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May 30, 2013

Grid 2 PC Review

Grid 2. The day is here, after 5 years we finally get to experience Grid again. Is it good?

Yes.

Before we get under way, a little housekeeping, The game does not have cockpit view, and does not have Demolition Derby. I know that a lot of people enjoy these two features and they are important to them. I have to admit the sudden, glaring flaws this creates at the outset of a review did put a bad taste in my mouth. I just couldn't figure out why this game was to be having less content than the previous game. But I will tell you now, I'm not really sure that it affects the gameplay much, GRID's shining feature here is its driving and overwhelming sense of urgency, it just had a big price it had to pay for it. I think a lot of people will be wary about their favorite stuff missing this time around.

***Menu and Ease of use***
GRID's menu system is a pretty solid comparison to Dirt 2's menu system, but without Dirt 2's cumbersome animations. I found selections to be quick, really easy to navigate, and extremely well laid out. I had no trouble whatsoever doing what I needed to do. The menu Looks nice and works quite well.

***Sound***
GRID has no interest in getting big bands and setting up crazy playlists so you can jam out while you race. It has a selection of somewhat generic, underlying tunes, to make sure that the Cars take center stage. That's not to say the tunes are under inspired or poor, they're certainly not, but they're just downplayed for the cars sound to take them over, and to only use the urgent tunes to convey urgency and get your blood pumping. I enjoy the sentiment because of the great sounds on the cars. A good set of speakers makes these engines sound great, the 4 bangers and the monstrous v8's and 12's don't let you down at all. To boot, each car really sounds different and unique. I want to say this game's cars sound a lot like Forza's cars sound, possibly a bit better, and that's a pretty good benchmark to hit.

***Gameplay***

GRID 2 offers a few new game types to mess around with Returning game types are:

-----Race: Race X number of laps and attempt to come in first.

-----Drift: Get the tail out at speed to earn points, multipliers are given to linked drifts andbunus points are given to drivers who get get close to the flags while drifting. The closer you get, the more points you bank. Collisions in a multiplier, end that multiplier.

-----Touge: Two cars face off down a hill twice, you follow your opponent the first, he follows you the second, or vice versa. Collisions earn you penalties. Whomever leads the most distance between their opponent in seconds at the end of both races is the winner.

-----Face off: Two cars, one track, one race, One lap or point to point. Winner takers all.

-----Endurance: Timed races, you race for X minutes, whoever is in the lead at the end wins.

New event types:

-----Time attack: Nothing truly original, get around the track and beat the target time.

-----Elimination: The clock begins ticking, everytime it counts down, the last place car is eliminated, the race continues until one car remains.

-----Overtake: Overtake slower cars. There is a multiplier at work, this multiplier has two resets, as you increase in multiplier (one level increase for each overtake) you get a few seconds to pass another car, if you do so in time, the overtake multiplier increases (Max is times 10), if you fail to do this you lose on times multiplier (5  4) and the timer to lower again begins, it will continue going down until you pass a car. The other way is a collision. Striking a car or a wall will reset your multiplier to 1. To win, you'll need to keep your multiplier as high as possible and race clean.

-----Checkpoint: The object here is distance. The track is laden with checkpoints, each checkpoint will give you more time, the object is the be the last one still going, the faster you can get through sections of the track, the more time you'll have, and the longer you'll last.

Single player:

The object here is to begin a whole new Racing league comprised of all of the best clubs and drivers in the world. The WSR. As you race against clubs in a country, they'll begin to see the value of racing in the WSR and you being the main wingman for the creator, beating the clubs at their own game and offering them a chance to play in the WSR only grows the sport. As you play you'll be challenged with new playstyles, new events more cars and harder and longer races. You begin in America, move to Europe and Asia and set up a WSR in each country, then set up a world league. Really, this is a more streamlined version of how GRID one handled its races, with right around the same number of events, possibly more. Winning earns fans for the WSR, and as you amass more fans more people watch. But really the fans for the WSR are exactly the same as Your Reputation score in Grid One. In short it feels like GRID, and it does work well. But I'd be surprised if you play single player once you start multiplayer.

Multiplayer:

Wow this got so much of an overhaul. You start your very own racing team here, like you did in Grid one, but this time you get to have that experience online. Winning earns you experience and cash, as you level up, you unlock other cars to purchase with your cash, or spend that money on upgrades to make the car more competitive, with a completely separate livery editor from the single player, and completely separate car unlock progression. So, to do well and unlock things quickly, you need to win. With all the disciplines available there's bound to be something you'll want to specialize in. The online mode is very well sorted out. But the races are just as easy to join and participate as before.

