan of the former style of racer myself, I was pleased to discover that GRID 2 steers closer toward being a much more arcade focused experience. Sure you can tackle the tracks in a far more restrained manner relying heavily on the brake button and have some degree of success, but GRID 2 encourages you to go super fast and pull off over-the-top tyre screeching drifts. It dares you to take chances. It’s one of the reasons to love it.

As you can imagine this emphasis on taking risks leads to a high number of scrapes and crashes on the tarmac; and believe me, you will be crashing a lot. An awful lot. Overshooting a corner, misjudging a gap between rival car and road barrier or simply getting sideswiped by an especially savage opponent – all frustrating situations you’ll find yourself in plenty of times in GRID 2. Other racers are an especially big contributor to your car becoming scrap metal with opponent AI ruthless in their driving; a single knock or clip sending you spiralling out of control. Frustration starts to settle.

Thankfully the game hands you five flashbacks perfect if you need to rewind time and erase a crash thanks to a pushy opponent or a misjudged corner. With no real punishment for using these mulligans, they actually help give you extra confidence, encouraging you to take some risks with your driving; attempting drifts or high speeds you otherwise wouldn’t had these five safety nets not been there. While racing enthusiasts may turn their nose at the idea of being able to erase mistakes at the press of a button, for gamers like myself who tend to go full throttle and make multiple mistakes, it’s a godsend.

Driving in GRID 2 while not necessarily deep still feels great thanks to its focus on speed and spectacular drifts. That satisfying feeling of nailing a perfect corner, as you powerslide round in a cloak of smoke, mere centimeters away from the barrier can’t help but make you feel like a true daredevil – a sensation replicated again and again in GRID 2. If there’s one thing that may bother racing fans, it’s a lack of customization. No racing lines, no cockpit view, nothing bar a change in opponent difficulty and car damage.

The career is where you’ll spend most of your time and it’s here where the game’s biggest fault lies. Literally starting in your basic garage and working your way up through gathering fans and gaining publicity via social networks and television is a neat idea but one that merely crops up in infrequent videos scattered here and there during the campaign. While it’s certainly a noble attempt to offer some form of narrative to the proceedings, it feels as little more than a disguise for what is essentially a series of race events one after the other. Again the menu, no matter how slick and stylish it may seem, only offers you the choice in car and event. That’s about it.

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