Hands-on with Grid 2 multiplayer

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Grid 2GRID 2 is going to be social. Very social. GRID 2 has online dating software built into it, only instead of your turn-ons and turn-offs it records your track times and XP level, and instead of a prospective romantic partner you get matched with a rival tailored to your playstyle. I asked Lee Roberts, Senior Games Designer, whether it seemed a bit like a high-octane version of match.com.

"Yeah, well, it is a little, but for cars. It's a dating service without the kissing and the touching. Unless you really get on. Then kissing and touching might be okay. There's got to be a little bit of tension there."

THE RIVALS

There's driving, of course, and lots of crashing into things or exciting nearly crashing into things, although when I played the experience veered heavily towards the first option. But the social system is where we can see real change over the formula of Drive Cars Fast.

The Rival system is the most interesting facet of the integration with Racenet (Codemasters' social gaming platform which is inexplicably not called Racebook); while it's been possible for years to see how good you are at driving a car really fast around difficult corners when compared to the rest of the world, it can often be a fairly disheartening experience as, odds are, you're probably nowhere near the best.

The Rivals system puts a much-needed human face on the concept of ongoing challenge by selecting six players you're competing against on a weekly basis – one automatically derived from your stats, one selected from a series of parameters that you can set and adjust, and four more Social rivals that you can pick out of your online friends. If you like someone chosen for you via the matchmaking service, you can put them into one of your social slots – and if not, well, they'll just have to deal with the heartbreaking rejection.

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