Ten minutes into Grid 2
, and I thought I'd hate it. Racing games aren't really my forte anyway, and the more realistic they are the worse it tends to get for me, so when I spent my first race sliding around all over the place because the cornering was so weird, I did wonder whether I'd be able to take any joy out of playing this.
Thirty minutes in and I was really enjoying myself. Grid 2
has a learning curve, but it's a very quick one, and it took me next to no time at all to get used to firing the car around corners with just the right amount of sensitivity and learn when to avoid or actively seek out contact with other drivers. A physics engine that seemed totally alien to me at first felt as natural as anything I've played in the genre at a point when a lot of modern games haven't even stopped introducing new game elements.
That's ultimately the least I ask for, that the racing itself is intuitive rather than frustrating, and ultimately fun as a result. Grid 2
is actually a little odd in this respect, in that it punishes mistakes in a way that almost no other big-budget game I can think of matches, but it gets away with this by having a very welcome built-in anti-frustration feature (one button is all it takes to rewind the race and start again from a point of your choosing) and by making it so easy to avoid those mistakes by effectively teaching you to not be an idiot. That'll explain the quick learning curve, then; when I first booted up the game I was ragging the car around the track like I'd had a fight with the brake button and we weren't talking. Grid 2
's message is pretty simple - keep an eye on your speed and you'll basically be alright. If that sounds like amateur hour, you're probably into driving a hell of a lot more than a perpetual pedestrian like me, and this probably isn't the game for you. For me, though, it's pretty much exactly what I want.
Outside of the basics, the career mode unfolds nicely in a way that reminds me, in a weird sort of way, to some of the latter-day Tony Hawk's
games. In addition to the basic races, you get involved with sponsors who ask you to take part in events for them, get challenged to one-on-one drag races, and are set extra objectives to complete during the events that you can choose according to your own playing style (another nice anti-frustration feature). Beat a certain lap time, finish in the top three of an event, yadda yadda. Basic stuff. But it's fun and it keeps the racing fresh and interesting, so it does its job. You can also collect cars as you go along, but I struggle to tell them apart when they're the same colour, so....eh, whatever. Doing that did at least teach me that Dodge is a manufacturer and not just a model, so there's something.Grid 2
certainly isn't a game I could imagine myself playing for more than about three weeks, but then, almost nothing in this genre is. It's an admittedly creepy analogy, but a really good driving game for me is more about a summer fling than a commitment, and this is one of those fleeting romances I'd end up reminiscing on fondly for a few years at least.