Review: Grid 2 (PS3)

Grid 2 is a one of those car games that treads a fine line between arcade (easy and fast) and simulation (punishingly real physics). It manages to pull off this compromise most of the time, but there are a few small, but irritating features, which let it down.

By Wayne Webb

 

Grid 2 is a one of those car games that treads a fine line between arcade (easy and fast) and simulation (punishingly real physics). It manages to pull off this compromise most of the time, but there are a few small, but irritating features, which let it down.

 

It’s fun to drive in Grid 2; there is a real sense of speed as you rocket around real world locations in real world cars, burning rubber and generally enjoying yourself. You are a driving legend who is recruited to be a starter in a new World Series Racing league, which you do by beating other characters, convincing them to come join you in the WSR events and bringing with you legions of fans. You do this in straight racing, elimination, showcase events, the passing events and plenty of other modes to do with time, endurance and other racing game staples.

 

The look and feel of the game when playing is superb with amazing car graphics, great handling (mostly) and awe-inspiring backdrops and courses to race. Like all modern racers you can play on your own, with friends or with strangers online in many different ways. There are loads of places to compete and they look and feel like the streets of Paris, Barcelona or wherever is being featured in the next race. So too the cars – they are real world name brand cars and it’s cool to work your way through a menu of cars one ordinary person would be unlikely to be able to drive let alone own in real life.

 

However, with all the fun and polish there are some let downs in the game. The biggest one is the menu design, which had me annoyed beyond my limit more than once. Usability interface is important, and no doubt some people ‘get it’, but the bulk of us are left wondering where things are when they have no indicators, labels or instructions.

 

The other significant issue is the inconsistent track reactions. On city-based tracks you can slam, clip and barrel head on into all sorts of objects and regain the win. In the countryside though, one tiny infraction off the edge of the road and you can totally lose control. Tiny rails on the side of the road can stop your car like it’s hit a brick wall and even though you get a handy rewind function, this gets overused on the countryside tracks. There is a free drive mode to practice on, but it only lasts one lap and then you have to wait the far too long period for loading times to have another go.

 

Don’t get me wrong it’s still a good game and loads of fun, but after decades of playing these kinds of games getting increasingly getting better all the time, it feels like the problems could have been avoided.

 

Pros: Fun to play, polished graphics, good sense of speed and drift, good range of play modes and cars.
Cons: Terrible menu system, free drive too short, inconsistent track dynamics

 

3.5 Shacks Out Of 5

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