Racing games typically fall into two very distinct categories: arcade and simulation. If you like your gameplay fast, furious but aren’t a stickler for technicalities then arcade titles like the Burnout series will appeal. On the other hand, simulation titles like Forza and Gran Turismo attempt to deliver driving accuracy. Make no mistake, Codemasters’ GRID 2 is very much an arcade racing experience, but in all the right ways. Principally we’re talking about how the cars feel, respond, how they handle. GRID 2 is built wholly around street racing and from the off you are thrown into authentic, licensed muscle cars and Japanese sportsters.
These models perfectly initiate you into the importance of ‘drifting’, throwing increasingly powerful motors around improbable bends. At first the technique seems tricky, but within a few laps it clicks and then becomes freakishly subconscious. Start a competitive race within the single-player World Series Racing campaign, and this driving style proves pivotal. After a few rounds you realise that passing rivals hinges on cornering, braking dangerously later than the rest to make a pass.
GRID 2 dishes out potentially fatal damage by default, so this adds a rallying-style sense of danger. Thankfully though, any racing mishaps are avoidable without penalty via a ‘Flashback’ rewind. Tap the button and the action is shuffled back to a desired point for you to redo. It’s a brilliant feature, even if it feels a little like cheating.
However you choose to play, though, GRID 2 pitches the challenge of winning race, elimination, head-to-head and promo events beautifully. The learning curve for new unlocked cars and gorgeously detailed circuits is so satisfying, it always coaxes you back in. Progress rarely stalls, rewarding you with a system of fans and sponsorships that make you feel like a rising track star. Real cars, automotive brands and sumptuous city locations add a credibility that simulation fans will appreciate, arriving at a unique mix that really excels.
Sound, controls via solid gamepad support, and great graphics add icing to an already tasty cake, with this Reloaded Edition layering on extra cars and DLC for good measure. We doubt there’s a more accessible, enjoyable and visually arresting racer in the Mac App Store.