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GRID 2: We've played it. We're calling it - Racing games will never be the same again

The street racing demo is very much like GRID's San Francisco events, actually. The racing is close and hard-fought, the constant rubbing with opponents yields bits of broken bodywork which can get stuck under your car, making one heck of a noise as they rattle underneath the car's chassis and having a noticeable effect on handling. Damage will affect handling in the final game, but for our demo that was turned off – the team didn't want people breaking their cars and then complaining the game's handling is off.

Above: We played the PC version, but it's been built for current-gen consoles

We asked the team about the damage system and it's another leap forward in terms of tech. Nothing is scripted, but each one of some 30 different impact zones have realistic behaviours ready to play out in an accident. Metal will bend according to real-life crash test data and every part of the car that falls off will remain in the game world as a physics object. The game stops short of deforming the cockpit, so you can't squish your driver into strawberry jam, but it does have more animation points in the damage so it will look even smoother when you watch it at super-low replay speeds.

Massaging the EGO

The EGO engine has been developed throughout the process of making this game, and it shows. Perhaps the most noticeable overall benefit is that GRID 2's physics engine runs at 1,000 samples a second, which is twice as many as is closest rivals, Forza and GT. It makes for a very smooth ride. And it seems they can play the numbers game when they want to.

Above: Those wheels' physics are calculated 1,000 times a second

But that's not impressive enough for GRID 2. It does all of this while modelling and warping the tread of the tyre in 3D, morphing the rubber according to the forces placed on it and calculating the grip of the tread that's touching the tarmac as a result. To be scientific, that's just mental.

Continental circus

Online, Codemasters Racenet will be integrated into the game, giving a greater sense of community to the proceedings. The online mode will be separate from the single-player's XP level, meaning your online career is whatever you want to make it. The idea is that you'll tell your own story – and be able to set up your own goals and smash them if you so wish (which sounds a lot like Metropolis Street Racer's 'Kudos' system - no bad thing). You can set up your own event type, choosing everything, or just jump into a quick race.

You'll be given some Tier 1 cars  to choose from at the start to get you going. There are four tiers, with cars ranging from a Ford Mustang Mach 1 – the first car in the game – through to a Pagani Huayra and Koenigsegg Agera R at tier 4. If you don't know what those last two are, they're the very latest supercars – the former being Pagani's second ever car after their world-famous Zonda. Suffice to say they all look as enticing as a cool beer on a hot day. Or lemonade, depending how old you are.

Above: Who wouldn't want the chance to drive one of these beauties at speed?

After the issues that the first game reportedly had with the Ferrari license (which the team don't wish to discuss), we couldn't quite get a confirmation that Ferrari will be appearing in this sequel. But with F1's licensing going so well, it wouldn't surprise us at all if Ferraris did appear in the game.

Another area the developers wouldn't be drawn on was the potential for wet-weather racing. It was conspicuously absent in GRID, but then as the team point out, nobody really missed it. We suggest perhaps the F1 games' weather tech could be borrowed, which they countered by saying 'well, we never borrow tech without adding something to it ourselves'. So... we're expecting rain effects, only better. Perhaps with accurately forming rainbows in the spray?

Above: Fat tyres, close racing and up to 40,000 spectators per track. We like this

We had been a touch concerned at Codemasters' decision to go down a 'racing games only' route. F1's been consistently great, but with review scores for DiRT arcing slightly downwards in tandem with the increased frequency of releases, we were wondering whether quality was suffering at the expense of prolific output. But now we've played GRID 2, we understand.

The past four years have been spent creating that is already very special. If DiRT Showdown was throwaway popcorn gaming, this is the crème de la crème of a cordon bleu speciality. The game's not coming out this year (it's down for 2013) but it is coming to current gen machines. The timing has been chosen deliberately - the team is getting end-of-generation performance from both consoles. And who knows, perhaps the maxxed-out PC version is going to be a launch game for next-gen?

Even if it's not, it doesn't matter. If you have any interest in racing games, get excited right now. This is going to be a very big deal.

47 comments

  • reinaldocfilho - January 16, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    This review simply says that a easy to drive racing game is better. Maybe this game is better for noobs, I've played it and felt so easy to finish.
  • tig-byson - August 4, 2013 11 a.m.

    I'm calling it. GamesRadar is either on the take or completely lacking in taste. GRID 2 is an absolute disaster of a game. It strays too far from gamer expectations with this arcade take on racing. A million problems in this game and not enough room on the internet to list them all. Thanks for the b.s. review, GamesRadar.
  • KevKiev - September 21, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    Totally agree. I was shaking my head with disbelief when I read this review. - I totally regret shelling out my cash for this game. I really liked the original Grid, but Grid 2 flat out sucks.
  • sean.b - December 4, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    I registered here just to say I completely agree. G25 support was horrible (I was googling to see if there was an update), no in-car view made it feel too arcade'ish, and the handling didnt strike me as even close to realistic. I say that as an avid GT gamer with a playseat, MOMO wheel on my g25, and 2 track build cars in my real life garage. I love this stuff. All in all, this felt like if Burnout without the fun crashes, and slightly less exaggerated physics. I was seriously dismayed that I bought this on release day.
  • dubsdj - May 1, 2013 4:14 p.m.

