Preview by Craig Owens
There's no way of knowing who's the greatest racing driver on earth. Motorsport is splintered across multiple disciplines, so the vast majority of drivers never go head to head. I wasn't aware of the problem when I arrived at Codemasters' headquarters to see Grid 2's singleplayer mode, but chief game designer James Nicholls has just shown everyone here an ESPN clip about the issue, and now I'm very concerned. Would a rally king beat an F1 champ in a city-based street race if they were both driving Japanese muscle cars? I have to know. Luckily, Codemasters has a solution.
"Overt focus on narrative drives Grid 2's singleplayer mode"
The World Racing Series is their fictional championship. It's an international crossdiscipline competition, and it's also the focal point for Grid 2's story. Multidiscipline racing tournaments don't just rev into life fully manufactured, you know, and Grid 2 is the story about the WSR's rise to prominence as much as it's your own, as you're hired at the outset of the game by ambitious entrepreneur James Callahan to become the poster boy for his new championship.
Grid 2 is a racing game with ambitions rivalling that of Codies' fictional Bernie Ecclestone. An attempt to combine multiple racing disciplines under one hood, there are few other racing devs with the experience and technical proficiency to even attempt the idea.
First up is a Barcelona street race at dusk. This is taken from an early point in the WSR's lifespan – and as such the crowds are relatively thin, sponsorship-light and the cars are merely high-end road vehicles, such as the BMW M3 Evo I'm driving. The racing club I'm trying to dazzle specialises in an aggressive form of elimination racing that sees drivers at the rear of the pack culled every 20 seconds, and the resulting race is a series of hard, ultra-combative scrums to be as far towards the front of the pack as possible each time the klaxon sounds.
"The resulting race is a series of hard, ultra-combative scrums."
Then we switch to more traditional European motorsport – a race on Austria's Red Bull Ring in lightweight, formula cars that could have driven straight out of Codemasters' F1 series. Grid's handling model manages the transition, however: it ensures the open-wheel race cars feel grippy and distinct. The drifty, highperformance sports cars I try last are the stars of a Chicago-based race from the end of the game – as the heaving crowds and sponsorship attests.
Grid 2 is a racing game with ambitions rivalling that of Codies' fictional Bernie Ecclestone. An attempt to combine multiple racing disciplines under one hood, there are few other racing devs with the experience and technical proficiency to even attempt the idea.(opens in new tab)