GRIP: Combat racing has you in the driving seat of 600 mph machines that will have you spending as much time on the walls as it will the floor. You take control of a range of GRIP machines as you race, fight and carkour across different worlds ranging from icy worlds to non-terrestrial cities.
The game is split over the campaign where you level up to unlock vehicles, paints and make your way through 15 tiers of races, single player that allows you to select a game type and jump straight in, split screen to enjoy some couch co-op and a multiplayer mode for those who want that added competition. The campaign is the best place to start as it introduces you to each mode slowly with your opponents becoming tougher as you progress and it will start you on your way to unlocking all the vehicles.
As you progress through you will get to take part in different types of events ranging from the typical race style elimination or speed demon, combat style arena deathmatches or the fun and challenging carkour which is exactly what you think it is. Some of these modes are certainly more fun than others but with 9 different game styles, there is a good mix that will hopefully give everyone something to enjoy. I found myself enjoying the more combat style deathmatches or elimination race once more pickups were unlocked as I felt this game was built more for these.
As you start the campaign it is a slow burner as races are pretty basic and it feels like you are competing on the same track over and over. Item pickups are limited and the more exciting weapons unlock as you make your way through the 11 tiers of races in the campaign. In each tier, you will be faced with completing 3 or 4 events which each has 3 or 4 races within them and then you are introduced to rivals you must beat. In short, it is a bit of a grind to get through everything and there were times where I nearly gave up. Typically you need to complete each race before the next will open so you can’t jump ahead if you are finding things too easy.
However, get past the start and you will start to unlock more vehicles, modes and pickups which all contribute to making the game more enjoyable. You are rewarded for learning the tracks and hitting every speed boost or finding the shortest route round. Level progression is pretty easy and I didn’t feel like it was too long before I started to hit those higher levels and find more variation in the races I was doing.
When I was playing the game there were 14 different vehicles you could unlock and they each have their own strengths from having a high top speed, great acceleration or heavy armour. You can change the tyres on them which I couldn’t see had any impact on the stats, create your own paint scheme for the cars and unlock different variations of the cars through levelling up. It was hard to really tell the difference between the GRIP machines in the early stages as the game is pretty easy for the first few tiers, I don’t think I had to repeat an event till a lot later on but as your opponents become better your vehicle selection plays a bigger part.
Visually the game performed pretty well on my Pro but I would have liked to have seen a bit more colour in the game worlds as seeing where you are meant to go wasn’t always clear. The exhausts glow as you hit that 600 mph mark or activate a boost, each of the pickups look great when activated so watching a set of missiles shoot off towards your opponent is satisfying and the worlds you race equally as detailed as the cars but you might not notice that while racing through. The menus are a bit boring as you are just moving between dark boxes so I think this could have been made better but it serves a purpose of getting you into a game.
The gameplay is simple and I felt the biggest challenge was getting to know the tracks. The opponent difficulty will increase as you make your way through the campaign making it more difficult and pushing you to learn the tracks and weapons. Lucky enough this difficulty increase is gradual so you won’t go from winning every race to being lapped. I will admit that getting used to being able to drive up on walls and the ceiling took some getting used to. It put my awareness to the test as the screen rotates around as you boost between different surfaces but it is a part of the game you will need to master to get the best results.
I did find it started a tad slow and felt like the grind to open up the next tier of races was dangerously close to being tedious. Once you get into it through this game is simple fun with high-speed machines that can shoot rockets at each other. The simple set up of the game where you just jump in and play makes it available to anyone but to really master this game will take time.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*