One thing I really appreciate about this game is that it actually has a campaign of sorts, and also tries to get you emotionally attached to some of the virtual drivers participating in the various races. I find it really cool that drivers in GRID 2 have regular names, and you actually meet some of them a number of times on the track. The game is pure racing, though, there are no cops, mafia, or anything like that, so the story is exclusively built around the drama that happens on the track.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, as GRID 2 features one of the very best car handling systems ever seen in a racing game. Even though the developers from Codemasters are calling it TrueFeel, the handling system’s goal isn’t to make controlling the cars feel particularly real. The developers have aimed to strike a good balance between a realistic and an arcade feeling, and it’s safe to say that they have done a wonderful job. This is not Need For Speed, because it’s actually very easy to completely waste your car, should you enter a turn with too high a speed, but at the same time the game is very fast-paced and packs a tremendous amount of action, which makes it feel like more of an arcade-style racer. GRID 2 is also a great racing game thanks to its variety of gaming modes. You can do traditional races, but there are also some more exotic options like Drift, where you specifically have to excel at drifting. Thankfully, the singleplayer features a custom race mode, where you can just pick the track and the car that you want and race against the AI. A really cool option is the split-screen mode, where two players can race against each other on the same machine.
The original Race Driver: GRID was simply gorgeous, and thankfully, the same thing can be said about GRID 2. The tracks, environments and the cars are absolutely beautiful, without being too complex in their nature, and without being too demanding on your system. Various effects like smoke, dust, lens flares and glows add color to the visuals and are simply fantastic. The only poorly-looking part of GRID 2′s graphics are the fans scattered around the start/finish line, as their models are very low-res, but once the race begins, the crowds of people around the finish line actually start looking great at high speeds, when you can no longer focus on the small details.
The sound approach in GRID 2 is also very good. Since most of the game is a campaign mode, you often hear your buddy navigating you while you’re in the middle of a race, warning you about potential obstacles ahead or providing you with other valuable information. Effects like engine screams and crowd noises are fantastic, while the music during the cut-scenes is awesome and helps you get pumped up about the upcoming race. The one thing I dislike here is that music is largely absent during the races themselves, which is simply mind-boggling, as it can be such a powerful tool in action-packed moments, such as the ones that GRID 2 is so full of.