Imagine a motorsport that brings together drivers of all disciplines, where hardcore street drivers have to pit themselves against professional track racers in order to answer the age old question ‘Who is the best driver in the world?’ Let me introduce to World Series Racing, a new motor sport specifically designed to do just that. Starting out as a newbie to the racing scene you have been selected to make the WSR a global phenomenon and in your new quest for global recognition it’s time to put the pedal to the medal and drive head on into the fast a furious world of Grid 2.
The career mode starts from the ground up as you try to make World Series Racing a house hold name. In Grid 2 it is all about getting fame and glory, and one of your main goals is to accumulate fans in order to progress. There are several challenges for you to complete in order to get the crowds roaring, such as time trials and drift challenges, but the best way to get a loyal and steady fan base is to win races. Races come in all shapes and sizes from huge twenty car championships to one on one face-offs. Grid 2’s developers have also added a new race type called live routes. In this mode you have to put your driving skills to the ultimate test as the race track constantly changes, meaning that you will never know what’s round the next corner. Though the Live routes are a nice touch, the individual race tracks don’t hold as much variety as you will find yourself visiting the same tracks frequently in order to progress. Only time will tell if tracks will be added as DLC in the future but for now it seems the track variety is lacking slightly.
Once you have a few wins under your belt and the WSR gets more global recognition, things will start to change for the better. Your garage gets a sweet new over hall and your collection of automobiles increases. Sure it maybe your typical progression from zero to hero, but it is really satisfying to see your world evolve as you win race after race. The evolution doesn’t stop there however, as you also have the opportunity to customise the look of your cars. If you strongly believe that go faster stripes live up to their name then you can go ahead and slap some onto your car. If you are not a fan of racy decals, you can also change the paint work and choose which sponsors to plaster all over your cars body. Sponsor stickers also come with mini objectives, for example if you complete a specific sponsor objective whilst out there on the track, you will get a nice boost to your fan base. This sponsor affiliation is great idea, and should you find yourself a bit low in loyal followers it can really help. It’s always a nice to know that sponsors have your back.
The game has a good balance between simulation and arcade racing, something you will soon realise once you boot up the single player career mode and jump straight into the driving seat. Though your overall goal is prove yourself to the WSR founders, luckily you aren’t thrown too far into the deep end. Despite which place you finish in the first race you will be allowed to progress into the games career mode, not all the races are like that however will have to hone your skills place in the top three in future races in order to accumulate enough fans to progress. Even though being throw straight into a race was a little daunting to start of with, I found that it was a good move as it lets you get a feel for the game right from the beginning.
As previously mentioned Grid 2 manages to strike a great balance between arcade racing and driving simulation. If you are like me and prefer arcade racers then this game will welcome you with open arms. Sure, when you start out you may try to take a 90 degree corner at 100 miles an hour and watch you car get decimated spectacularly, but the game does allow you to drive with a bit of aggression and does give you pointers every now and again to help you perfect your driving technique. If you do crash in a spectacular fashion then Grid 2 comes with a rewind feature so you can attempt the corner again, which if you spin out as much as I did is very handy.
The simulator aspect really comes into play with the variety of cars that are available for you to drive. Some cars will have better handling than others, and rear wheel vs front wheel drive has been taken into consideration. If you mess your car up too much out on the track you will find yourself going considerably slower as a result, and in the worst cases you will even start listing to the left or to the right. If however you find yourself colliding into things on a regular basis and become frustrated with your car only wanting to turn left, you do have the option to turn off damage effects meaning you can crash as many times as you like and your car will still drive perfectly. It’s great to see a game that caters to all driving styles and also perfects your driving technique should you need it.
Unlike most games this generation Grid 2 separates is online mode from the main career. This means that once you jump into the online mode you will have to start from scratch. Much like the single player you will be able to unlock cars and customise them as you go and you will have your own separate level progression and fans as well. The online multi-player does a really good job of pitting you against racers of a similar skill set, a prime example of this is Grid 2’s online Rivals. Each week you will be paired up with a driver on your PlayStation Network friends list, and someone else you have met on the track recently who has a similar driving skill. Once you have been paired up you will then be able to steal followers from them by beating them in global challenges. So if you feel that your friends have too much of a fan following then this is the perfect excuse to try and steal the lime light, just make sure your driving skills are on top form.
Graphically the game looks stunning, from the reflections on the cars to the scenic views of some of the tracks. Sure the race spectators might may look slightly bewildered at times, but more often than not you will find yourself drinking in the scenery as you try and get to the finish line. Some drivers like me however may find there is a distinct lack of background music, as only having the sound of a car engine to accompany you in your quest to the finish line can be a tad unceremonious.
+ Good balance of Arcade Racing and Driving Simulator
+ Great graphics
+ Online multiplayer is well executed
- The game needs more tracks
- Lack of background music whilst driving
Grid 2 is one of these unique driving games that caters to different driving styles. Whether you prefer a smooth driving simulator or an aggressive arcade racer then Grid 2 will invite you to the racetrack to show off your skills and perfect you driving technique.