Friday, 5 July 2013

Review: Grid 2 (360)

The competition for the driving fan's gaming dollar continues to be a fierce battle. With the Forzas and Grand Turisimos of the world there are a few games that are doing their best to cater to a wider audience. In that vein, Grid 2 tries to take the middle ground between enthusiast and the more casual racing fan.

The story revolves around you helping Patrick Callahan, a multimillionaire gearhead who wants to create "World Series Racing" which will feature all of the best racers from each part of the world. In order to help grow the business, you are going to be his main feature competing in all the different racing genres and become a huge draw for the league. In effect, the currency of your success is the fans that you draw to the business. Success draws fans, which in turn will lead to better equipment, which then leads to higher profile competition (and the vicious cycle of success breeding success). As such, the game features multiple locales for you to battle in and the usual insane variety of cars to race.

On the 360, Grid 2 does an excellent job of getting the maximum bang for the buck. The variety of maps look beautiful, the cars are as close as most of us will ever get to some of these mechanized supermodels and all the little touches, like the sound of the competition and the cars themselves, do a good job capturing the experience of high performance racing. The only negative for aesthetics comes from your manager: his continual assessment of the race repeats with a tiresome quality, you'll be looking to mute him out after a few competitions.

The attention to detail on the racing itself is both an attractor and a detractor. On all levels of competition; the cars handle true to form. Rear-wheel drive vehicles don't corner at all like a front-wheel drive car will; and you will be perpetually struggling to keep your car in the sweet spot for drifting through turns. It's impressive that they were so focused on delivering that authentic experience, but those novice players may be turned away from the steep initial learning curve. Most intermediate and experienced players will chalk it up to figuring out how to work with this system and be fine; but I felt the lack of player assists detract for those neophytes amongst us. As the competition ramps up, the AI can get downright competitive – you'll get a good challenge from the AI at the best of times at the higher difficulty levels.

Beyond the authentic driving behaviors, enthusiasts will find themselves wanting more – there's no fine tuning of those specific cars, no new parts, just the opportunity to change the paint or tires and that's it. While the "gotta get 'em all" attitude to collecting cars and completing races gives you that initial rush, it eventually wears thin.

All in all, Grid 2 is a beautiful game that does a spectacular job on the presentation and delivery for an authentic as you're likely to get racing experience. Enthusiasts will find the experience a little too thin for their lacking, but the mainstream audience will find much here to keep their attention if they are willing to put in that initial investment.

- Tazman

The Good:
- Exceptionally beautiful game
- Amount of detail and care on vehicles shows
The Bad:
- Not much in the way of driving assists
- Enthusiasts will find themselves wanting more

Score: 8.0 / 10