The Liveroute system
Liveroute basically takes a track and randomizes the corners you'll be taking, making the route different each lap of a race. I'll try to show you. Lets say you have a track that looks like this: 7 (4 turns two very heavy, one hard and an easy.) Live route could race that exact track the first lap, then change it the second lap to look like this: ? (5 turns, two heavy turns (ones's in a different place, two chicanes and a long sweep) And the third to look like this: {X7 (6 turns, 4 heavy turns, an a dip tunnel bit that goes under another part of the track (the X), a Kink and longer straights) This prevents players from memorizing the layout of the track and make them entirely dependent on what's coming. Its completely reaction based. Arcadey or not, it keeps you on your toes. The system works fairly well too. Above your minimap, there is a pink bar that fills in, this is your lap so you can tell how much longer you've got to race. In the examples, the "<" shown in the first two examples will have very different entry speeds, as the sweeping corner in the second example will net a higher top speed on exit.

Flashback:

Flashback's... Back. Ahem. The rewind feature is more streamlined than I've seen it before, getting rid of the snapshots and flashes, and just letting you fix your mistake, more like how Forza's system works.

***Physics***

This game is not a sim, but its not so much an arcade game that it passes as need for speed. Let me explain,
The game is extremely good at responding to your inputs, how you use the throttle, the sound, the way you turn and the approach to corners combined with weight transfer into a corner all contribute heavily to how a car will respond through that corner, so setting yourself up for a corner and making sure you're using all the power you can use at the correct moment is key to being able to keep speed through corners, just like a sim. However cars respond quicker to braking, and turn better than they should be able to in real life giving an arcade feel as well. There are a few tracks you can get through in low classes keeping it floored, but there are a large amount of technical tracks which will make you brake hard and try to focus on the apex and exit of the corner to retain and gain speed.

While the game is arcade, its not a NFS hold your finger permanently on the Accelerator to win mentality, coupled with that is damage.
Your car will take damage as you hit walls or cars, some damage is instant, some is over time, such as radiator damage. The damage will slowly rob your car of power as it overheats, causing even more damage over time. Hard hits to the front may cause wheels or suspension damage which will be felt immediately in the corners. Damage isn't modeled in a Forza realistic sense where as in real life hard hits to the front of the car completely make it worthless, heavily damaging downforce and suspension, GRID's more forgiving than that, but routinely beating the crap out of your car will cost you seconds on the track resulting in slower gear changes, tracking issues with the wheels resulting in pulls going straight, and loss of power depending on how severe the hit was. Terminal damage is also possible, hitting something hard enough or enough times can disable the car, which allows you to run a flashback to try and remedy what you did wrong.

***Graphics***
GRID 2 is a very attractive game, the smoke and cars are modeled extremely well, as is the damage, Codies still sports the best damage model in the business. Making GRID 2 a beautiful game to look at, and to play, I did see some texture pop in, specifically the wheels, but more types of paint and adjustments are available here than in the previous iteration, as ell as the environments being astoundingly gorgeous. Where GRID's weird yellowish tint and very high bloom made it look grittier andmore realistic, the engine here is very solid, leaving little need for high bloom, and opening a diverse and very beautiful palette of racetrack grittiness and natural mountain road beauty.

Keep in mind though they sacrificed Cockpit to make these landscapes as nice as they are, and as nice as they do look, i'm not sure it was neccesary, still the graphics are excellent.

***Wrap UP***
All in all, I think the focus here is to improve the overall feel of GRID, but GRID 2, while it feels like a sequel I feel still has lost some of its personality, With the loss of cockpit view (which I don't use) They have lost some hardcore gamers for a better looking game. I feel bad about this decision, but I tried really hard not to think about it going in, and to be honest when the heat is on, and its close racing I have such a hard time believing you'll care. The racing Is phenomenal and the AI iconic to Codemasters is VERY challenging if you increase the difficulty. The loss of Demo derby though, that makes me a bit upset, I really enjoyed that mode, and was almost exclusively what I played online in the First GRID. I feel the racing and experience here in this game has escalated GRID 2 to be better than GRID 1, especially how Online is handled, but it's much more serious now as a result, which is a completely different kind of fun than Demo Derby provides, but more adequately utilizes what they've chosen to include in the game as far as improvements to physics and car selection.
Overall Grid 2 is an excellently well-made and balanced game, if you like racing games, it's a good title to have. The missing features don't in my opinion hurt it much given the visuals and the racing it has to offer, but I'll miss the features they left out. I recommend this game for the Consoles or PC. It's definitely better than what Shift could offer, and it's not as serious as other sims, while staying away from Blur and Split second type of stuff. I just hope at some point Demo Derby is DLC.
Verdict: 80/100



Details:
Genre Racing
Style Sports Car Racing
Release Date May 28, 2013
Developer Codemasters
Publisher Codemasters
Flags Downloadable Release

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

this game is really cool , but you forgot to mention the bad side of not being able to customise cars in the single player mode , this should have been a thing in the game to make it more and more enthusiastic ... But other than that it is really good , btw , love you website , you really show everything about pc games , nice job ! :)

Tom Doley said...

Get off his leg.

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