GRIP: Combat Racing Review

  • Dev: Caged Element
  • Pub: Wired Productions
  • Released: 06/11/18
  • PEGI/ESRB: 7/E10+
  • Players: 1-4 Local 2-10 Online
  • Size: 3.15 GB
  • Price: £34.99/$39.99/€39.99
  • Xbox One X Enhanced: Yes
  • GRIP is a high speed, arcade style, combat racer that is best compared to Wipeout. Players race through tracks at ludicrous speeds, running over boost pads for even bigger gains in speed and picking up power ups in the form of weapons to use on competitors or give themselves speed or defensive boosts. However GRIP has a few tricks of its own such as the ability to ride along almost any surface, defying gravity and taking the race along walls and ceilings.

    Upon starting there is an option to do a brief tutorial which teaches you the basics on how to play the game like how to use boosts, power ups and such. Outside of the tutorial we have a selection of modes ranging from a campaign, to single player free races, to online modes. All standard stuff in racing games. Campaign is best for if you’re learning the game since it’s you’re slowly introduced to more modes, power ups, tracks and increased amounts of opponents as it progresses with slowly increasing difficulty. Afterwards you can practice your specific modes and tracks in single player before taking it online. Trust me you’ll need that practice.

    Obviously any racing game needs practice especially online so why do I say that? Well, GRIP’s super fast gameplay is a double edged sword. It makes the races intense, high-octane and require quick reflexes. It also makes it incredibly easy to leave you behind if you accidentally hit a ramp at the wrong angle and go flying off the track or a lock-on missile spins you out. If you’re racing at hundreds of mph and a missile hits you from behind 9 times out of 10 you’ll be left facing the wrong way and hitting that restart button since you’re very unlikely to come back since the AI are almost unfair. Regardless of how much you try to leave them in the dust it’s almost as if they have some sort of catch up built in since a missile hit that would leave you reeling back to last place would be nothing more than a little bump at times for some AI, slowing them long enough for an overtake before they were quickly on your heels, even in the beginning campaign tournaments.

    This problem is only really prominent in the race side of things, with the battle arena which is a deathmatch style game mode, it’s kind of the opposite where it felt like I was being ignored a lot of the time and I was just given free wins in the mode. The other mode in the game, Carkour was also fun since it focused on what’s in the name, having you complete tracks in the fastest time while performing all the tricks you can to do so. Outside of the AI issues my only other annoyance is how easy it is to go flying off the track but that comes with going at almost Mach 1 I suppose.

    The tracks and arenas themselves are fun if not a little punishing at first. Varying environments ranging from arid deserts, to snowy mountains, to futuristic sorts of cities at varying times of day. Each battle arena also has its own environments and differences such as some focusing on flatter arenas while others have lots of verticality. The boundaries on some tracks are unclear or act quite strange, especially when jumping slight out of a narrow area from a large height or going through some of the more open areas on some tracks. It’s more of a learning issue since after a while I came to grips with where I should and shouldn’t drive towards and flying off the track only became a problem when I had the AI give me a smack from behind with a missile.

    How the tracks play can also depend on the car you choose so you’ll want to play around with the different kinds for what suits you. Some are faster and have tougher handling around corners, others have better traction and some are a balance. Like any racing game the stats that are effected are what you’d expect except it’s more a case of swap depending on the mode you’re playing as well. Slower cars with better handling would be better for the closed environments of a battle arena for example. More cars and customisation options for them can also be unlocked through an exp progression system which is a nice little addition.

    A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher

    Gameplay 7.5
    Graphics 7.5
    Audio 8
    Replay Value 7.5
    Value for Money 7
    GRIP: Combat Racing

    GRIP does a couple of unique things with its gameplay and does its best to mix it up however everything it has tried to do to set it apart from other arcade battle racers has been a double edged sword. The focus on speed makes it incredibly unforgiving to get hit by a weapon and even makes it too unforgiving for getting a corner or jump wrong since you’ll be promptly sent flying off the track. Some issues with AI balancing also give a bit of a shaky singleplayer experience however the Carkour mode and online play can make for some fun experiences since besides its hiccups that mostly affect single player it’s definitely a fun game that shows arcade racers are still enjoyable.

    • Enjoyable, high speed gameplay
    • Good track variety
    • Carkour mode
    • Focus on speed can work against you
    • Too unforgiving at times
    • AI feels unfair

    About The Author

    I like Sandbox/RPGs, FPS and Survival games. I play all platforms and am a rather competitive person.

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