    No Cockpit cam no buy I'm afraid. Such a damn shame it is... Have been looking forward to this since GRID which was the best racing game ever made.. The simple reason it was the best was because it had an in-car cam which made the game streets ahead of anything else. I must be the 5% minority... Maybe In a year when this hits the bargain shelves I might buy it then.. Maybe they might listen to us and put an in car camera DLC... Let's hope.
  • Spacecraft - May 26, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    This is amazing to me because everywhere I go I see loads of people saying "I must be in the 5%." There are a LOT of people in that 5%. The other thing is that I call bullshit on the claim that it ate up performance. Test Drive Unlimited 2 has MASSIVE open worlds with tons of cars driving around, great graphics, and great detailed vehicle interiors. If they could manage that then the GRID2 team could manage detailed interiors on a non-open-world racing game. CM will not see my money.
  • Woozeypastey - August 14, 2012 6:13 a.m.

    I get it that helmet cam would be a labor intensive addition, I honestly do, but their stats must be out of date. Any serious race game player uses it. Why spend all that time making it as imersive as possible and then leave out make or break content like the all important view? Loved the 1st grid and loved the idea of 2 but I absolutely cannot buy this unless they change their minds. If they do, then i'm there like a shot. Pre-order, the whole nine yards
  • jedisamurai - August 10, 2012 8:40 p.m.

    Why does it seem like the 5% is enjoying it's chance to complain right here right now? I've played more racing games than anyone I know, and I never really had a use for helmet or cockpit cam, because I mostly just found the interior distracting. I only ever used chase view and the view with nothing but the road and HUD gauges. Gird was one of the greatest racing games ever and certainly one of the most influential. Every game since including your over-rated Gran Turismo 5 and Forza 4 has been ripping off its features ever since it came out. And now the TRUE innovator is coming back. You go ahead an play your fancy-pants sims and turn your nose up. Meanwhile I'll play Grid 2 from the day it comes out, enjoy what will probably be the greatest racing game ever made! :D
  • Zero.G - August 10, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    No cockpit view = FAIL. I had high hopes for this, but it is 100% no buy if I cannot race first person.
  • vorazan - August 10, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    Also I used cockpit mode in every game it was available in, GRID included. GRID cockpit was awesome... and everyone I know that played GRID used it... so I don't know where they got this 95% number from.
  • vorazan - August 10, 2012 9:12 a.m.

    Is there any sort of customization, beyond liveries? Performance, etc?
  • boondocks50 - August 10, 2012 5:16 a.m.

    Maybe no one USED the cock pit view back when Grid was in the spotlight 3 years ago but nowadays i dont know many people that dont use the cockpit view in racing games like Dirt, Forza, GT and NFS shift. Ive gotten so used it that if i try to play i third person view i suck. I hope they add it, even if its dlc.
  • A9entOfChaos - August 9, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    Justin Towell, please quit licking these guys balls. You come off as slobbering ball licking fool. No helmet Cam. Arcade racing (not simulated) are no no's for me. Forza 4 is the most important (and best racing game this generation). From what i have read this game will not even hold a candle to Forza's greatness. Or hell even GT 5's greatness.
  • Bobby Ewing - August 9, 2012 1:44 p.m.

    Amen brother,Amen.....
  • Cmxavier - August 9, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    Sorry but i still can't believe the exclusion of the this kind of view, every time i think of it the Daytona song rings in my head. And don't get me wrong, i enjoy games like Toca 3 but we are not in 2006 anymore and even in those days a realistic cockpit view was possible. I agree with Bobby Ewing, it's "lazy" and also, a shame.
  • into the sound - August 9, 2012 7:33 a.m.

    now i'm interested. i haven't picked up a racing game since Burnout Revenge & Gran Turismo 4
  • Patcha - August 9, 2012 6:27 a.m.

    Strange... only 5% uses cockpit view? So them all are moaning, seeing how much people (me included) moaning for that missing! So you wanna save cars interiors to save calculations weight (surely consoles fault!)... so we'll have cars with dark/mirrored windows? And this is what you mean for doing stuffs properly? We'll drive "toy cars looking like" stuffs, and this is making stuffs properly? Bah... better you start developing cockpits for next patch, from now...
  • nigel-thornberry - August 9, 2012 6:06 a.m.

    So justin, how American is this game from what i read and have seen in the trailer it all seems Based in America apart from the Yas Marina track also American cars what happend to the good old day of Toca when you had like 8 aussie tracks and a ton of european mixed with american tracks.
  • Bobby Ewing - August 9, 2012 5:59 a.m.

    Are we talking driver eye view or cockpit view here because those two are different things in my world, driver eye view is what is also called helmet cam view where u see the helmet and the visor and so on, and cockpit view is where u see the cockpit with the steering wheel and the hands and so on. Because if they decide to have just the chasing and bonnet view they can't call grid 2 a racing game because if they only has this two arcade game views the game will be totally destroyed compare to the first Grid and all other serious racing games. Codemasters are on deep water with this game if they decide to take a shortcut and leave out cockpit view,because leaving it out because of performance issue is BS, Codemasters have been a bit "lazy" with some features in racing games lately, stuff in F1 series like brake bias change from in car has not been implemented and they gave not released patches even though they messed up F1 2011 with the first patch and so on. Releasing Grid 2 without a proper racing view, that is cockpit view, is to take the first step to kill the Grid series ....over and out from Sweden
  • Jasway - August 9, 2012 7:55 a.m.

    I think it's fantastic that they dropped cockpit wiew.. It's completely retarded to add a cockpit, and heres why: Our brain is used to muting out stuff including the cockpit of a car and the stem between the windows.. Our brains have no problem muting out our nose which covers around 30% of our FOV.. So if want "simulation'n'stuff" u might as well add the nose, and the FOV of the helmet... Throw in some greasy windows and the game is now completely ruined....

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