GRID 2 Features

Grid 2 preview: Storytelling returns to the racing genre

Any Formula One fan will tell you that not all of the entertainment the sport offers comes from the on-track action. The soap opera that plays out in the paddock provides vital context for these Sunday drives, offering pantomime heroes to root for and villains to despise. Of course Codemasters knows better than anyone that no matter how authentic you strive to be, you'll never get an officially licensed Formula One game that simulates pit lane slap-fights or Kimi Raikkonen passing out in a strip club.

Fortunately, the studio has other titles where it can reintroduce the human element into the genre. Grid 2's already demonstrated it can take care of the drama that occurs out on the asphalt, but it came as a bit of a surprise that Codemasters is tentatively poking the bleached bones of 'narrative in racing games' once again. After all, Grid's roots are in TOCA Race Driver, whose telenovela-grade storyline has the dubious honour of introducing the trope of the inexplicably evil, well-spoken Englishman to the driving genre. Spoiler alert: Of course he killed your father.

Nevertheless, after a hiatus in Race Driver: Grid, story is back in a big way in Grid 2. The difference is it's an altogether more mature and intriguing prospect. In a plot that perhaps inadvertently mirrors the sport's current crisis of relevance, you'll follow a dual story arc over the course of several seasons. Via the medium of race results, you're responsible for the fortunes not just of the player driver but also of a fledgling international racing series that attempts to unify all disciplines of motorsport into a single telly-friendly format.

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Grid 2 Preview: No Assists Please, We're British

FeatureGrid 2 Preview: No Assists Please, We're British

Codemasters takes a couple of interesting risks with the return of its tarmac racer.

Grid 2 will be publicly playable for the first time anywhere in the world at this year's Eurogamer Expo, taking place at Earls Court, London, from 27th-30th September. Codemasters will also be presenting a developer session on the Saturday at 3pm called Grid 2: Total Race Day Immersion. Come!

Driving games usually sell themselves either on the dream or the reality - and in the eyes of many racing fans, never the twain shall meet. You're either in the blue corner with Need for Speed, tyres howling and sparks flying as you bend the laws of physics to your will in the service of thrillingly implausible drifts; or you're in the red corner with Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport, resting the wish-fulfilling promise of virtual car ownership on the granite pedestal of simulation authenticity.

But there is a happy middle ground between simulation and arcade racing - the one occupied for years by the graceful power slides of the sadly departed Project Gotham Racing. Codemasters made a stab for it with 2008's Race Driver: Grid, a lively, grippy and credible motorsport fantasy that won as many fans with its dramatic intensity and trailblazing features (including the first appearance of a rewind button in a racer) as it alienated with its departure from the real-world circuit racing of its TOCA lineage.

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