Grid 2: Street Racing for the COD Addicted

Codemasters is aiming to make more than just a great street racer: it wants to rule your online gaming world too.

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Racing, as a genre, has been declared dead by many. Or, if not dead, then at least bloodily beaten, forced into a vicious retirement at the brutal hands of the first-person shooter and the relentless name-calling of the free-to-play MMO games. And I too have been guilty of such talk. But why? The genre has had its fair share of great games over the years. There have been sims like Forza and F1, arcade smashers like Burnout and Dirt Showdown, and sometimes even something completely crazy, like Motorstorm Apocalypse.

It's a troubling development. If a string of great, thoroughly enjoyable games can't inspire confidence in a genre, then what can? The answer came as Codemasters unveiled Grid 2. And it wasn't the visuals, stunning as they were. Nor was it the handling, being primed for simulation, yet friendly to beginners. No, the answer came from an understanding of what it means to be a great game in a world filled with CODs and Warcrafts: competitive, compelling, and vengeance-led online play.

It dawned on me that of all the racing games I've played over the years, few have been compelling enough to keep me on the track. Bizarre Creations' tragically short-lived Blur came close to capturing that harsh, competitive spirit online--if only more had bought into its charms. But here was a developer, a big one, acknowledging that its biggest rivals weren't other racing games, but those fantastically addictive online epics that keep us glued to our screens more than any racer could ever hope to.

After four long years, Grid returns not just as a fast-paced street racer, but as an online experience that hopes to rank among the very best that gaming has to offer. The multiplayer isn't just an extension of the single-player, says Codemasters, but an entirely separate entity created to keep players locked behind the wheel. Rivalries will be nurtured, race types will be bent to the wills of players, and a progression system will ensure that everyone starts on a level playing field--none of your single-player progress is taken into account online.

And it stretches beyond the confines of your console. Racenet--Codemasters' Web-based profile system--will let you access your account, send challenges, and chase up those rivalries wherever you are. There are even mobile apps for devices like the iPhone and iPad in development too. And for those who prefer to face their rivals face-to-face, there will be split-screen.

It's an ambitious undertaking, but one that's backed up by some similarly ambitious work in Grid 2's underlying technology. The handling, dubbed True Feel, aims to mix the ultimate in car feel and realism with the ability for newcomers to get a car around the track with ease--and all without using any driver aids whatsoever. It's done, say Codemasters, by first creating realistic simulations of vehicles with the help of pro-racing drivers. And then the vehicles are scaled back, the edges smoothed off, while leaving unique characteristics like understeer and oversteer intact.

It results in a handling that makes each car feel unique, but somehow manageable. In two separate races I could feel the differences in the cars, the ferocious grunt of a Ford Mustang as it spat its way across a rocky mountain road standing in stark contrast to the smooth, vice-like handling of a McLaren Mercedes. And yet, each time, I could get the car around the track. Not with total ease, mind, but well enough to register to a time, provided I didn't try to hammer it around each and every corner.

When I did, I inevitably crashed, and crashed hard. The damage modeling is severe, with pieces of bodywork flying haphazardly across the circuit with each and every bash of the barriers and scrape against competitors. It was beautiful to look at, in a sadistic kind of way, and was helped along by gratuitous use of bounce lighting, motion blur, and cinematic-style bokeh, all rendered smoothly by an updated version of the Ego engine.

Vehicles weren't the only things to benefit from the visual overhaul, with the circuits themselves looking like they'd been pulled from the frames of the world's best photographers. Sunlight crept through the spaces between the tall city streets of Chicago, reflecting off the vast glass panels of buildings and lighting the roads. The cliff-tops of the California coast gave way to breathtaking views of the ocean, which whooshed past as my Ford grunted along the tree-lined roads.

The final game promises circuits located over three continents--the USA, Europe, and Asia--as well as numerous cars, which include the BMW E30 M3, the Nissan R34 Skyline, and the majestic Pagani Huayra. But according to Codemasters, Grid 2 is not a numbers game. Cars and circuits have been handpicked to showcase the very best that motor racing has to offer, while there are just three select modes--Street Racing, Road Racing, and Track Racing.

All will be available online and in single-player, which promises to be something special. There will be your traditional XP-based progression, but rather than just feel the effects of it in an upgraded car, or even a brand-new one, the environment of the game itself will change. Your home garage will become more extravagant, gaining fancier toys and even fancier lighting. The tracks, initially empty, gradually get filled with spectators, each cheering you and your competitors on to victory. And your car, a blank slate of metal, becomes a mobile advertising board as companies begin to recognize your success.

