It’s been quite a while since Race Driver: Grid was released, not so long ago for Mac gamers, but still. As timeless as that game was, it’s been long overdue for an overhaul. The multiplayer servers have since long been shut down. The cars are from another generation, relatively speaking, and the racetracks have been renovated since. Obviously, the biggest challenge for Codemasters was to make a sequel to what was already a superb, well-executed game. It’s hard to top something which is already so very good.
Grid 2 isn’t a radical overhaul of the game. Codemasters has simply improved bits of the game that made Grid ever so popular and fixed the things that didn’t. The end result is spectacular. It’s surprising how small tweaks can make such a big difference.
You can get it from the Mac App Store.
Enter Grid 2 for Mac
I’ll just cut to the chase. Grid 2 is probably one of the best racing games you can get for your Mac. Yes, there aren’t too many to choose from in the first place, but it really is one of the best racing games you can play on a computer.
There are technically better games out there, but the appeal of Grid is still the same: it’s accessibility. You don’t need to be a racing nut to appreciate the game, or even know anything about cars for that matter. The controls are simple, and it’s easy for anyone to learn how to play. Grid 2 has carried over, and improved one of the key features which made Grid such a hit: the perfect balance between simulation and arcade. This makes the cars a joy to drive. Grid 2 is a perfect blend of Mario Kart and F1 2013. Factor in the fact that the keyboard controls are so well calibrated and you won’t even need a controller to excel at this game. The sublime handling allow any player to easily, and quickly acquaint themselves with the game.
You start off as a young, promising driver and are enlisted by Patrick Callahan, an investor, to set up a competitive racing series called World Series Racing (WSR). As you compete against the top drivers in the US, Europe, and Asia, you experience and play different game modes. Street racing in the US, drifting in Asia, and touring car racing in Europe, amongst others. Travelling around the world and racing expensive cars requires quite a bit of dough, and here’s where Patrick Callahan steps in, giving you cars to drive. Oddly, winning races does not win you money, but instead you do win fans. As you win more and more fans, you ultimately help Patrick set up WSR.
The selection of cars is impressive, especially with the additional DLC packs on offer. Each car handles very differently and uniquely, and responds differently to different driving styles. Getting this specific in the handling of every car is quite a feat, and you end up driving different cars to get a feel of what they offer. The tracks themselves are much better. The game detects if you’ve cut a corner, and if you do, power to your car is cut off for a certain period of time for which the game thinks is equivalent to the time gained by cutting the corner. It’s a great way to penalise players without ruining the race rather than adding a time penalty.
When it comes to Multiplayer, keep in mind that the Steam version of the game is Steam-Play enabled and is the only version to support online multiplayer (Mac to Mac).
Multiplayer is incredible, and very well executed via Steam. The online mode is a completely different game than the single player version, with its own unlocks and credit system. The in-game chat is also a great feature. Additionally, the times you post on the single player mode is also posted on the online leaderboards, which keeps you honest and pushing all the way to the finish line, for every race.
As impressive as the gameplay is, Grid 2 also has great graphics to show for. Accurate representation of the cars, and tracks is as expected. The sound design is also much improved, and you’ve also got a more helpful race engineer helping you as you race along narrow streets around the world. The narrow streets through various cities are very well rendered, and it is somewhat worrisome as you zip along, millimetres away from the barriers. It’s so realistic that if you happen to brush along the barriers, you might just hit a gap, or a pole, or any other elements of the city which will send you on the way to spin-city, and then eventually to crash-land.
The twisting and snaking touge passes through the mountains of Hong Kong are beautiful and deadly at the same time. Ever wanted to drive along the coast of California? Dream no more, for that is something you can do in Grid 2. Driving at night along these tracks adds another dimension, and heightens the experience. The previous complaints about the odd yellowish tinge in the previous iteration of the game have also been redressed.
A great addition is the car customisation features. You can change everything from the vinyls, the paint type, colour shades, wheels, wheels sizes, amongst others. There’re enough options to make sure that your car is uniquely yours when you wheel it out to the racetrack, and take it racing online. It’s a lovely touch that personalises the gameplay and makes each car your very own.
The only thing lacking is the cockpit view, which was present in the first iteration of the game. Why they didn’t include it isn’t exactly clear. It was a great camera angle and added another dimension to the game.
As we’ve come to expect from the Feral Interactive’s stable of Mac ports, Grid 2 has also been bulletproof, with absolutely no faults. Grid 2 plays well on low end machines with the graphic options turned down, and it never really slows down, apart from the loading menus, where the frame rate mysteriously drops. The game runs more than reasonably smoothly on a decently specced Mac.
You may still have your doubts, but Ric actually went ahead and gave GRID 2 a run for its money on a Macbook Air. As you can see, the results speak for themselves and confirm how versatile the game is. I bet most of you will be able to play it just fine:
Minimum system requirements:
- OS: 10.9.4
- Processor: 2GHz
- Memory: 4GB Memory
- Graphics: 256MB
- Hard Drive:11GB HD space
- Great handling characteristics
- Good selection of cars and tracks
- Gameplay modes
- Car customisation
- Bland storyline
- Lack of cockpit view
Grid 2 is yet another polished port from Feral Interactive. Codemasters has done a mega job with the game, which will provide hours of quality gaming time. Although they haven’t done anything radical with the game, they’ve added enough features to make it a great racing game for the PC and the Mac. The multiplayer via Steam is superb, and the large collection of cars will keep you hooked for a long time. The wide variety of DLC’s and the potential add-ons pack to come in the future make this a great buy.
You can get it from the Mac App Store.