Multiplayer is one aspect of the Grid series that has come a long way since the original game came out in 2007, and publisher/developer Codemasters has chosen to keep the mode separate from the single-player experience in Grid 2, making it all the more special. From better matchmaking, to rivals, to RaceNet, Grid 2's multiplayer looks to compete in the connected world.
Similar to rival Electronic Arts' use of Autolog for the Need for Speed series, Codemaster's RaceNet serves as the online infrastructure for the company's race games, from F1 to Dirt: Showdown to now Grid 2. Grid 2 not only tracks your accomplishments via a profile, but the evolved version of RaceNet launching with the game features a free browser through which you can see your progress in myriad ways as well as look at leaderboards and the community at large. RaceNet will also be accessible through dedicated apps for your tablet or phone.
While the single-player portion of the game revolves around the World Series Racing circuit, multiplayer is about taking on events and challenges, building up your followers, upgrading your cars, and racing rivals. Rivals are broken out into different varieties. There are those you choose from your list of friends or people you've already raced against, and those who are selected for you by the game on a weekly basis or can be custom-made by the parameters you choose. In general, Codemasters is working to make its matchmaking sensible (such as grouping together those who want to race cleanly or not), as well as take advantage of the "anti-griefing technology" it's created.
You can compete against rivals in a host of Global Challenge events (even if your opponent is offline) that are automatically generated every week for XP, cash, and followers – who signify how good you are, and who can be taken away from rivals in the challenges. Grid 2 also features various multiplayer race types (endurance, drift, checkpoint, Touge, and more), including those with LiveRoutes, where the game auto-generates sections of the track so each time you race at a track it's a different experience. In general, the game's multiplayer can be played offline by two players on splitscreen, or accomodate up to 12 people online.
RaceNet may have similarities with EA's Autolog, but with Grid 2, Codemasters is looking to not only keep you constantly engaged with what the larger racing community is doing, but also make the game's multiplayer its own destination.
Grid 2 comes out for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on May 28. For more on the game's single-player, check out this latest trailer.
Rivals in Grid 2 come in different forms