By: David Tavernier
Grid 2 was first released in May 2013 amid favorable reviews. However, since then a sizable amount of DLC has been released for the title (25 new cars and six new tracks), and rather than asking gamers to spend their precious money on buying each and every DLC separately, in January 2014, Codemasters released Grid 2: Reloaded in order to discount the cost of the DLC and attract new players. As I never played the original Grid 2, I can only approach the game as a novice. Does Grid 2: Reloaded succeed in impressing a new player such as myself? Read on for the answer.
The controls in Grid 2: Reloaded are especially sharp. I recently played Forza 5, and the cars I used in that game were very hard to maneuver without spinning out on a regular basis. In Grid 2: Reloaded, most cars are very responsive and handle easily. Basically, you can accelerate, maneuver, and use your hand-brake to drift.
There are also different car types that are tailored to your own particular play style. If you like drifting through corners, you can select a “drift” car. If you like going through turns without drifting you can use a “grip” car. And then there are “balanced” cars that are halfway between these two types. So there is some strategy in picking a specific car that is adapted to your own control habits.
All in all, it isn’t hard to find cars that control the way you want them to, and this makes winning a race seem like an act of skill and not simply the luck of the draw.
The graphics here aren’t especially good compared to other modern racers. The backgrounds are detailed with either wilderness or skyscrapers, so you can tell what kind of environment you are racing in, but very few times will you stop and issue a “wow” while playing it. All of the cars are expertly modeled though, so racing car fanatics should have their appetites fulfilled by the plethora of unique car designs.
Grid 2: Reloaded‘s music is also sort of catchy. It normally doesn’t play during the initial rounds of a race and finally comes on during the final lap. In this way you are sort of subconsciously notified that you’ve got to kick it in gear and do your best at the end of each race.
As far as sounds and visuals are concerned, you shouldn’t expect Reloaded to be better than the original other than new cars and tracks. However, Grid 2: Reloaded holds its own anyway because Grid 2‘s graphics and sounds still hold up.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Grid 2: Reloaded is simply a blast to play. I haven’t had this much fun with a racer since Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec on the PS2. Due to its snappy controls and reasonable AI, most races feel like they depend on your own talent of learning and adapting to each track.
Grid 2: Reloaded features very realistic damage, which will keep you on your toes. It also has a rewind system that allows you to go back in time if you make a careless mistake (although you can only do this a limited number of times per race). This feature makes it so that one boneheaded move doesn’t cost you the race (forcing you to restart and go through repeated load screens).
There are a variety of racing modes throughout the campaign. There are ordinary races, just like you’d expect, but there are also other racing modes that will mix things up. One example is Elimination, where drivers are eliminated one by one from the back of the pack, and then there’s Endurance, where the driver in the pole position after five or so minutes will win the race. So not only will you be traveling to new locales as you progress through the campaign, but you will also be introduced to new race types as you go along, which keeps the game fresh.
As you progress you compete on various sectors of the world — starting in America and then going to Europe and Asia. There are five seasons in Grid 2: Reloaded, and the entire game should be beatable in around 15 hours. After that you can play online with other players, though in my experience there are very few players playing online at this time. You can also invite your friends into a game if you want to play over the net with a buddy. This is a fun way of adding some longevity to the game, which otherwise seems kind of short compared to racing sims like Forza or Gran Turismo.
Should you buy Grid 2: Reloaded? The answer to that depends on whether you already own the original and whether you’re interested in the additional DLC. If you already own Grid 2 and aren’t too interested in the 25 new cars and six new tracks, then you should pass. If you’ve never played Grid 2, however, Reloaded is a good buy as it includes roughly $64 worth of additional content and only costs about $50.