So far, coverage related to Grid 2 has centred on its single player component and the inane waffling's of Patrick Callahan, the fictional face of the World Series Racing. Now however, with Grid 2 racing into stores in just six weeks time, Codemasters has finally lifted the bonnet on what should hopefully be the driving force keeping you coming back for months on end: the multiplayer.
Indeed, Codemasters certainly seem to be making a bold statement with Grid 2's multiplayer component, since it will run completely separately to the single player. Progress XP and rewards will therefore be unique to each mode, so don't expect instant access to the cars you've painstakingly unlocked in the single player career when entering online multiplayer.
While the thought of having to start from scratch after grinding through the career probably won't be to everyone's liking, it sounds like a refreshing approach that should make the multiplayer stand out in its own right rather than feel tacked on.
There will be a multitude of components that make up Grid 2's multiplayer engine, which we've condensed for you below:
Thankfully, Codemasters has acknowledged this divide by implementing a smart matchmaking system that aims to separate these two player types, grouping clean racers and paint traders together.
Essentially Codemasters' answer to EA's Autolog, RaceNet returns to Grid 2, an online browser-based stat-tracking system that records player's progress, stats and rewards. First introduced in DiRT Showdown, Grid 2 will mark its official debut outside of beta.
For Grid 2, RaceNet will also provide daily objectives, rivals and rewards as well as the ability to track community stats, leaderboards and participate in global challenges, which are detailed below.
• Weekly Rival: RaceNet automatically selects a weekly Rival to compete against based on ability and activity in game to ensure a well-matched challenger.
• Custom Rival: Players can select a Custom Rival based on parameters including event type or geographical location.
World Touring Cars
Up to 12 players will be able to compete in a variety of modes, from Endurance, Drift and Touge events to Checkpoint, Face Off, and Time Attacks. The addition of Global Challenge will also add additional Overtake and Power Lap challenges.
Standard races will of course also be part of the package, but with a unique twist: LiveRoutes. As revealed during our Eurogamer hands-on, the optional LiveRoutes will dynamically alter the layout of the circuit (the feature will only be available on city tracks) after each lap, adding to the challenge and unpredictibly.
Crash for the camera
As with DiRT, you'll be able to upload your slickest overtaking moves and comical pileups directly onto YouTube or RaceNet in-game, although it will sadly still be limited to 30 seconds, in all probability.
Split screen shenanigans
Admittedly, on paper Grid 2's multiplayer doesn't offer anything groundbreakingly new. RaceNet borrows heavily from Need for Speed's Autolog, whereas Global Challenge sounds similar to Gran Turismo 5's seasonal events and you can probably guess which Microsoft-exclusive game probably influenced Rivals.
But by branching it along a seperate path to the single player career and blending the best from its competitors, it's clear that Codemasters is intent on delivering a comprehensive and competitive multiplayer experience that has the potential to be one of the most focused and definitive online racing experiences in some time.