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GRIP: Combat Racing

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 7 - 2018

Which way is up?

Speed. Gamers who have a need for speed will pick up a racing game, and while all halfway decent racing games will have a sense of speed, for that true blurry vision, driving on the edge of control feeling, players will turn to futuristic racing. Caged Element’s GRIP: Combat Racing wants to give you that insane sense of speed, and a whole lot more besides.

gcr1 (Copy)

GRIP is the spiritual successor to the classic Rollcage game, and uses the same type of vehicles. These vehicles are reminiscent of those radio controlled cars that were able to flip over and still continue functioning, the ideal gift for anyone who can’t keep a car upright. In GRIP, the vehicles, which look like slabs of machinery with massive, oversized wheels on each side, are quite happy to drive both upside down and right way up. This means, when it comes to the tracks, that players can choose to drive on the walls, or even the ceiling if they wish. And why wouldn’t they?

The driving in GRIP is quite sublime. The silky smooth framerate means that as the player picks up speed, the scenery will start to blur and fly past without any hiccups. The cars control well, but still manage to feel like they are one turn away from losing control, which is what you want when travelling at these speeds. Flipping from one surface to the next, trying to find the best line through a particular race, feels satisfyingly smooth.

gcr2 (Copy)

The nature of the vehicles means that the developers have been able to really use their imagination when it comes to tracks. There are a variety of different settings in the game, providing some lovely eye candy in the background. But if you are looking at the background, then you are doing something wrong. The tracks can be twisty and turny, featuring jumps and all manner of shortcuts. They also feature wrong turns and obstacles that can bring the player to a halt if they are not paying attention. The tracks are also littered with boost pads, and driving over as many of these as possible will be helpful to getting and keeping that lead. Players will have to pay attention, as the boost pads can be on any of the drivable surfaces, encouraging the player to flip from one surface to the next if they want to get in front.

It does all get a little crazy, but the camera does a good job of keeping the player grounded and preventing any sense of nausea. However, things get even more crazy when you take into account the rest of GRIP’s title, Combat Racing.

Scattered around the tracks are various pickups that will give the player offensive or defensive capabilities. Things like rockets, machine guns and shields add an extra tactical level to the racing, giving players the chance to race more aggressively and take out some of their opponents, or protect themselves when an opponent retaliates. Players are able to carry two of these pickups at a time, and each one is assigned to a shoulder button, keeping all of the controls in one, easy to reach, place. While I have to say that GRIP didn’t really need this added element to the game, as the driving itself was enjoyable enough, it does make for some lively multiplayer.

gcr3 (Copy)

There is a campaign mode for players wanting to go it alone, or to hone their skills before entering the multiplayer. This mode will see the player work their way through tiers and experience pretty much every kind of race, all while they unlock various goodies to add a little more individuality to their vehicle. The difficulty ramps up nicely, introducing players to everything they need to know, and it is quite useful to at least play through some of the campaign, along with the tutorial, just to make sure everything is picked up. There is a certain amount of rubber banding when playing single player, which is obviously there to keep it competitive, but I can see some players getting annoyed with it.

Outside of the campaign, there are all manner of different multiplayer events, both online and locally in split screen. Including split screen for a game like this is a real bonus, making it the sort of game that is fun to play with a gathering. There are some cool modes that don’t mean just racing and shooting, such as a capture the flag style mode, or one that involves avoiding a player with a bomb. It’s pretty varied and can be a lot of fun. Perhaps the strangest mode is Carkour, which is GRIP’s take on the Trackmania style of things, with outlandish tracks to negotiate. This could have been a real highlight, but the limited number of tracks mean that the mode will only be short-lived and players will soon go back to the more engaging multiplayer fun.

Visually, the game looks great. That sense of speed is translated well through the graphics, and the backdrops are always nice. The selection of different vehicles don’t look particularly different, but there are some nice details that bring them to life. The soundtrack to the game is suitably loud and engaging, and the sound effects work well to add more depth to the game.

gcr4 (Copy)

GRIP: Combat Racing is a high octane blast that knows exactly what it wants to do. It wants to make player drive fast, on any surface, and occasionally shoot at their opponents. Playing GRIP alone will not show the game in its best light, as the multiplayer options are plentiful and fun. This is Rollcage for the new generation, and anyone with an interest in driving fast and aggressive would do well to pick up GRIP: Combat Racing.




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