That's just scratching the surface when it comes to Grid 2. It's littered with smaller tweaks, ranging from improved Flashback to more intelligent driver AI. After four long years, and after a string of hit racing games, it comes as no surprise that Grid 2 is on its way to equaling, if not eclipsing, Codemasters' already stellar work. But I couldn't help but ask producer Clive Moody why, only now, after all this time, is the game finally on its way? "Our ambition outstripped the technology," he said. An audacious answer perhaps, but after what I've seen of Grid 2, I can't help but believe it.

Grid 2 is due for release next summer on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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Discussion

1 comments
jknifeza
jknifeza

its sounds good especially the part about street racing which seems is so big in reality but dying in the gaming arena. please can gaming companies stop this BS abt multiplayer and online gaming,its nonsense we pay you full price for a full game,why should i have to go unlock and use credits to unlock stuff online and what if i don't have an internet connection what then?what if the server's are down then what? this move towards making everything online is crap. give us a game where we can enjoy both the online and offline gameplay equally thats what we are paying you for? or else sell us the game at half the price since we are only going to get half a game.

picky333
picky333

I loved the original Grid, the best park was the ability to 3 different types of racing in one game. Grid has to be one of my all time favorite racing game and my most favorite codemasters game.


i hope they bring back the voice that said ur name.

moyshirow
moyshirow

Well thank you very much article now i must buy find a Grid copy and buy the hell otta it.

smp13
smp13

Best news I've heard regarding any racing game in ages: "there will be split-screen."

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

release the next gen already.... developers need it!!!!!!!!!

TERMINATOR-SSD
TERMINATOR-SSD

No dashboard view. No Buy. Simple as.

 

When all your past games had dashboard views ' eg Toca2 on PS1', and it was the only view i played in. Your taking away a pure class element of immersion from a driving/racing game. 

pcostix
pcostix

And it finnaly happened...  DIRT meets Need for Speed!!!!

 

If this happens a must buy.

 

PS:GRID was a arcade game and it was awesome.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

I want this to be the next PGR-type of game. I want some gray area between real and arcade racing. While GT5 and Burnout are awesome, I wished there were some more games that fell in the middle.

SoulPsychadelic
SoulPsychadelic

I read in another article that there was not going to be a cockpit view, so all this talk about simulation is bs.

x-boy360
x-boy360

GRID ITS JUST AN ARCADE GAME...no real simulation ...poor drifting techniques,suprp visuals,,graphics,good sound...

hope they will make real racing game...

 

jpnelson82
jpnelson82

I want two things, old GP cars like the Vanwall, and 250F, and the old British Sports cars. A TVR Griffith would be just fantastic.

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

give us a racing game that has large catalogue of cars to choose from, fully customizable physical and performance parts, online circuit and drag racing, damageable vehicles, beautiful race tracks, and a great soundtrack and watch the racing genre be reborn. plain and simple

bond0062
bond0062

Grid is d best simulation game i have ever played, was just waitin for this hope it doesn't disappoint.

thphaca
thphaca

One of the smartest movies in racing game history IMO. Most racing games suck balls in the online multiplayer element. I've always dreamed that there would be a decent online racing MP game with really good players and a long-lived community.

 

Imagine entering a match where everyone had to manually shift and clutch, and the cars were relatively balanced. Eventually we'd have the racing equivalent of QuakeCon every year and the competition would be fierce.

rarson
rarson

Street racing? What the hell, Codemasters? That is neither needed nor wanted in a Grid game. Please stop diluting your great racing games with arcadey crap.

truckingpete
truckingpete

I never tried GRID, but it looks interesting! I loved the game Blur....the game that nobody really played. True it was like a Mario Kart with real cars, but so far that's my favorite racing game :)

cf_Kage
cf_Kage

Grid got me excited about the racing genre for the first time in a while, so I am looking forward to this.

 

The only issue I have with these kinds of racing games are the length. I never truly finish them if that is even possible. I didn't get on the last game for example, the co-driver stuff. I didn't feel that was needed.

I stopped playing Forza 4 after a while too because of the length. I tend to find I don't get a feeling of accomplishment from them.

 

Arcade racers I generally finish as they have a set number of levels, etc and you finish the game, i.e Burnout Revenge, etc.

mertol871
mertol871

You mister have no clue about racing games. You called f1 2011 a sim, go do something else because you suck at this.

Derugs
Derugs

Not feelin this!  Unless theres a way to fully customize the performance of a vehicle it makes no sense.  Unrealistic tracks add to the dilemma as well.  And where's the GTR? Waste!

