Codemasters’ Grid 2 for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and the PC is a solid arcade simulation racer that offers an variable career mode and multiple online racing options.

In Grid 2, users begin as an amateur racer who must compete to win fans. As more fans accumulate, additional invitations lead to more races and a subsequent professional career to earn money.

Grid 2The includes real licensed vehicles, from a Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special to the Nissan Silvia Spec-R. Users can customize their car with paint, tires, endorsements that can be earned via challenges, and apply livery customizations to all vehicles.

Races are varied and can range from a standard rank race to a 1 vs. 1 face off. Tracks are based in worldwide locations, from the streets of Chicago to official international race tracks.

The control system is solid with a well-constructed medium between arcade and simulation. The title includes a good physics system for accurate vehicular damage and subsequent steering handicaps. In addition, vehicle drifting works well with just enough slip to provide a challenge at each sharp corner.

The AI is standard and holds a train-like personality to allow each competitor to recover quickly despite a crash or knock in a vehicle rear corner.

Online modes are robust and allow users to compete against other owners in modes including Endurance, Drift, Touge, Checkpoint, Face Off, Time Attack, Overtake, and Power Lap. LiveRoutes offer dynamically generated tracks to keep races new. With each race, users earn cash and XP to earn vehicles and upgrades. Finally, a social component allows users to upload their highlight clips to YouTube or RaceNet.

The graphics engine is decent at 30 frames-per-second. Vehicles and tracks are well constructed and have a hefty amount of color and special effects. The sound engine is standard with loud exhaust pipes, tire screeches, and some dry narration.

Grid 2 is a solid racer that offers a comprehensive experience offline and on. The balanced controls, race variety and online component offer an alternate yet welcome entry to the current-generation racing market.

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