There have been plenty of great racers over the years, and we have a couple of really good looking ones coming this Fall with Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Forza Horizon. However, one of my all-time favorites was Grid from Codemasters. It was really an accident that I even picked it up. I was in the mood for something that focused on cars, I happened to have some disposable income, and so I gave Grid a try. I was so glad I did. It had great looking cars, solid handling, challenging but fun A.I., and a little something extra; a great sense of progression. I don’t mean just XP or getting new vehicles, although I did do that. I mean I felt like I was part of a racing team that was getting better, gaining notoriety. As the game progressed, I gained sponsors and fans and it just helped me feel like I was getting somewhere. Grid made me fall in love with racing games all over again. Well, for the past four years as other racing franchises have continued to add numbers at the end of their title, I’ve often wondered what ever happened to Grid. Apparently, it was just biding it’s time in order to deliver a truly worth sequel. Yes, Grid 2 is coming and I couldn’t be more excited.
Why has it taken four years to get to a sequel? Well, Codemasters wanted to make sure that it was the right sequel. They’ve been hard at work getting the handling just right. The new “True Feel” handling aims to strike a balance between a realistic sim and something anyone can jump in and drive. The point is to help make every car feel unique and true to form, but also make it possible for even first-time drivers to get the car around the track without crashing at every turn. However, you will crash, and Grid 2 will further enhance the great damage modeling of the first game where every dent, crash and smash will have an effect on the performance of your car.
The A.I. has gone through and overhaul as well. Your opponents will have plenty of new abilities, such as some even holding a grudge against you should you punish them or smash into them too much in a race, and their styles of racing will evolve over the course of the game. Plus there will be plenty of opportunities for your own style to evolve as you engage in everything from dirt racing to street racing to open road racing. However, perhaps the biggest area of improvement will prove to be the multiplayer. Codemasters wants to deliver the ultimate online racer for the Call of Duty generation. One that allows for rivalries and challenges and user-generated race types. Also, a new progression system that’s completely separate from anything you do in the single player mode. Of course, social media will be a big part of it with Racenet, Codemasters own version of NFS Autolog, and the ability to send challenges and more via phone or tablet or whatever. Even better, if you happen to have a friend over at your house, you can even race split-screen, which is always a nice option to have.
Naturally areas such as graphics have been improved during the hiatus. Courses look amazing with all kinds of nifty light effects. The cars look better than ever, and even the damage modeling looks very pretty. Then there are those little touches such as crowds getting bigger as you become a more popular racer, your car getting more logos on it as you get more sponsors, your garage will start to like nicer; these are the thing that give Grid its own unique flavor and flair.
The racing genre may not be quite as dominant as it once was, but there have been some truly amazing racing games that have helped revitalize it in the past few years. Grid was the game that really reignited my passion for the racing genre, and while Forza may have fanned that it into a more passionate flame while Burnout provided the visceral thrills I was looking for, I’ve always looked back fondly on Grid. I couldn’t be more stoked that it’s returning with a sequel, and I have every expectation that Grid 2 will prove to be every bit as unique and fun as the original. It’s just too bad we have to wait until 2013 for it. Oh well, I’ll content myself with NFS and Forza until then.