RyQril
RyQril

Fword YEAH!!!! been a badas* dirfter on the 1st one, cant wait to be a legend on the 2nd one XD!!!!!!

Slipknotdayof9
Slipknotdayof9

I hope there is a beta, getting ready to buy GRID 1... never go into raceing games much, but Wipeout, Motorstorm, F1, and Dirt have earned the genre a certain love from me.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Very happy Grid is coming back. It was one of the few racers that actually held my attention for a decent amount of time. I just hope the single player isn't going to be radically changed to suit the CoD players.

Gamr2723
Gamr2723

Another GRID!!! Yeah buckle me up! Sad we gotta wait so long! But the first GRID is definitely one of the best racing games ever created, so if GRID 2 is half as good, i will have it in my collection. To all those who have never experienced GRID you need to do yourself a favor and give it a try, truly one of the great racing games!

007kt
007kt

i hope they fix the controls!! for keyboard this time  to let us enjoy the racing on PC

da2g
da2g

whole year to wait ... :(

happyemonathan
happyemonathan

hells yeah! Cannot wait for this to come out.Actually, I'm gonna go start playing the original grid right now to get me pumped for this one.Online sounds amazing as well.

electronic_eye
electronic_eye

Great article. Codemasters have always been my fav racing dev and from the sound of it, Grid 2 is on its way to becoming another stunning title in their already stellar portfolio. Will def play it but I'm personally more partial to their Dirt series.

gp3tron
gp3tron

Wow, if its true the thign about the cockpit view, its gonna be one of the worst decisions for this game, and also if they have too few circuits, and put in too many street tracks, I really think it should be balanced as the 1st game, and not hundreds of cars, but it really should have something like a comprehensive list of cars, from exotics, imports, american, racing, GT, Like Just enough so as to provide variety but without being the ridiculous amount that was in GT5...

CADMAN_3
CADMAN_3

The first Grid was an alright game and I'm not going to get to excited about this one. I will pick it up when it comes out only because I love racing games.

Codemaster need to go back to the TOCA games (aka BTCC) that they made for the playstation. Those 2 games were awesome and they need to do an updated version of them both.

 

omarvision
omarvision

AWE-SOME-NESS!!!! The best racing game I ever played is coming back with a part 2. Yeah buddy!!!

crazimax
crazimax

attention developers, if you want players to keep coming back to your game..ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ADD "xp" and an extensive leveling up system to a good game and you will get players coming back..its so simple, look at WOW, people PAY just to level up and "WORK" 

Pete5506
Pete5506

The original was great fun, I will be following this 

DeSchweppes
DeSchweppes

I will be honest here, I hated GRID.But I will give GRID 2 a chance because I love racing games.

svenjl
svenjl

@SoulPsychadelic I don't think they are going for simulation, just an awesome racing experience. Although I agree that no cockpit view is ridiculous for any driving/racing game. That's why I've never played a NFS game. Codemasters excuse is lame too. GRID in cockpit view was an insane adrenaline rush, especially Demolition Derby cause you could never tell when you were going to get hit from the side!

RyQril
RyQril

 @x-boy360 poor drifting techniques?? wth u want more than drifting slides to get XX and points?u couldnt do combos arent u? lol

rarson
rarson

 @007kt 

 

Keyboard? Nobody races on PC with a keyboard anymore. Buy a controller, or better yet a wheel.

x-boy360
x-boy360

 @RyQril

in GRID..just go full throttle and cars will slide and countersteer by it self!!! WOOOWW

in fact i forgot where is brake button...in GRID game.

look at GT5 and forza what they did!! 

we want a REALSTIC drift adding real techniques and may be a clutch  button.!!

regards..

007kt
007kt

 @rarson i have a controller but i dont like using controller for racing or i suck at racing using controller, the 2nd is correct i guess :D & for wheel my parents would suggest why not drive a real car for pleasure :)

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

to me the lineage of the toca franchise is based on that in car experience, they were the first to pull that off outside of F1 and they stole the show with it in my opinion, to take this away is to deny a legacy and buckle to the whim of casual arcade style racing. Role on the next gen before they're forced to make a GRID karting game with banana skins and speed boosts.

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

 @x-boy360 that's need for speed you must be confused. GRIDs drift mechanic took skill to keep going, it's use of throttle balance and steering to maintain a drift was perfect imo, not too sim and not overly simplified either, it was no ridge racer like you make it sound!

the drift events in multiplayer wouldn't have been as competitive as it was that's for sure :)

RyQril
RyQril

 @x-boy360 played GT5 and forza those games are sim, didnt enjoy drifting more than grid, its more challenging online, lots of drift types and tracks and different ways to get high points.