Xbox 360 | Grid 2 Review
System requirements: Core i7 2.6 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphic card 1024 MB (GeForce GTX 560 or better), 15 GB HDD, Windows Vista/7/8, Internet connection
By: Amanda Hughes
With a variety of driving disciplines pulled from all corners of the globe, Grid 2 is an exciting blend of arcade and simulation racing.
The first few moments of Grid 2 should be a disaster. You’re strapped into a bruising muscle car and immediately asked to negotiate the corners of downtown Chicago amid a cavalcade of roaring V8s. But rather than serving as a messy reminder of why so many driving games ease you in with something a bit more sensible, this opening race is a perfect example of what makes Grid 2 such a blast. This is a game that takes every opportunity to remove the barriers between you and the thrill of all-out street racing. With an exciting career mode and handling that strikes a great balance between arcade and simulation, it succeeds brilliantly at that task.
Whether you’re drifting through the hills of rural Japan or careening along California’s Pacific Coast Highway, Grid 2 gives you the tools to perform some truly spectacular automotive feats. This is all thanks to a driving model that borrows equally from the forgiving handling of an arcade racer and the demanding physics of a driving simulator. Cars are nimble and highly responsive, but there’s a very real relationship between your tires and the surface beneath them. You can give up only so much traction before a drift sends you spinning into a barricade, while accelerating too quickly out of a corner can spell disaster if you’ve forgotten that you’re in a rear-wheel drive. There’s this delicate balance between the flashy and the grounded, but it’s a balance that Grid 2 pulls off extremely well.
It’s only fitting that with such an empowering driving model, Grid 2 treats you as an ambassador to the sport rather than a no-name up-and-comer. You’re the poster child of the newly formed World Series of Racing, an organization designed to bring together drivers from all corners of the globe. Your job is to win over these international stars and convince them to join the cause. You do this by traveling the world and competing against everything from muscle cars in Miami to hot hatches in Barcelona to luxury sedans in Dubai. You’ll even find yourself driving in supercars on real-world circuits, whether it’s the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the relatively new Algarve Circuit in Portugal. All the while you’re earning new fans to bolster the WSR, a sort of currency that propels you from one event to the next.
Grid 2 features no shortage of spectacular locations, and every one of them looks gorgeous. From the golden sunset above the construction cranes of Dubai to the glittering lights of nighttime Paris, these environments feature an exceptional attention to detail. The varied selection of cars looks just as great, no matter if they’re in pristine condition at the start of the race or shedding metalwork left and right via the game’s frighteningly convincing damage system. The whole presentation is simply top-notch, right on down to the immersive soundscape of roaring engines and squealing tires. The frame rate occasionally drops during vicious collisions, but for the most part, Grid 2 is a smooth and technically impressive racing experience.
There’s a lot more to Grid 2 than its impressive presentation. This is a robust package with a lengthy and exciting career mode. You’re constantly being introduced to new driving disciplines and event types. There are standard offerings such as elimination and time attack, as well as more specialized events such as drifting contests and touge, an automotive ballet where two cars race through narrow mountain roads and any collisions lead to an immediate disqualification.