Great driving physics makes great game


[Rating: 4]
I put in a few hours of driving last week on Grid2, have elevated through the rankings, and picked up a couple of new sweet looking cars.

After booting, and seeing the Activision logo memories came flooding back… of Grid, before it was Grid, the TOCA days!

TOCA (Touring Car Championship) goes back to the late 90’s, and was the premier driving / racing game on the Playstation… some may have preferred the arcade style of Ridge Racer, although for me and my mates TOCA was the real challenge.

And it could certainly be a challenge!

Turning up the difficulty, off with the assists, and on with tyre wear.
To the uninitiated this would mean sliding off at the first corner, or more likely ploughing into the leading pack who have dropped into second gear for the hairpin turn… and how many times would you hear ‘rubbing is racing’
as you’re ‘mate’ would nudge you from the track, so he could stay on the grey tarmac:)

The release of the game coincided with Audi’s entry into the sport, and the A4 was the first 4×4 to race. It ended up ruling the pack for a few years, as nothing could touch it in the wet; and being English there were enough wet events.

So the A4 suited the game too.
All was good, the physics engine was great, nothing came close until the release of Grand Turismo.

Now in the modern day we have Grid 2. In the TOCA days all we wanted to see was actual damage to the cars, and Grid2 certainly gives us that. The cars and backgrounds are beautiful, but the best attribute of TOCA has been preserved, the physics driving engine.

Not since Project Gotham Racing 2 have I had so much fun sliding cars around corners. The levels don’t seem quite as varied as even PGR2 (yet), but there are some really nice unique touches.

The random course feature is one I find personally novel, where the tracks don’t have a pre-defined layout. The next corners have to be judged visually each time you scream around a corner sideways (this happens often, as in always), judging the ideal racing line, you adjust your speed and road position, rinse and repeat… wipe tears from eyes as you find that you haven’t blinked in 5 mins 🙂

Then there’s the wonderful, happiness inducing, rewind function. Genius!
Run off your racing line, catching the corner wall, bouncing you back into the pack, rewind!
This facility means that the game can be challenging and unforgiving, allowing you to strive for perfection.

This does then bring on the quandary; should I use a rewind on the second corner of the first lap, or restart?

The graphics are art work, the AI’s can hold a grudge, and the racing doesn’t get better.
Grid2 isn’t a game I’m highly engrossed in, my old fingers can’t hold the trigger down for many hours like the used to, but it will keep drawing me back, and I think I will play it to completion.

Hard to believe it’s from the same company that released the last Fast and the Furious?